What is Community and Supported Independent Living?


KenCrest offers various housing options for adults with disabilities, including Community living and Supported Independent Living.

By Sydney Kerelo

For many adults with disabilities, finding the perfect housing option can be challenging, but it's not impossible. There are many avenues those with a disability can take to achieve an independent, meaningful lifestyle.

At KenCrest, two prominent options are Community Living and Supported Independent Living. But how do you know which one is the right fit?

Community Living

KenCrest’s Community Living homes are as unique as the people there. They allow adults with disabilities to live in their chosen community with access to all the support they may need and 24/7 staff supervision.

Residents can live in Southeastern Pennsylvania in the Berks, Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Philadelphia counties, Delaware’s New Castle, Sussex, and Kent counties, and Connecticut’s Fairfield and New Haven counties. Each home meets all state licensing requirements and is located within safe, centrally located neighborhoods.

One Connecticut family from Connecticut found solace in a KenCrest community home when their son, Adam Swanke, was recommended for KenCrest’s Community Living program. Swanke was born with underdeveloped lungs and was incredibly colicky, so when he turned three years old, his parents took him to get evaluated at the Yale Child Study Center, where he was diagnosed with pervasive developmental delay—a diagnosis doctors would later give to those on the autism spectrum.

Swanke began developing tempers as he grew, unlike his usual sweet-mannered disposition. He would become frustrated with his younger siblings and constantly tried to escape their home, looking to be anywhere but there. His parents eventually considered putting him into a Community Living group home, and that’s when they discovered KenCrest.

At just 21 years old, Swanke moved into the first Connecticut Community Living Home, and now he is finally happy with his home. While incredibly difficult for his parents to make, the move benefited both parties, allowing Swanke to live independently in a safe, secure environment.

Adam Swanke eating with his family at a picnic bench. // Photo courtesy of Robert and Rosemary Swanke

KenCrest’s Adult Community Living homes offer residents the ability to live independently and access all the support they need, including transportation for appointments, social activities, work or volunteer needs, coordination services, daily support services, budget/coordination of financial needs, and 24/7 supervision with on-call nursing support and emergency and regular behavioral supports.

Supported Independent Living

KenCrest’s Supported Independent Living services allow adults with an intellectual or developmental disability to live independently within the community without constant support. It enables people to live independently through comprehensive and flexible support in the community and residence of their choosing in the following Pennsylvania counties: Bucks, Montgomery, Berks, Philadelphia, Delaware, and Chester.

Residents can live in either a property owned or leased by KenCrest or a home they own or rent themselves with the help of a licensed real estate agent. KenCrest residents can find a house to rent that fits their needs and is in an area of their choosing, allowing them to have a more excellent choice regarding their housing arrangements.

One Pennsylvania resident, Patricia McLean, moved into her first apartment on her own thanks to KenCrest’s Supported Independent Living and Enabling Technology programs. When she began searching for her new home, McLean found an apartment with the Agency’s support and was provided with the proper resources to learn how to live independently.

Patricia McLean in her apartment playing with her cat Lucky. // Photo by Aubrey Hoffert

As a wheelchair user, McLean struggled with cooking and cleaning on her own. But with KenCrest’s Enabling Technology department, she can now do those things she couldn’t before. She now has a Roomba that vacuums and mops her floors regularly. She even has an app on her phone that lets her turn the lights on and off and a watch that alerts her team members and family if there is an emergency.

McLean receives 16 to 20 hours a week of support from her Program Manager, Deidre Taylor, her Community Connection Coach, and KenCrest’s Enabling Technology department to help her cook, clean, and live safely in her home.

Many residents in the Supported Independent Living program have access to a Program Manager and Community Connection Coach who will assist with daily skills, including meal planning, shopping skills, home maintenance, growth of money management skills, scheduling and attending medical appointments, and communicating with healthcare professionals, accessing, and participating in their community, and access to local services.

Depending on a person’s specific needs, abilities, goals, and dreams, they can enroll in either Supported Independent Living or Community Living in the neighborhood of their choice.

Find out which housing option suits you best by clicking the links below for more information!