What does The Kelsey aim to do?
The Kelsey works to create mixed ability, mixed income housing where people with and without disabilities live, play, and serve communities together and to partner with organizations and entities who seek to do the same. Housing can be more and together we can do more.
We want to develop (though ground-up development, acquisition, or joint venture) communities that include a mix of housing for people with disabilities, affordable housing, and market rate housing. Alongside delivering housing to people with disabilities, our mixed housing supports diversity in communities and retains and develops affordable housing generally. We combine an operational mission to deliver inclusive housing units alongside a strategic mission to ensure our work supports transformative scale and field building.
What do you mean by “inclusion”?
For The Kelsey, inclusion means a mix of housing for people with and without disabilities. Units and housing experiences are the same quality for people, regardless of ability and there is thoughtful efforts to foster interaction, understanding, and connection across people of different abilities and backgrounds.
The Kelsey’s founder Micaela Connery, has spent 3 years researching housing models for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities — visiting communities, interviewing individuals and families, studying policies, and hosting community focus groups. Her work at The Kelsey is a direct result of that research.
Too often housing options for people with disabilities are not inclusive and limits people with disabilities’ ability to be included in their communities. Housing isolates people with disabilities away from peers and community members, requires people to move far from families and jobs, or limits choices in daily life. Inclusive housing has several benefits:
Desired: Individuals and families have said they value diverse relationships, don’t want to be isolated, and seek ways to contribute to their community in meaningful ways .
Aligns with Policy and Best-Practices: Federal and state regulations encourage and mandate inclusive options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, where individuals are provided housing in the community outside of disability-specific settings.
Financial Benefits: By including people with disabilities alongside other marketrat eor affordable housing, inclusive developments are able to access additional funding sources, ongoing operating revenue, and even create cross-subsidy between the units.
Community Awareness: Rather than having disability housing being something for “other people”, “over there” inclusive housing ensures people with disabilities are visible, connected, and engaged in their communities and that policy and other issues related to disability are brought into the mainstream.
Partnerships: Inclusive development creates more opportunities for collaboration between disability housers, affordable housers, and market-rate developers
What does “The Kelsey” mean?
Kelsey O’Connor was a trailblazer in inclusion for her entire life. From her earliest days she inspired people to see ability first, to look beyond what they thought was possible, and to value the unique and important contributions people with disabilities make in communities. She like to move fast, laugh often, and spread love widely. Kelsey’s favorite sign was more -- expressed by loudly clapping her hands usually accompanied by a big smile.
Inspired by Kelsey, her cousin Micaela founded The Kelsey to deliver more housing, more inclusion, and more community to people of all abilities. We are inspired by Kelsey’s legacy every single day.
Where do people with intellectual/developmental disabilities in the Bay Area live right now?
People with intellectual/developmental disabilities access several types of housing in California.
In our region, more than 60% of individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities in the Bay Area live at home with their parents. Others live in housing developed by disability housing organizations such as Bay Area Housing Corporation, Brilliant Corners, and The Housing Consortium of the East Bay or affordable housers like Mercy Housing, MidPen, and others. There are some set-asides within developments, advocated for by organizations like Housing Choices. Unfortunately, still less than 15% rent or own their own home. In high-cost markets, that percentage can drop to as low as 4%.
Does The Kelsey partner with other organizations?
We do! We understand that the disability housing crisis will not be solved by one organization or one sector alone and thus we work to partner with a variety of public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders. Want to work with us? Click here to learn more.