Mission: To improve the quality of life for the people with developmental disabilities by providing compassionate support in an atmosphere of respect, inspiration, and purpose.
About the Organization: Founded in 1957 in San Rafael, California, Lifehouse has worked for sixty years to provide opportunity and independence to individuals with developmental disabilities through life skills training, advocacy, information, community integration, and referrals. Begun as a parent-led effort in 1954 — at a time when there were no special-education programs — with the help of Dominican University, the group established a preschool and a kindergarten that eventually grew into a special-education program managed by the Marin County Office of Education. As its clients began to reach adulthood, Lifehouse's programs evolved to serve their needs.
Current Programs: The organization's services are centered on a comprehensive skills-training model tailored to individuals' needs, goals, and desires, with the goal of helping them become independent and productive members of their community while living in their own homes, regardless of the severity of their disability. In most cases, clients have jobs or attend educational and/or vocational day programs. The organization's services include Supported Living, which provides staff support for adults and seniors in areas such as financial management, health and hygiene, social skills, community integration, transportation, and vocational growth; specialized Autism services, including support for the Marin Autism Collaborative; and independent living homes, where adults with mild or moderate developmental disabilities live in an educational environment focused on helping them develop the skills needed for independent living within a community. The organization also operates four Intermediate Care Facilities where individuals with severe developmental disabilities receive 24-hour care
Lifehouse also offers skills assessments, service referrals, a teen recreation and integration program, and recreation and travel programs for adults. The organization's advocacy work has included a pioneering effort to develop affordable housing for developmentally disabled adults and ensuring that they are able to live independently in their own homes.
Website: Visitors to the Lifehouse site can learn about developmental disabilities, browse a description of the organization's services, and check out a variety of resources, including links to other organizations and agencies. Visitors to the site also can stay current with the organization's activities through its blog, browse pictures from recent Lifehouse events, and/or learn more about how they can support the organization's work.
Funding: Lifehouse is funded by program and service revenue, grants, Medi-Cal, and individual donations.