PAL believes that persons with Developmental Disabilities are entitled to opportunities for full participation in the life of their community, The following are real stories and testimonies of residents from our program, both present and past.
Mary is developmentally disabled, over fifty years old and wanted to live independently from her parents. After Mom died, she continued living with Dad, but he was in his eighties. She needed to have an apartment close by for family to still be able to assist her. She moved into PAL’s apartment two years before Dad died. It was located within a few miles of her family’s homes.
She established a routine of work and activities. The apartment was on two bus lines that she could manage without transferring… to get to Church, shopping, or recreation on her own. Lakewood Rides picked her up at her door to take her to her part-time job. She also has support with SLS programs. These programs were the key to her independent living. Those who worked in the SLS programs also became her friends.
The affordable apartment was on the first floor in a two-story, secured building with assigned parking close by for her visitors. Off the dining area, she had a patio which overlooked the building’s private, lovely, grassy area with trees. She was on first-name terms with the neighbors and they often helped each other when a need arose.
PAL’s maintenance worker came by every two weeks to check the apartment for problems. If there was anything wrong, it was fixed immediately. She was able to call if something came up and needed attention before the regular visit. It was comforting to know the apartment was monitored for safety as well.
Personal Affordable Living, Inc. has been a true blessing. The director was always easy to contact and available to discuss whatever concerns Mary or the family had… then ready to take action if appropriate. This is a caring company that gives personal attention to each resident. They follow their mission statement… to make affordable homes available and meet the individual needs of each tenant.
Unfortunately, Mary’s health declined over this year. She needed to retire and move into an Assisted Living apartment to receive more monitoring for her health. She lived in PAL’s apartment for nine years and it became “home” to her. This was the perfect choice for the time in her life of independent living. Thank you, PAL!
Alan has moderate Down Syndrome and moved into his PAL apartment in 1991, when he was 27 years old, with his best friend, Doug. They loved their “bachelor pad” and never wanted to stay away for very long. Even family dinners and holidays were too much of an inconvenience, and they wanted to get back to their apartment just as soon as dinner was over! They both worked at the Westminster Mall food court and rode the RTD bus to get to work. Shopping, grocery stores, convenience stores and fast-food restaurants are right across the street and everything was very easy for them to access. There are two major bus routes by their apartment, so it was quite easy for them to get around.
Alan’s two-story townhome (although we MUST call it an apartment!) is located in a small, friendly complex and he loves his many neighbors. They all adore Alan and support him in any way that they can – including calling his sister when he locks himself out of his apartment. They all keep an eye out for him and are sure to call when anything seems out of sorts. Alan takes pride in his apartment, both inside and out, and can be seen sweeping the sidewalks and picking up trash. (He also tends to tell the neighbors when they are doing something wrong.)
Alan’s unit has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, and his laundry machines are located inside his unit. Parking is directly in front of his door and a storage unit is directly out back. PAL provides a wonderful maintenance man who visits twice a month to make sure everything is safe and working appropriately. If something needs attention, he takes care of it right away, like changing the light bulbs and checking the smoke detector batteries. He even makes sure all the fire extinguishers are up to date and trains him on how to use them! And we can always call on him between visits if something has come up that cannot wait. The PAL maintenance man has been with PAL since the mid-1990s and we feel very safe and secure with him having access to the unit.
Alan has services through an SLS program, and he has loved his different counselors throughout the years. Doug has since moved on, and Alan’s mother and stepfather have passed away. Last year he turned 48. Alan has opted to stay in his apartment without a new roommate as he loves his apartment so dearly. His SLS support staff has been the saving grace to our family as we do not know how we could support Alan’s independent living without our wonderful friend and counselor, and her family, to be there to support him. We all work together as a team to make sure Alan has everything that he needs.
Alan has worked for arcThrift Stores for over 5 years now and Access-A-Ride through RTD picks him up at his door and takes him to the front doors of his work, and vs. This is especially important to Alan. Riding the bus has always been a source of pride and independence for him and he is immensely proud to point out to anybody, “Hey! That’s my bus!!!”
It is also very comforting to us to know that he has a regular bus driver who knows Alan and knows his schedule and makes sure he is safely transported to and from work. He even makes sure Alan gets into his apartment. Alan is also ENORMOUSLY proud of his job and it is very important to him. He has many, many wonderful friends in his co-workers and he is so proud to have a job to go to and so proud to hand over his paycheck for me to take care of for him.
Alan eats lunch at Arby’s and bowls every single Monday. He works three days of the week and is terribly upset if he has to miss work for any reason. And even more upset if he must miss a bus ride because one of us picked him up from work! He goes grocery shopping every Wednesday, one day is for house cleaning, one day is laundry day, and the weekends are for fun and leisure. He regularly attends Colorado Rockies Baseball games. He flies to Washington State, on his own, once or twice a year to visit family. He enjoys watching his TV and his shows whenever he wants, at whatever volume he wants, without a bossy sister telling him what to do or to turn it down.
The PAL program has been wonderful for Alan and for our family throughout the years. When our parents passed, it was devastating on Alan and it would have been more devastating for him if he had to move out of their home and into one of our homes. But our mother made sure that Alan would have a safe, secure and loving place to live in the PAL program; so Alan did not have to lose his home. His belongings and his securities were left intact.
And now, us girls (his sisters) with the help of his wonderful SLS support staff, make sure that Alan continues to live a happy, healthy, productive, and independent life. Our mother didn’t want it any other way, Alan doesn’t want it any other way, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Alan loves his life and his apartment, and we love that we can feel safe knowing that he has a healthy, safe, and wonderful place to live, for as long as he can live independently. Thank you, PAL!!! We could not do it without you!
Alice Kitt, Alan’s mother
Founding Director of PAL
Finding out about PAL has been a life-saver for me, allowing me to live on my own despite my many learning disabilities. PAL is a trustworthy, dependable organization which is dedicated to meeting the needs of its clients to allow them as much independence as possible.
I have had the privilege of living in a PAL-owned condo in a town-house complex since 2006. The location is adjacent to a bus stop and importantly, in a safe neighborhood. It even has a pool. There is a convenience store, restaurant, and other shops meeting basic needs within walking distance.
The best part of living in a PAL residence is that the rent is super-reasonable for those of us with disabilities that limit our income, and there is always someone on call to assist with kitchen, bathroom or heating repairs.
I have always been able to meet possible new roommates to see if we would be compatible. Although I have to pay my share, carpet-cleaning is scheduled for once a year. The HVAC system is also inspected yearly but that is covered in my rent.
If you have a disability from birth and limited income, and would like a safe place to live, you should look into what PAL has to offer. It’s terrific.
From Chip – A Satisfied PAL Customer
Nick is 34 years old and has cerebral palsy. He had graduated from high school, Jefferson County Transitional School, and was working. We began to look into him living independently and found the PAL program! In May of 2008, he interviewed with the Director, we filled out the paperwork, and Nick moved in in July of that year. He was somewhat apprehensive at first but given some time he became more comfortable. It was located in Lakewood and was close to everything he needed, Grocery stores, shopping, and bus routes. Access a Ride would take him back and forth to work and on weekends we would pick him up for outings.
The apartment had two bedrooms, full bath, living room, dining area and kitchen. He had access to a laundry room, recreational area, and mailboxes. It was in a nice neighborhood so he would go for walks and we didn’t have to worry about his safety. Nick also had a roommate and some very nice neighbors to visit. A maintenance man came every two weeks to check the apartment, batteries for smoke detectors, replace light bulbs, and just checked to make sure everything was ok.
After two years, an opening became available in Arvada, which would put him closer to family. Again, he had a great apartment with a washer and dryer, he had a small deck, and a swimming pool. The whole experience made him more confident, independent and mature. He really enjoyed having his own place. He had a few roommates on and off and also had really nice neighbors to visit.
Nick continued to live there until September of 2019. Due to regression and some behavioral problems, Nick had to move into a host home. This program did so much for Nick!! He had his own man pad, learned so much, and was so very happy! I can’t say enough about PAL except to thank them for all they do and their kindness. We miss them!!
We discovered PAL when our son was 19. He is autistic with learning disabilities, and for most of his life we assumed that he would be living at home with us forever. He really wanted to be independent and live on his own like any other “normal” teenager, but his disabilities, while overall fairly mild, are more than what allows him to be able to fully support himself. We knew that there was no way he’d be able to live in a regular apartment on his own, and yet we also knew he would not ever be happy in a group home. We worried about what would happen with him if something happened to us, and whether his sisters would be able to really support and help him, as much as they might want to.
We struggled with him as he felt he was an adult now, he doesn’t want to live at home anymore, he wants to be on his own, and he wants to be a grown man. Our relationship with him became more strained just because we knew he wanted to not live at home with his parents forever and he wanted to make his own decisions and feel that he was a capable adult; but living at home made him feel that he was still a child, and not capable, and he was just so unhappy and felt like his life would not amount to anything. No matter how much we tried to help him feel independent at home, it was a very hard time for him no matter what we tried to do because other kids his age were moving out, going to college and being on their own.
We knew that he would never be able to work enough hours at a job with enough pay to support himself in a regular apartment here in Colorado, we knew that he would need a lot of support that he would consider “hovering” if it was mom and dad, and that he would not be capable of managing everything or afford a safe place. He is at the level of knowing there are limitations to what he can do and being depressed by that. It seemed that there were no real options, and we resigned ourselves to just having to get through this period of “rebellion” and hope that we could help him feel independent enough while still living at home.
Then we came upon the PAL program, and it was an answered prayer. It has been so amazing – more than we could have dreamed. The director of this program is so kind, caring, and wonderful, her personal experience with people like our son gives her a true connection and passion for providing affordable and safe housing options. He was able to move into a condo with a roommate, and it is affordable for him on his limited income. They have a maintenance person who checks on the units once a month, making sure that everything is okay, that there are no hazards and that they are keeping things reasonably well kept (they are still bachelors, lol), and just being available if anything comes up.
In the last four years, our son has developed such an amazing sense of independence and self-worth – his condo is right on a major bus line that is convenient for him to get to work, to his doctor, to the grocery store, etc. There is laundry on site. The condo is close to us so we can check on him. He is able to live very independently, and not sure he even realizes how much support he has – he feels he is truly on his own and living like any other adult can live. We know that he is safe, that he is cared for by the PAL program, and that he has been able to gain skills and a sense of independence that he would never have been able to gain by living at home. Our relationship with him improved because he no longer felt like a child in our home, he is a grown man who is taking care of himself.
It has truly been such a blessing, and we highly recommend this program for anyone with a special needs adult child that qualifies and is looking for that safe independence for them. We cannot thank the PAL program and staff enough for what they have given our son! Really, they have given our entire family a gift as well – a better relationship with our son, who now feels like a capable adult, and not a perpetual child; and our time with him can be spent enjoying each other rather than him worried we are thinking of him like a child. Giving people like our son such a sense of independence and capability is what PAL is all about!