Home. It means different things to different people, but we all share common ideals. Home is where you’re safe. It’s where you’re secure. Home is where you can be yourself, be loved, be at peace. We take pride in our home. That’s the same for residents of North Coast Community Homes (NCCH). Unfortunately, not every home is perfect.

“When we talked about our houses [in maintenance meetings], we used to only focus on the negative and what needed to be fixed.” said Mike Howard, maintenance manager at NCCH. “I said let’s find a way to focus on the positive for a while. Let’s flip it.”

NCCH’s mission is to provide safe, comfortable, and affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, or other disabilities. It’s a lofty goal and it’s challenging because the organization is limited in its scope.

“We’re basically the landlord”, says Howard. “But we’re trying to build these relationships with the staff [of the care providers], so that we can make more of these houses be like our best homes.”

It was with that in mind that Howard proposed the “NCCH Best Homes Contest.” It would be a contest that recognized the homes that were cleanest, best maintained, and had residents that seemed especially engaged and cared for. A place that was a good home.

Suzanne Seifert, CEO of NCCH loved the idea.

"When I heard this idea, I loved it!" remarked Seifert. "It was great to hear staff members buzzing about different homes and why they thought this or that one should win. And then at the picnic, I saw care providers and residents feel really happy to have their house win."

She wanted to ensure it was well recognized and the rollout was big, bold, and impactful. So, Seifert tied it to the annul residents’ picnic event. The staff at NCCH who were helping with the picnic got together to brainstorm about a prize.