ROOF's mission is to empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to successfully obtain and maintain affordable and inclusionary housing of their choice.

The ROOF Connector
Connecting you with housing news and resources
February 2016

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Damian Gregory Honored With Advocacy Award 
Congratulations to Damian P. Gregory, ROOF Board of Directors, for being named the 2016 recipient of the Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy Award from the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council! This award was named in honor of Idelio Valdes, a member of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and self-advocate who passed away in 2009 and recognizes an individual with a developmental disability who has demonstrated outstanding advocacy efforts and has helped develop partnerships for the facilitation of community integration, employment and inclusion for individuals with developmental disabilities. Damian received this award on DD Awareness Day at the Capitol on Thursday, February 18, 2016.
The Journey
by ReneĆ© Martin Valletutti

Of all the hats I have worn in my 47 years, I have always considered the "mom hat" the one of which I am most proud.  When my first son Anthony was born over 21 years ago with intellectual, developmental, physical, and emotional disabilities, I anticipated a long and complex road ahead.  Transitions always seemed to be the muddiest parts of that road - slipping and sliding our way through entrance into the public school system, moving into junior high and then high school, and now at the end of a transitional program for young adults with disabilities.  We survived them all, but somehow I knew that this last transition - the one out of public school and the comforts of moms and dad's houses - would be a true test of endurance.  
And so in keeping with the goal to always have our son on the most typical path possible (after all, I didn't and don't expect to have his younger brothers living at home past age 18), I began looking into housing options for our then 19 year old, even while he was still in his extended years of public school.  It just seemed like the right time.  He seemed to be wanting and needing his own space and certain degree of independence, and let's face it, I was worn out with the schedule and also needing to look for employment and my own typical path.

ROOF Advocates For Inclusionary Housing Opportunites

As the Florida House of Representatives steams along with assures of record education funding, billions in reserves, and #downontaxes momentum, it is important to remember that dedicated funds for housing requires attention - and money. Residential Options of Florida (ROOF) is one of many organizations in the state that has teamed with the Florida Housing Coalition and the Sadowski Housing Coalition to ensure that the House steps up to the plate when it comes to ensuring that the money dedicated to house Florida's most vulnerable populations stays put.

Thankful for fulfilling the promise of dedicated funds coming out of 2015, advocates for affordable housing programs, including those that support individuals with disabilities, are working together to encourage legislators to again fill the coffers. While the Senate has dedicated $317 million to affordable housing initiatives, the House has not yet met half that amount. During budget season, everything seems to be a priority. But when funds are dedicated, and then swept into the general revenue bucket, voices are going to be heard.

Monies which go to local housing trust funds through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program provide support for the homeless, veterans, the elderly, and those with special needs. Because many adults with disabilities require support services to live independently, finding affordable housing is imperative to living inclusively in the community versus living in an institution or ending up homeless. A 2013 housing study shows that 590,000 households were low-income, had a member with a disability, and lived in housing that was not affordable for the family.

As groups such as ROOF continue to advocate for inclusionary housing opportunities that meet the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the eyes and ears of this organization and the state collective will be on our legislators and their promises to their constituents. This money not only provides safe and accessible homes, the investment in turn creates 32,600 Florida jobs, and has a positive economic impact in our state of $4.6 billion. Now that's a win-win.

ReneƩ Edwards
Residential Options of Florida, Inc. (ROOF), Board Member

Florida Symposium on Aging with Developmental Disabilities

Join us tomorrow for the Florida Symposium on Aging with Developmental Disabilities on February 26, 2016.  Click here for more information.  ROOF Executive Director, Sheryl Soukup, will be presenting a workshop at this event.

To find other  ROOF events, visit our calendar at
Residential Options of Florida | 239-774-ROOF (7663) |
2640 Golden Gate Parkway Suite 112-A
Naples FL 34105