AHP grew out of a group of parents whose children attended Nashoba Learning Group. They began meeting in June 2009, committed to pooling their talents, energy and resources to create self-directed housing for their children when they reached age 22. The group engaged in a visioning process based on a person-centered planning tool, and consulted with a variety of individuals who helped them to examine the challenges and rewards of self-directed housing, and educate them in the steps involved in creating a housing cooperative.
In the end, participants concluded that, while they had disparate needs, they would all need to engage in the same research if they wished to create housing. It was decided to launch an umbrella group, dedicated to helping families with the information they need to create housing. AHP incorporated in 2010.
Autism Housing Pathways (AHP) is a family-driven, membership-based organization serving individuals and families in Massachusetts impacted by autism and other developmental disabilities. We have the following core goals:
- Building the capacity of families to find or create housing solutions for their family members with disabilities;
- Improving the professional development of direct support staff;
- Conducting research on the housing needs and resources of the Massachusetts autism community;
- Building the capacity of the housing sector to meet the residential needs of individuals with autism
Autism Housing Pathways (AHP) was created to provide information, support and resources for families who seek to create secure, supported housing for their adult children with disabilities. Autism Housing Pathways seeks to foster education and awareness and disseminate information about the creation of self-directed housing for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities; to promote and support the formation and maintenance of such housing; and to assist families in creating self-directed housing for their adult children that supports their residential, recreational and community needs.
Autism Housing Pathways supports families in forming a variety of housing models by providing a clearinghouse for information on such topics as governmental funding streams for housing and services; adaptive skills and technology to support independent living; financing; ownership models; housing design and construction; and creating a vision. AHP will also share information about housing groups, developers, lawyers, vendors and consultants that can assist families in creating housing. We are committed to providing a community of engaged and caring families and individuals who will support all of our family members and those who care for them to create and maintain safe, dignified, healthy and respectful living communities.
Autism Housing Pathways (AHP) is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt non-profit corporation.
- Teresa Anderson, Burlington: Teresa Anderson is Assistant Commissioner for Quality, Utilization and Analysis at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. She has 17 years experience working in state government and at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Further, she has lived experience in parenting children with special needs. Teresa earned a doctoral degree in Social Policy and Management from the Heller School at Brandeis University and a master of social work degree from the University of Connecticut.
- Gyasi Burks-Abbott, Bedford: Gyasi Burks-Abbott is a writer, speaker, and self-advocate who has shared his experiences living with autism at various conferences, both domestically and abroad. He has also served on the boards of the Twin Cities Autism Society (St. Paul, MN), the Asperger’s Association of New England (now the Asperger/Autism Network), and the Steering Committee of the Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts. In recognition for his advocacy efforts, Gyasi was awarded a Distinguished Citizen Award from the ARC of Massachusetts in 2006. In 2008, Gyasi’s critique of Mark Haddon’s autism novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time appeared in an anthology entitled Autism and Representation. Currently, Gyasi is an advisor to the Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts and a committee member of the Bedford Cultural Council.
- Alicia Hintlian, Winchester: Alicia Hintlian is the Vice President and Comptroller at Varick Enterprises. She volunteers with the EMARC Special Needs Tennis Program in Winchester.
- Charlotte Nunez, Dorchester: Charlotte Nunez is a Vice President at Bank of America, and works in the area of commercial real estate. She is a graduate of Boston University and holds an MBA from Northeastern University.
- President: Catherine Boyle, Winchester: Catherine Boyle is a commissioner of the Winchester Housing Authority, a member of the Winchester Housing Partnership Board, and has completed 60 hours of HUD housing counseling training. She is the recipient of two Margaret L. Bauman Awards: one for her work with Autism Housing Pathways, and another for the development of the St. Mary’s Curriculum for Students with Autism, a religious education curriculum. A former Foreign Service Officer, Catherine is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a certificate of graduate studies from UMASS Boston in adapting curriculum.
- Vice-President: Cheryl Chan, Auburn: Cheryl Chan is a community leader in the autism community. Mom to a young adult with autism, Cheryl is developing a nonprofit whose mission is to foster quality of life opportunities for adults. She works as a social media and web design consultant for Human Service nonprofits. Cheryl also serves as an Advisory Board member for CANDO, the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, at UMASS.
- Treasurer: Erica Ploof, Sterling: Erica Ploof is an independent contract consultant and financial analyst. She is also the treasurer of the Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts, and a special education family advocate. Erica is a graduate of UMASS Amherst.
- Secretary: Kevin Boyle, Winchester: Kevin Boyle is a Managing Director at KB Partners. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds an MBA from Harvard University.