James Thompsen had been living in a private house on Staten Island through the Senior Citizen Home Sharing program for 12 years when he decided that he was ready to have a home of his own.  In 2012, James visited AHRC NYC’s Department of Individualized Supports to receive assistance so he could live independently.  James decided that he would like to use a housing subsidy through New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Once he was approved for the subsidy, James and his support staff began to look for an apartment that would suit his needs. They discussed where he likes to shop, what he likes to do, and if there were people he wanted to be close to. He chose the St. George neighborhood so that he could be close to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, as he used to work there and still remained acquainted with his coworkers.  He decided upon a studio with a view of the Staten Island Yankees ballpark. In May 2013, he moved in.

Using a Transition Stipend fund from New York State, Individualized Supports assisted James to furnish his apartment and make sure his extensive “oldies” CD collection would have a good spot in his living room. James is supported by Elizabeth Massalee, who visits weekly to assist him to live independently in his neighborhood. James likes that he is well-acquainted with many of his neighbors:

All of my neighbors are excited about the new Staten Island Ferris Wheel and how it is going to change this neighborhood,” said James. “I am really grateful for the support that I get from AHRC New York City. It’s nice to know that someone is always there when I need help.

He is so happy in his home that he volunteers to be an ambassador for other people who are looking to move into their own apartment using a housing subsidy. James enjoys telling people his story and what to expect from living on your own. His warm personality and witty sense of humor make him a great candidate for this role. AHRC New York City is appreciative that he is volunteering his time to help other people live independently. He is currently paying it forward by mentoring two young men through their transition to independent living.