HOOO is publishing a summary of its timeline in order to give groups around the country an idea of how we got to this point. Please keep in mind that states and localities have their own rules, procedures, and processes, which may differ significantly from what we have experienced.
November 2013: Concerned citizens meet around a dining room table to talk about the central question: Where will young adults with autism live when their families are no longer able to care for them, or when they are ready to move out? Group decides to meet every week at a local coffee shop, to continue the conversation.
Spring 2013: Group assigns first “homework” assignment: every member should come to the next meeting with a list of four things: 1. What type of community will young adults with autism be comfortable in; 2. What type of community will they be uncomfortable in; 3. What items are negotiable; 4. What items are non-negotiable; 5. What are the very specific needs of this population?
Spring 2013: Group spends several meetings discussing the first homework assignment, and comes to a preliminary consensus about what the community should look like. Group commits to researching existing housing options that we would like to model ourselves on, or borrow ideas from. Begin research on other communities for differently abled adults around the U.S.
2013: At every meeting, four things happen: 1. Update one another what we’ve learned; 2. Determine who to contact in order to move us forward; 3. Assign homework for the next meeting; 4. Continue to hone our vision and mission, and 5. Get to know one another so that we develop a strong bond.
Fall 2014: Research possible organizational/legal structures, complete SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats); discuss different project types (e.g., rental, ownership, condos, cooperatives).
Fall 2014: Reach out to potential community partners including county Human Services staff and an affordable housing non-profit. Initial meetings take place.
Winter 2014: Research area statistics re: differently abled adults living with parents, incidence of autism, & need for adult housing for differently abled people. Make e-mail/phone contact with models that have interesting features.
Spring 2015: Develop first draft of vision/mission statement & description of ideal project; retain volunteer draftsmen to draw initial rendering of project; develop HOOO logo.
Fall 2015: Begin to research possible building sites.
Winter 2015: Initial meeting with possible developer and Village officials.
Winter 2015: Begin research on possible non-profit status.
Winter 2015: Group expands to about 15 people. Hold a large group session to discuss priorities, scope of project, “musts,” “wants,” and “negotiables.” Utilize this information to begin revision of HOOO project document and vision/mission.
Winter 2015: Visit co-housing developments in Madison, Wisconsin (a model we liked and would encourage you to look at), and affordable housing developments in suburban Dane County. Meet with County Human Services staff to discuss possible support of project.
Spring 2016: Research County rules re: residential support funding process; establish relationship with municipal officials in target area. Ongoing visits to other interesting housing sites. Meet with potential service/support providers.
Spring 2016: Begin to collect “dues,” initially charging $10/month per person. (We should have started doing this at the very beginning, because it’s important to have a small fund of money to pay for incidental expenses.) Revise vision/mission document to include a values statement and to accurately reflect proposed scope of project.
Fall 2016: Incorporate HOOO as a Wisconsin non-profit corporation; draft bylaws; initial meeting with non-profit attorney to begin process of creating a 501c3 non-profit.
Fall 2016: Begin informal partnership with Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program (SWCAP), an integral step in moving us forward. SWCAP Executive Director begins to act as mentor and guide, and agrees to act as HOOO’s 501c3 umbrella and fiscal agent.
Early 2017: Continue to research appropriate building sites.
Spring 2017: Locate suitable property, zoned multi-family, and connectable to Village water and sewer.
Spring 2017: Prepare “concept approval” document to take to Village Plan Commission.
Spring 2017: Appear in front of Village of New Glarus Plan Commission, and obtain initial concept approval for our project.
May 2017: We find our non-profit developer, Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corporation (WHPC).
June 2017: Identified parcel is pulled from the market. HOOO and WHPC begin to look for an alternate parcel. In the immortal words of Winston Churchill, never, never, never give up!
June 2017 – February 2018: Continue to look for alternate parcel, arrange for site visits with WHPC. None of the parcels proves to be suitable, due to development costs, location, etc.
December 2017: WHPC agrees to commission market study, to determine demand for multi-family housing in New Glarus, Wisconsin/Green County.
February 2018: 93-page market study completed, confirms market demand for multi-family housing.
April 2018: WHPC obtains site control of original site after taking a chance and approaching the original property owner.
April 2018: WHPC develops preliminary project budget, and determines that gap funding of $1,000,000 will need to be raised in order to complete the project. HOOO is charged with raising $500,000.
April 2018: HOOO develops short and long-term priorities for achieving its fundraising goals. HOOO decides to hold a kick off fundraiser, primarily to raise community awareness and engage community members. We waited to hold our first official fundraiser until this point, because potential donors want to know what the money will be used for and want to see architectural renderings.
April 2018: Begin weekly check in calls with non-profit developer and architects.
May 2018: Solicit feedback from potential residents regarding complex and site design features and operations.
May 2018: HOOO’s Facebook page published.
June 2018: Initial architectural renderings completed.
June 2018: Work with local designer to create formal project brief.
Spring—Fall 2018: Plan for kick off fundraiser, which we called our “Hootenanny.” Recruit sponsors, and solicit silent auction/raffle donations. Develop teams and divide up tasks. (This was an incredible amount of work!)
July 2018: Meeting in front of Village of New Glarus Plan Commission to obtain general concept approval, based on actual architectural renderings.
Summer 2018: Engage local reporters, first article about HOOO published in local papers.
October 2018: Inaugural Hootenanny fundraiser takes place.
Fall 2018: Two neighborhood meetings take place, at which WHPC staff present the concept with detailed power points, answer questions, and listen to questions/concerns. Be prepared for push back from neighbors!
November 2018: Project is approved at a Plan Commission meeting.
December 2018: WHPC submits federal tax credit financing application to WHEDA. (This will cover the bulk of development costs.)
December 2018: HOOO receives its first grant of $2,500.
December 2018: HOOO members spend a month identifying 25-35 promising foundation/grant sources, based on their interest areas aligning with HOOO’s vision/mission. Organize grant/foundation opportunities by due dates and priority order.
January 2019: Start applying for 1-2 grants/week.
February 2019: Develop four-fold brochure with designer, publish website. Hold second fundraiser at local bar/restaurant.
March 2019: Begin focus on completing HOOO’s 501c(3) non-profit application
April 1, 2019:Submit application to IRS for 501c(3) non-profit status
April 3, 2019: WHEDA awards HOOO's non-profit developer tax credits that will pay for the majority of the project
Going Forward: Our goal is to raise our commitment of $500,000 to cover the gap and the project and to develop a manageable means of supporting other organizations interested in developing a similar project.