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  • 1. What problem or need does the Eva Sophia Project solve?
    The market need that Eva Sophia Project is addressing is substantial and increasing. There are far more adult residents of Minnesota with DD than there are safe, supportive, and affordable residential settings designed to accommodate their needs and wants throughout their lifespans. There were 132,216 people with DD in the State of Minnesota, according to the Long-Term Supports and Services for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities: Status and Trends Through Fiscal Year 2019 report published in December 2022 by the Residential Information Systems Project (RISP) of the University of Minnesota. Of that total, 34,262 were 18 years of age or older. Sixty-four percent live with a family caregiver. Only 10.3% live in a home of their own. A concerning 24 percent of adults with DD in Minnesota are being supported by caregivers age 60 and older as of fiscal year 2019, according to the State of the States in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities report produced by the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities. This particular demographic can be considered at-risk due to the fact the caregivers may soon need caregiving for themselves.
  • 2. How does the Eva Sophia Project solve the problem or need?
    Eva Sophia Project plans to address the need for safe, supportive, and affordable residences for adults with DD in the Waconia, Minnesota area with a sustainable mixed-use intentional community model that can be replicated across the state of Minnesota. The model will incorporate best practices for living environments for adults with DD who have a range of abilities and disabilities that have been pioneered by other intentional communities for adults with DD in Minnesota and across the U.S. The for-sale residence structure will provide permanence to families and adults who have DD. At the same time, the for-sale model enables a capitalization approach that results in the community getting built and becoming operational debt-free faster. The setting size for up to 100 adults is large enough to generate revenues to support its operational funding needs, but small enough to be located near day programs, employment, retail, dining, services, medical, and recreational options. The for-sale model is relatively new to the market for supportive housing for adults who have DD. It first appeared in April 2017 at Luna Azul in North Phoenix, Arizona, but several projects in development in Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Texas, and Wisconsin have adopted and are being developed with that model. .
  • 3. Why is it important to build and operate the Eva Sophia Project now?
    The need of the population we plan to serve for this type of supportive housing is growing. There are far more adult residents of Minnesota who have DD than there are safe, supportive, and affordable residential settings designed to accommodate their needs and wants throughout their lifespan. Of the 132,216 people who have DD in the State of Minnesota, 24 percent live with caregivers aged 60 or older who themselves may need supportive settings in the next decade. Gone are the days when individuals who have DD had to live with family most of their lives. They want more out of life and to grow to be independent.
  • 4. Why should potential outside supporters get involved with the Eva Sophia Project now?
    Eva Sophia Project will be an innovative, replicable, self-sustainable model that can be deployed across the State of Minnesota and nationally. Individuals, foundations, and corporations interested in our vision and model have an opportunity to help us bring a compelling solution to market in the next few years.
  • 5. What sets the Eva Sophia Project apart and why should supporters choose the Eva Sophia Project over other projects and organizations with similar missions?
    We believe that our residential model, scope of programming, and inclusion of all community members with DD sets Eva Sophia Project apart from other organizations in Minnesota. We are one of the first communities in Minnesota to develop for-sale housing as well as rental housing for adults with DD. Home ownership is the American Dream and our for-sale cottage-style homes will provide permanence for adults with DD and their families. It also will create a vehicle to build equity and financial security for adults with DD after their families are no longer around.
  • 6. What is the origin of, or story behind, the name Eva Sophia Project?
    The Eva Sophia Project was inspired by two young adult women - Eva and Sophia - who met in the fifth grade and have grown closer every year since, sharing their mutual love for hiking, kayaking, photography, Special Olympics, and being their best selves together. They also share a developmental disability and a desire to live in a safe, supportive neighborhood they can call their own with other adults with and without developmental disabilities.
  • 7. Who do you believe will be able to live successfully in the Eva Sophia Project Community?
    Adults [or individuals] ages 18 and older with DD and who meet the requirements of our evidence-based admissions process. We will use this to determine who we believe can be successful in our residences. We expect there to be a range of abilities, support needs, and mobilities. Just because an adult with DD may not be able to live independently doesn’t mean they couldn’t be a fit with our residential setting. Residents will need to be able to communicate their wants and needs whether verbal, nonverbal, or through assistive or augmentative communications (AAC) devices. Residents and their families will be required to demonstrate that they have a sustained ability to pay for housing, programs and community fees (as applicable), and utilities, and have in place the necessary supports.
  • 8. Who do you believe will not be able to live successfully in the Eva Sophia Project Community?
    We do not plan to be a skilled nursing or long-term care facility. Individuals with DD who are medically fragile or require periodic skilled nursing may be able to live successfully in our community as determined on a case-by-case basis. Because our first priority is safety, we do not believe that adults with DD whose behaviors make them an unmanageable risk to the safety and security of themselves, other residents, staff, and guests, or to property will be able to live successfully in our community.
  • 9. How will the Eva Sophia Project determine who will be able to live successfully in its community?
    We will use an evidence-based admissions process to determine who we believe can be successful in our community.
  • 10. Are adults with DD telling you what they want you to build and how to manage it? How are the voices of adults with DD being authentically included in your planning?
    Yes, very much so. We will be forming a Resident Advisory Council and conducting focus groups and feasibility sessions with families. We are planning to add 1-2 self-advocates to full voting members spots on our board of directors.
  • 11. Is there a social impact aspect to Eva Sophia Project?
    Eva Sophia Project will produce a social impact locally and nationally in several measurable and meaningful ways. Eva Sophia Project will directly address one of the most significant barriers facing adults with DD in becoming full members of society and that is permanent, safe, and supportive housing that is affordable for adults whose primary sources of income are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps.
  • 12. How does the Eva Sophia Project contribute to the mental health and emotional well-being of adults with DD?
    Isolation and loneliness, lack of friendships outside of paid caregivers, food and housing insecurity, and lack of access to appropriate health and mental health resources are prevalent among adults with DD and often are acute and difficult to solve. Eva Sophia Project will be an intentional community designed to be permanent, safe, supportive, and affordable, but more than that, it will be a community in which up to 100 adults with and without developmental disabilities will socialize, build friendships, share experiences, and support each other. Knowing that a friend is just a few doors away will encourage many to leave their residences to spend time with others. Our staff and volunteers will help facilitate friendships, provide opportunities out in the community, and organize community activities for residents and their guests as well as families and volunteers.
  • 13. What would happen to the Eva Sophia Project and its residents if the Eva Sophia Project fails as a nonprofit?
    Every 501(c)(3) nonprofit recognized as a tax-exempt organization by the IRS is required to have a dissolution clause in its Bylaws that states that the organization would dissolve and transfer its assets to one or more 501(c)(3) nonprofits with similar missions. The conditions of that transfer likely would include continuing to operate Eva Sophia Project for its intended purpose.
  • 14. Why do you believe that the Eva Sophia Project can be successful?
    Eva Sophia Project’s residential setting will offer an attractive solution for adults with DD and families that is unique to the region. The for-sale model means Eva Sophia Project will not be completely dependent on fundraising to build and operate its residential setting, but in fact is designed to be financially self-sustaining once fully occupied.
  • 15. What type of supportive housing will be provided at the Eva Sophia Project Community?
    Eva Sophia Project will be a community where residents know they are safe and have the support they need to live the inclusive and independent lives they desire on their own terms. We know from research and best practices in communities around the country that individuals with DD thrive in settings that optimize their individual initiative, autonomy, and independence in making life choices. Our model will facilitate individual choice regarding services and supports. Residents will choose and self-direct the people who will provide their daily living support paid through their waiver funding or private pay. They will be supported to have opportunities to seek employment, engage in community life, control personal resources, and choose their daily schedules. Eva Sophia Project’s staff will enhance that by encouraging friendships and socialization, helping to organize activities, and ensuring a safe and well-maintained setting.
  • 16. Will only adults with DD live at the Eva Sophia Project? How many will live there?
    No, Eva Sophia Project will be a neurodiverse setting for up to 100 adults with and without developmental disabilities. Eva Sophia Project will set a goal for no less than 80% of the residents to be adults with DD.
  • 17. When do you plan to open the Eva Sophia Project Community?
    Our opening date will depend on a variety of factors, including finding the right land, obtaining the necessary zoning approvals, fundraising, and availability of construction materials and labor. We hope to begin moving in sometime in 2028.
  • 18. Where are you planning to build the Eva Sophia Project Community? Do you have your land yet?
    Our plan is to build in Waconia. We do not have the land yet.
  • 19. What will it cost to build the Eva Sophia Project Community?
    We do not have that information available at this time. We will disclose it at a later date.
  • 20. How is the Eva Sophia Project going to pay to build its community?
    Eva Sophia Project will be built with a combination of for-sale home proceeds, donations, grants, and in-kind contributions.
  • 21. Will the residences at Eva Sophia Project be available on a for-sale or lease basis?
    Most of our residences will be for sale homes. We may reserve a couple of homes to be leased for adults to occupy on a transitional basis to determine if the Eva Sophia Project is a setting where they can be successful. There also will be up to 12 apartments available above our community center.
  • 22. How much will it cost to purchase a residence at the Eva Sophia Project Community?
    We do not have that information available at this time. We will disclose it at a later date.
  • 23. What happens if we purchase a residence but decide to sell it?
    Residences cannot be sold on the open market. It is a closed resale market. We would buy it back at a market-rate price basis stated in the original sales contract. It is our desire for families to get their original purchase amount and not be penalized for trying an option for their sons or daughters like our community.
  • 24. Will adult residents with DD be able to use Minnesota waiver funding (e.g. Developmental Disabilities Waiver) to pay for the supports and services they need to live as independently as possible at Eva Sophia Project?
    That is our plan, but it is subject to working successfully with the Department of Human Services (DHS).
  • 25. What will it cost to live in the Eva Sophia Project community? What will a typical monthly budget for an adult with DD living at the Eva Sophia Project look like?
    We don’t have that information available at this time. Our goal is to make it affordable to a wide range of adults and their families.
  • 26. How will residents pay to live at the Eva Sophia Project?
    We expect families to purchase the homes for their sons and daughters. Adult residents with DD will utilize Minnesota waiver funding or private pay to fund their daily support and services. They will utilize SSI or SSDI to pay for their daily living expenses such as utilities, entertainment, clothing, and sundries, and we expect many also will utilize SNAP (food stamps) to pay for some of their food costs.
  • 27. Will the Eva Sophia Project provide transportation and if so what will be provided?
    Residents with their own direct support professionals will be transported in those people’s vehicles to get around the community. Some members of the community may be able to drive as well. Eva Sophia Project may provide some additional transportation, but that has not yet been determined.
  • 28. What future social engagement and education options do you plan to offer?
    These are currently in the planning stage.
  • 29. What is or will be included in your family informational workshops?
    We know that many families are overwhelmed trying to navigate local, state, and federal systems that benefit their loved ones. We will organize and present informational workshops in-person or online (or hybrid) initially on a quarterly basis. We may develop our own content but likely will utilize community partners. Some of the areas we plan to address include: Governmental Benefits Planning Guardianship and Less Restrictive Alternatives SSI/SSDI and SNAP Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts Waivers
  • 30. What will be included in your integrated housing choices for people with and without DD?
    Eva Sophia Project will be a safe, supportive, and affordable residential community in Waconia, Minnesota for up to 100 adults with and without DD. Eva Sophia Project will set a goal for no less than 80% of the residents to be adults with DD. Adults with DD and residents who live there by their own choice will advise the community’s design and management and may serve on our Resident Advisory Council to help guide our operations. Eva Sophia Project will be developed as a neighborhood comprised of 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom for-sale cottage-style homes built as independent dwellings, and an additional 10-12 apartments for rent above the community center. The community center will be for programs, clubs, socializing, and communal dining; activity areas, and spaces to be used for local Special Olympics teams such as a basketball court; greenspaces for horticulture; and, a variety of amenities that facilitate friendships and well-being.
  • 31. Will the Eva Sophia Project be a residential setting licensed by Minnesota DHS?
  • 32. Will Eva Sophia Project be a vendor with DHS?
    No. We do not plan to be a provider of services through DHS.
  • 33. Will couples who have DD be allowed to live at Eva Sophia Project?
    Yes, we will allow a legally married couple to live at Eva Sophia Project.
  • 34. Will there be a meal service or meal plan for residents of the Eva Sophia Project community, or will they be responsible for some or all of their own meals?
    We expect that we will have some form of communal dining, but we are still evaluating options and plans with self-advocates and their families. We will disclose more as we gather information.
  • 35. Will residences have full kitchens?
    Yes, we plan to make fully adaptable kitchens a part of every residence based on the abilities of the residents. Some may be very capable with range tops, ovens, and microwaves. For those who aren’t capable or are still developing the skills to operate them safely, we will substitute modular counter/cabinet units in place of the range/oven.
  • 36. Will families be able to purchase units and live in the setting either in the same home with their son or daughter, or in a separate home near them?
    Our vision is to promote independent living as much as possible so we would encourage families to plan for their sons and daughters to live separately from them. Because we are a neurodiverse community, we are open to some families purchasing a home for their adult child and another for themselves in our community. We will counsel families to understand that the sooner they begin preparing their adult children to live without the support of their parents, the better prepared they will be when the inevitable day comes that the parents are no longer around.
  • 37. Will residents be allowed to have pets?
  • 38. How many residents can occupy a home or a bedroom?
    One person per bedroom. We would allow a legally married couple to share a bedroom.
  • 39. If two or more families wanted to go in together to purchase a home, how would that work?
    Generally speaking the families would need to each contribute to the purchase with cash. No lender will offer a split or fractional mortgage. We would strongly encourage families considering such an option to structure the deal with the benefit of legal and tax guidance counsel.
  • 40. Will there be an HOA or Community Fee, how will it be charged, and if so what will it pay for?
    Yes, a community typically includes a monthly fee for common area expenses. Families that purchase homes from Eva Sophia Project would be purchasing the interiors of their homes. Eva Sophia Project will retain ownership of the exteriors and common areas. The Community Fee will be billed monthly and will pay for our Community Managers, maintenance, utilities, property taxes on the common areas, insurance, etc.
  • 41. What appliances will be in each home, and what appliances can I bring and use in my home?
    Each home will have a washer/dryer, full-size refrigerator, range/oven, microwave, water heater, and HVAC system. Residents may bring a toaster, toaster/oven, coffee maker, blender, and other similar countertop appliances
  • 42. Will I be able to use a Housing Choice Voucher to pay my rent if I am a renter?
    We are investigating this option. However, it would be the responsibility of the renter and renter’s family to work with the Housing Choice Voucher authority to obtain the voucher and it would be at the discretion of the renting party to accept the voucher.
  • 43. Will each bedroom have private or shared bathrooms?
    Each bedroom will have its own private bathroom.
  • 44. If we buy a unit and we have an open bedroom for someone to occupy, do we have to find a roommate or does Eva Sophia Project do that? Or the State?
    Eva Sophia Project will have a list of names of Applicants who have expressed a desire to rent and have been approved through our Admissions process, but it will be the responsibility of the Resident and Resident’s family to choose the renter. The State of Minnesota or the Eva Sophia Project will not be able to “place” anyone in your home
  • 45. Will Eva Sophia Project do the housekeeping or am I responsible for that?
    The Resident, the Resident’s family, and the Resident’s Direct Support Professional (DSP) staff will be responsible for ensuring their unit is properly maintained.
  • 46. Will there be a washer/dryer in each unit, or central laundry room, or a laundry service?
    There will be a washer/dryer in each home.
  • 47. Will Eva Sophia Project handle any repairs inside the homes or as the owner am I responsible for that?
    Homeowners are responsible for handling repairs inside their homes. Eva Sophia Project will provide Residents with lists of companies in the area that do a range of repairs. Eva Sophia Project also will counsel families and Residents to plan for how to pay for repairs including home warranties and insurance. For the rental units, there will be standard maintenance and repairs.
  • 48. Will there be limits to the extent of any modifications we may want to make to the interiors of our homes? Will there be an architectural review board we have to work through?
    Minor modifications will be permitted without Eva Sophia Project review. Major modifications will require at least a review in advance by Eva Sophia Project. We will prepare a list of types of modifications that fall into each category with the understanding that Eva Sophia Project will be the final authority on major modifications.
  • 49. Will the homes come fully furnished, partially furnished, or completely unfurnished?
    Completely unfurnished, however the kitchen will come equipped with a refrigerator, range/oven, microwave, and dishwasher. Each home also will have a washer/dryer.
  • 50. Will this be a place I can only live a few years or can I choose to live there my entire life?
    Residents will be able to live their entire lives there assuming that they remain financially, physically, and cognitively able to do so with appropriate supports.
  • 51. What hours will the common spaces be open?
    We expect the common spaces will be open during normal business hours daily.
  • 52. What will the Community Center have?
    The Community Center will have: Basketball Court with a track that goes around it. It will also be lined for pickleball court. Communal dining Conference for family, provider meeting. Or other. Class/craft rooms. Game room - Ping pong, foosball, maybe pool Music clubs/room - bongo club, ukulele, etc. Just to name a few Other activity spaces to be determined for outside - Salt water exercise/therapy pool, garden area, grilling, butterfly garden
  • 53. Will there be Eva Sophia Project staff on-site 24/7, especially overnight, to ensure the security of the site and in case a Resident has an emergency?
    To be determined, if applicable.
  • 54. Will families with parents who are not disabled who have young children (under 18) who may or may not be disabled be able to purchase a home and live there?
    Our community is intended for adults, but we will evaluate these situations on a case-by-case basis.
  • 55. We don’t live in Waconia. Will we be able to purchase a home in the Eva Sophia Project community?
    Yes if the adult with an intellectual or developmental disability is accepted through our admissions process and has the supports and services in place to be able to live there successfully.
  • 56. Will the Eva Sophia Project community give preference to Waconia residents?
    No, our place is to consider Applicants and their families on a first-come basis. Waconia residents may be better prepared if they already have waiver funding from the state.
  • 57. Under what circumstances would a Resident be asked or required to move out?
    There will be a Resident Code of Conduct. This will speak to appropriate conduct around other residents, staff, and visitors. If a Resident demonstrates behavior that presents an unmanageable risk to other residents, staff, and visitors, or to property that cannot be resolved, Eva Sophia Project will initiate a process for moving the Resident out of our community. We hope that our very thorough Admissions process can make sure that all Residents are able to live successfully in our community.
  • 58. Will smoking be allowed in a designated smoking area?
    No. There will be no smoking allowed within the community.
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