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Innovative Independent Living: Easterseals Arkansas Unveils 'Roommate Housing Program'


Benjamin Hughes

March 11, 2024 - 14:58 pm


Easterseals Arkansas Launches Progressive Roommate Housing Program for Independent Living

LITTLE ROCK, Ariz., March 11, 2024 - Easterseals Arkansas, an organization with a legacy of empowering people with disabilities, proudly marks the inauguration of its groundbreaking Roommate Housing Program. This significant moment, held on March 8, 2024, at the Palisades at Chenal Valley, heralds a new era in supporting adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their journey toward independent living.

A leader in disability services, Easterseals Arkansas, has long been dedicated to pioneering initiatives that enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities. With this in mind, they created the Roommate Housing Program, an avant-garde project that commenced in October 2023. It's designed to enable individuals requiring Community and Employment Supports Waiver services to live more independently through the concept of shared living spaces.

The CEO of Easterseals Arkansas, Ron Ekstrand, provided insights into the extensive work that went into developing the program. "The conception of the Roommate Housing Program spanned almost four years. Our innovative approach holds the potential to fundamentally change the paradigm of Waiver service delivery. By harnessing the power of technology, we not only enhance the independence of our members but also critically address the dire shortage of direct care workers—a situation gravely exacerbated by recent global health crises," Ekstrand stated.

Pioneering Independence Through Technology

By integrating smart home solutions from Smart Living Systems, the program reinvents the traditional supportive living environment. The technology spectrum spans from custom apps and automated medication dispensers to advanced security systems. Furthering the transformative nature of the program, security and oversight are accomplished remotely. Support professionals, leveraging cutting-edge technology, can efficiently supervise up to ten homes simultaneously. This means that real-time support and interaction are just a portal device away, revolutionizing the way assistance is provided.

Philanthropic Support Fueling Innovation

The initiative has caught the attention of CareSource, a managed care organization known for its supportive role in healthcare services. CareSource PASSE demonstrated its commitment to the program by presenting the CareSource PASSE Heart of the Community Award, as well as a substantial $150,000 grant, to Easterseals, specifically for the implementation of the smart-home technology.

David Donohue, the President of CareSource PASSE, asserts the organization's investment in the enhancement of lives through such technological advancements. "CareSource PASSE is proud to invest $150,000 in support of the foundational technology that Easterseals Arkansas requires to actualize the Roommate Housing program. This initiative exemplifies our dedication to enriching the lives of individuals with disabilities by utilizing technology to promote self-sufficiency," remarked Donohue. "Our partnership with Easterseals Arkansas epitomizes our unwavering commitment to not only provide stellar health care services but to also foster the independence and dignity of every individual within our community."

Expanding Accessibility and Information

For those interested in learning more about the innovative Roommate Housing Program, additional information is readily available at the program's dedicated website,

A Legacy of Empowerment and Inclusion

Since its inception 80 years ago, Easterseals Arkansas has been at the forefront of championing the rights and abilities of individuals with disabilities. The organization has steadfastly provided unparalleled services, leading to meaningful changes in the capacity for individuals to live fruitfully, to gain new learning experiences, to work with pride, and to engage in leisure within their communities.

Easterseals Arkansas continues to set sterling examples in pioneering developmental preschools, delivering comprehensive therapy, supporting independent lives, and crafting transition programs that build a bridge to a world where equity and inclusion are the norms, not the exceptions. Their imprint on the community is indelible as they pave the path toward a future where everyone's potential can be realized to the fullest.

Those who wish to explore more about Easterseals Arkansas and its diverse initiatives may visit their website at

Comprehensive Services Enabling Life's Journeys

One cannot overstate Easterseals Arkansas's role in ensuring that all members of our society have the opportunity to lead rewarding lives. From their extensive experience in service provision comes the understanding needed to create programs like the Roommate Housing Program. This venture builds upon the charity's firm belief that every person, regardless of the challenges they face, should have access to the tools and support systems necessary for carving out their own distinct life paths.

A Visionary Approach to Autonomous Living

Roommate Housing Program is more than just a facility; it is a vision brought to life through meticulously considered matchmaking. Envision roommates chosen not at random, but paired based on shared interests, habits, and life goals. Envision smart technology not as an intrusive overseer, but as an empowering tool for safety and convenience. With the Easterseals blueprint, the future shines bright for those often overshadowed by conventional systems.

Cultivating Communities, Transforming Lives

Society is recognizing the indispensable need to weave the fabric of inclusive communities tighter than ever. Within such communities, everyone, from those with disabilities to the elderly, must find their rightful place. Easterseals Arkansas, through programs like the Roommate Housing Program, offers more than just a proof of concept. They offer a beacon of hope, a testament to what collective effort, innovation, and unwavering commitment to human dignity can achieve.

Overcoming Challenges with Smart Solutions

The tech-forward approach that Easterseals Arkansas employs is one that directly contests the trends amplified by worldwide healthcare pressures. By reducing staff dependency and increasing user autonomy, the Roommate Housing Program provides a blueprint for sustainable, scalable solutions capable of adapting to diverse needs and circumstances. It signals a leap forward in what can be accomplished when insightful design meets compassionate care.

CareSource PASSE: A Synergistic Partnership

The bonds forming between Easterseals Arkansas and organizations like CareSource PASSE illuminate the extraordinary possibilities that emerge from collaboration. Donohue's emphatic support underscores a mutual vision of community betterment where technology and health services form the pillars of a more inclusive society. This synergy paves a way for imaginative ventures that bridge gaps and transform lives through shared commitment and concrete action.

Towards a Brighter Future for All

The Roommate Housing Program doesn't just offer a new living option; it redefines what living independently means for the disabled community. By enabling stability and a sense of belonging, Easterseals Arkansas's initiative shines as an exemplary model for nations and organizations worldwide. It's a beacon leading the way to a reality where every person has the chance to live life on their own terms.

Building Sustainable Models for Independence

In the Roommate Housing Program, Easterseals Arkansas has not only envisioned but is actively constructing a framework for lasting independent living solutions. As we anticipate the program growing from strength to strength, it stands as a model to be emulated, scaled, and adapted to various settings and communities. Through such models, the futures of individuals with disabilities are being reimagined and redefined.

Fostering Connectivity and Community Support

Furthermore, the program's initiative in pairing individuals based on commonalities goes beyond providing a roof over one's head. It's about creating ties, forging friendships, and nurturing a supportive community network. The Roommate Housing Program advances the idea that shared living can lead to shared growth and personal development, bolstering both individual and collective resilience.

Transformative Impact of Assistive Technology

The program's deployment of assistive technology is not merely a matter of convenience; it’s about crafting empowering experiences for the residents. With technology as an enabler, the residents can navigate their daily routines with greater confidence and control. In doing so, Easterseals Arkansas underscores the transformative impact of technology as a cornerstone in reshaping how support is perceived and received.

Embracing a New Paradigm

The evolution of such social services marks a shift in perspectives regarding disability and independence. With forward-thinking organizations like Easterseals Arkansas at the helm, the new paradigm embraces the notion that independence and social inclusion are not mere aspirations but attainable realities.

Conclusion: A Legacy of Innovation and Inclusion

Easterseals Arkansas, by launching the Roommate Housing Program, proves once again that innovation coupled with compassionate action can pave the path for a more inclusive world. As this program takes root and flourishes, it will serve as a benchmark for transformative community-based supports. Easterseals Arkansas remains a torchbearer for progress, continuing its legacy of fostering environments where independence, respect, and inclusivity thrive for all.

To discover the values and services that make Easterseals Arkansas a cornerstone for disabilities empowerment or to delve into the innovative Roommate Housing Program, please visit

Similarly, to gain insight into the organization's comprehensive programs spanning developmental preschools, therapy, independent living, and transition services, explore