The MENTOR Network

Success Stories

A New Start for Michael

Michael is loving life in the community. Last September, he moved to a REM Iowa home. The transition was made possible with support from his family, REM Iowa, and Money Follows the Person (MFP)—a program that provides one year of financial support and case management to people wishing to move from congregate to community settings. Michael is thriving in his new home. And he’s keeping busy despite challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic.

“This move was very unique because it was all done over the internet. [The MFP coordinator], Mom, and I did virtual house tours. Once we decided on a place, MFP purchased furniture and home modifications such as a walk-in shower, shower chair, and grab bars to accommodate my physical disability,” said Michael.

The move has given Michael more opportunity to follow his passion for advocating for Iowa’s disability community. “Shortly after the move, I got a job at the University of Iowa as a community ambassador,” said Michael. “This allows me to share my story with providers, family members, and other people who might want to leave a facility.”

Michael is also excited to reconnect with his family and friends, following a long period of isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’m looking forward to getting together with my brother and nephews who I haven’t seen in over a year,” said Michael. “I don’t know if that would have been possible if I were still living at the [other] home.”

Michael has some great advice for anyone considering a move to the community. “Living in the community is great, but you definitely want to make sure you have support. If you don’t have someone like [my MFP coordinator], it will be important to have your family behind you.”

We can’t wait to see all that Michael will accomplish in this new chapter of his life!