OCONOMOWOC, Wis. — In our Two Americas series, we show you parts of southeast Wisconsin you may not see every day.
This includes the housing challenges adults living with intellectual or developmental disabilities are facing.
“Almost 40,000 young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the state of Wisconsin are looking for housing,” said Shelia Frisinger.
She is hoping to help build a safe and secure community for disabled adults.
We introduce you to a future owner of one unit, her son Matt.
Matt Frisinger has overcome so much in his 23 years. Despite living with cerebral palsy and a separate neurodevelopmental disability, he never has let it get in his way.
He takes pride in his work at the Wisconsin Athletic Club in Hartland.
His involvement in our community does not stop there. After work, he prepares for game night at Arrowhead High School, as the team’s basketball manager.
His mom is thankful this caring community has helped him stay engaged at the school, because most students with disabilities age out of school when they reach 21 years old.
“Everything stops,” said Shelia Frisinger. “In fact, it’s referred to ‘falling off the cliff,’ because all the supports at the school provided is gone.”
She and her friend Sue Marriott know not every adult in our community is getting the attention they need.
Frisinger says, “We embarked on a journey - hence the name Journey 21 - to discover what type of options we can find.”
They hope to turn this parcel of land in Oconomowoc into a lodge-style community for their children, which will include condos, cottages and an enrichment center the entire community can access.
“Can’t wait to get out of the house,” Matt said.
His mom adds, “He wants to live with his friends. He wants to have a certain level of independence - he wants to make his own decisions.”
It is a sense of security for Shelia to know her son will be safe. “That’s one of the biggest questions parents ask themselves: what will happen when I’m no longer here? Because these adults could possibly live there for 20 to 30 years,” said Shelia.
The cost of this facility may start at $18 million. The hope is that the difference it will make in the lives of young adults like Matt will be invaluable.
Click here to learn more about Journey 21.