Who We Are
Providing stable and quality housing for people who have developmental disabilities
Black Mountain Assisted Family Living (BMAFL) was founded by parents of children with developmental disabilities. The board which directs BMAFL consists of parents and siblings of adults with developmental disabilities as well as community members. The Shared Living Providers, who live in the houses, are employed by Families First and Health Care and Rehabilitation Services, and are critical to the quality of life in the BMAFL houses.
The BMAFL board is motivated by a desire to ensure that people living with a developmental disability are productive and happy. This includes contributing to their neighborhood, participating in community events, and being as active and productive as they can be.
BMAFL was formed in 1998 by Joan Scherer, Mary Gyori, and Connie Woodberry, mothers of three young men who could not live independently. These three young men had a variety of challenges including tuberous sclerosis, blindness, deafness, obsessive-compulsive disorder, seizures, autism, cerebral palsy, and all had developmental disabilities. At the time all three young men were living outside Vermont in schools which could meet their needs.
In 1993 Vermont closed the institute which housed people living with developmental disabilities. The state then adopted a foster home model to house and support adults with developmental disabilities. This means people who are unable to live independently, or with their parents, reside in developmental homes, usually owned by a Home Provider or Shared Living Provider. When a Shared Living Provider is no longer able or willing to work, the person with the developmental disability must move to another developmental home.
Joan, Mary, and Connie knew transitions were extremely difficult for their sons and the process of moving from one developmental home to another would be very stressful and disruptive for their sons. The mothers felt that a stable, permanent home was essential to their children’s well-being.
The three sets of parents formed the non-profit organization, Black Mountain Assisted Family Living, and took their concerns to Montpelier, the Vermont state capital. In Montpelier, they received outstanding assistance from a number of key individuals. These included the Governor’s Chief of Staff Julie Peterson, Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, the Director of the Department of Education Mark Hull, Commissioner of the Agency of Human Services Con Hogan, and the Director of Upper Valley Services Bill Ashe. They listened to the parents’ concerns and coordinated efforts to bring the three young men back to Vermont.
The three young men were brought back to Vermont from their out-of-state educational placements and were settled with their Shared Living Providers into their two new Black Mountain Assisted Family Living homes on Upper Dummerston Road in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Since 1998 the two BMAFL homes have been renovated so that there are lovely and comfortable spaces now housing five people with developmental disabilities and their Shared Living Providers.