A New Independent Living Project

I still remember my first apartment as an adult, a one bedroom unit on Cherry Street in Somerville, Massachusetts (before Somerville was cool). My father and brother-in-law helped me to move in the summer after college. I had a mattress on the floor, some old flatware and dishes from my family, and a new job about two miles away by bus. I loved it, and I learned a lot in a short period of time—how to stay safe, how to do laundry without an onsite washer and dryer, how to shop for groceries and stay within a budget, and how to communicate with the landlord effectively when things broke.

Living outside of a family’s home is a clear assertion of independence, and a valuable step towards autonomy for all of us. It is also a daunting task, as it can be expensive, require a lot of executive functioning skills (i.e., staying organized and timely), as well as flexibility and problem-solving skills. (I remember the time when I lost my keys and couldn’t get into my own apartment for several hours; that experience demanded some patience and creativity.)

I am excited to announce that TCP is partnering with SPECS Development LLC, a small company dedicated to providing long-term housing opportunities for adults on the autism spectrum. SPECS has acquired two townhomes that will become the residences for up to five autistic adults. These newly built structures are in the neighborhoods of Edgewood (near Candler Park) and East Atlanta, and they are beautiful.

SPECS has secured funding to provide these residences to the tenants at an extremely affordable rate. Even more exciting, this affordable rate also includes a significant amount of support for residents provided by TCP, including support in the townhomes themselves and services at TCP’s location with our community. With staff living nearby, the residences will have added security and a high degree of confidence that this experience will be safe and successful for the people who live there.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact Harrison Gross with SPECS Development LLC at Harrison.gross@gmail.com, or 404-392-2910.

TCP has created a new team to focus on this project, including Melissa Burton–a brilliant teacher and curriculum designer, as well as a creative thinker and an excellent planner–in the role of Transition Director. Melissa and her team will work closely with Beth Champ, TCP’s Executive Clinical Director, to ensure this project is a success and a model for excellence.

I will always have fond memories of my apartment in Somerville; I even took the time to drive out of my way down Cherry Street a couple of years ago to see what it looked like. From the outside it looked remarkably the same, though there are now so many trendy eateries nearby and a different, fancier feel to the neighborhood. I was immediately transported back in my mind to that time of life. I am hopeful that this new project will enable us to provide the residents some of those same experiences, creating a solid foundation for ever-increasing independence.


Dave Nelson
Executive Administrative Director
December, 2021

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