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'They Just Want To Have Someone Who Loves Them': Coloradans With Disabilities Wait For Residential Services, Host Homes Needed

DENVER (CBS4) – Thousands of Coloradans with disabilities are on a wait list for residential services. Advocates hope hundreds of individuals in need of personalized care will be placed in homes after an unexpected boost in state funding.

Lawmakers chose to put additional funding towards the waitlist and help some of the the state's most vulnerable residents. Advocates hope more providers will step up and fill the need.

"A lot of our people with disabilities have no family and no friends. They've maybe passed away years ago. The majority who I just know want to have someone who loves them, to be part of a family and be part of something bigger," said Jeanine Holt, Lead Program Manager at Laradon.

Laradon's Adult Host Home program provides residential living situations to adults. Independent Host Home providers contract Laradon to provide homes best suited to an individual's needs.

In these situations, Coloradans with disabilities live in a family setting, share household responsibilities and engage in community activities. Host Home Providers assist them with personal care, meals, finances and doctor's appointments.

Tom Stokes and wife have been caring for Danny Rose for 27 years.

Danny Rose
(credit: CBS)

Danny is nonverbal, but he doesn't need words for the Stokes to underhand him. They see him as part of their family.

"My wife has been working with Laradon since she was a teenager," said Stokes. "I was following my wife's lead. The transition was easy for us, and we wanted to keep doing it because we became a family."

The Stokes say Danny's nickname is "Hollywood" because of his love for television and movies. Tom says he's become more verbal in his time with the family, especially with his interactions with their nieces.

Danny Rose
(credit: CBS)

From Vegas to the Pacific, Danny's been along for the ride. The state pays for most of his care, but the stokes choose to pay for much on their own.
For Tom, his wife, and the girls who call him "Uncle Danny" – family is priceless.
"Like so many things in this world, you go into it thinking you're doing something for somebody, but you find out how much they do for you," said Tom Stokes.
In order to become a host home provider, applicants must be:

- Must be 18 years of age or older
- Able to pass criminal background check
- Have a valid email address, Internet and computer
- Have an available bedroom
- Not an employee of Laradon

Laradon is looking for providers in the Denver Metro area who have single story, wheelchair-accessible homes. Laradon is also looking for providers who don't have children in the home, have behavioral/mental health experience.

Required certifications:

- Qualified Medication Administration Personnel (QMAP) Certification
- First Aid
- Safety Care/Crisis Intervention
- Mistreatment, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation (MANE)
- Incident Reporting
- Defensive Driving

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