This grant was initially offered by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) and Ohio State’s Nisonger Center to help expand the use of remote supports in Ohio. Remote supports happen through two-way video chat with professionals at a centralized monitoring facility – this staff also has access to many technologies in the home that can keep a person with developmental disabilities safe and well cared for. In this way, remote supports help enable people to live more independently and relieve our current shortage of direct care workers. SOCOG decided to apply for the grant along with 5 participating counties (Fayette, Highland, Jackson, Pickaway and Ross) and submitted by the deadline of 8/1/2018. Unfortunately, SOCOG was not initially selected as a grant recipient.
Obtaining The Grant: Second Time's A Charm!
On 12/27/2018, we heard about additional funding that was made available by the Ohio DD Council that funded 5 more grants and this time we were on the list! This was not only exciting but also pressure packed because the grant period still ended on 6/30/2019 even though we were starting late. This meant we would have 6 months to complete our grant's activities instead of the 10 months we had originally planned! George Myers, IT Director at the Ross County Board of DD, was chosen as the Tech Expert for the grant. You can read more about the grant at Nisonger Center’s website: https://nisonger.osu.edu/nisonger-receives-funding-to-award-5-additional-20000-grants/.
Excerpt from our Award letter!
Finding The Trailer That Would Eventually Become The MSH
Our next big task was to try to locate an 8.5' x 24' trailer to serve as our Mobile Smart Home. We were keeping an eye out for a good deal and fully intended to buy an empty trailer and do the build out of the rooms ourselves – we had visions of coming to work with our tool belts on! After looking for a few weeks, Ross County Board of DD Superintendent Leia Snyder finally located what looked to be a great deal on 2/25. This trailer was finished already and had a kitchen with refrigerator, microwave and sink, a bathroom, a bed, a couch, a small table and TV. Not only was it finished, it looked really nice! SOCOG Director, Amy Cartwright, drove to Kentucky to purchase this trailer and we were official!
The trailer, inside and out, with George Myers and Leia Snyder
Meeting The Team
Our team of county contacts had a conference call on 2/1 and were later able to meet in person on 2/26 for about 2 hours to go over the grant and some of the basic training materials. Our team consists of:
Kelli Williamson, SSA Supervisor, Highland County Board of DD Renee Guess, SSA Supevisor, Fayette County Board of DD Jeremy Joyce, SSA, Pickaway County Board of DD Lana Matthews, SSA Supervisor, Jackson County Board of DD
We shared where each county is in our effort to educate about remote supports and to assist the right people in signing up to use them. There were good stories and some concerns as well, but it was great to note the common themes we shared. We were excited to be working with a group that was knowledgeable and smart and committed to our purpose! We got to attend an event together in Columbus on 3/21 called TechFest: Columbus where we met some remote support vendors and learned about some other technologies that help people with disabilities live more independently.
Kelli Williamson, Renee Guess & George Myers
Presenting To The Grant Leadership
George got the chance to visit a small group in Columbus on 3/1 consisting of some other recent grant recipients, DODD Director Jeff Davis, Nisonger Director Marc Tasse, Ohio DD Council Director, Carolyn Knight, DODD tech guru, Kyle Corbin and grant coordinator Jordan Wagner. It was exciting to learn what a leader Ohio is in remote supports and assistive technology and to see and hear enthusiasm for our project from these important people!
Visiting The SWOCOG Smart Home And Outfitting The Trailer
On 3/6, Jeremy and George got the chance to visit a newly constructed Smart Home in Lebanon, OH that is operated by SWOCOG and to meet Adam Shoemaker of Total Homecare Solutions, LLC - the company that provided some of the equipment displayed in the Smart Home. George was so impressed by Adam's understanding of the landscape of Remote Supports and his ability to answer questions honestly and simply, that he recommended that we use THS as our vendor for the Mobile smart Home. Luckily for us, Adam agreed in principle and then visited our trailer to assess it on 3/14. On 3/27, the trailer was picked up by THS staff and on 4/11, it was then returned to us as a completely outfitted Mobile Smart Home (MSH)!
SWOCOG Smart Home in Lebanon, OH
George Myers, Logan Stringer, (IT For Warren County), Chris Wilkins (Finance for SWOCOG), Adam Shoemaker, THS and Jeremy Joyce
Showcasing The MSH
During and immediately after the grant we took the MSH to the events listed below and demonstrated how remote supports work for hundreds of interested people!
Ross County Provider event - 4/16/2019
Ross County Chamber of Commerce Business after Business - 4/17/2019
Fayette County Health Fair - 4/27/2019
Highland County Family event - 4/29/2019
Pickaway County Run, Walk and Roll 5K - 5/11/2019
Brown County Provider event - 5/28/2019
SOCOG Board meeting - 6/5/2019
Ross County Family event - 6/25/2019
Jackson County Open House - 6/26/2019
Jackson County Advocacy meeting - 6/27/2019
Lawrence County Family event - 7/1/2019
Ross County Board of DD meeting - 7/11/2019
Southern Ohio Advocacy Group meeting - 7/16/2019
Pickaway County provider event - 7/24/2019
Gathering at the Grove (Deer Creek) - 8/15/2019
Clinton County event - 8/20/2019
Morgan County Fair - 9/5/2019
Pickaway County Family Event - 10/22/2019
Scioto County Fall-O-Ween - 10/24/2019
Regional Behavior Support Workshop - 2/27/2020
Fayette County Event
Highland County Event
Pickaway County Event
Brown County Event
UPGRADING THE MSH
After the grant finished, we decided the MSH could use some technology upgrades using grant funds that remained so we added a FireTV with a voice control remote, an Amazon Echo Spot and a Ring Doorbell camera.
The Mobile Smart Home returns after COVID!
We had just taken the MSH to a Regional Behavior Support Workshop on 2/27/2020 when COVID forced us to cancel the three events we had booked in April and May. Along with everything and everyone else, the MSH stayed put! After a two year hiatus and some necessary trailer repairs, the team from Total Homecare Solutions came out to add even more tech upgrades to the system such as an occupancy sensor, a new internal camera and upgraded tablet devices and we were once again ready to roll! We have already been to six locations since May of 2022 with more on the schedule this fall!