AKIM Israel firmly believes that every person with intellectual disability has a basic right to live within the community, in a housing structure that suits his various and changing needs over the years. As such we strongly advocate for community living in Israel and, indeed, considered pioneering in the field.
Until the 1970s, adults with intellectual disabilities who weren’t able to remain with their families were housed in institutions segregated from cities centers. In recent years, we changed this approach, among others thanks to AKIM’s advocacy work. In 1975, we established the first group home within the community in northern Tel Aviv.
Living In The Community
Over 512 people reside in AKIM’s apartments and group homes from Safed in the north to Eilat in the south. AKIM is continually increasing the numbers of independent apartments in the community. Currently we operate 47 apartments; each is a home of up to six people with intellectual disabilities who receive support and guidance. Driven by the belief that every person with intellectual disabilities has a right to live full and meaningful life, AKIM Israel believes that living in the community will maximize every person’s right for privacy, therefore aiming that each person has her/his own room. Overall 220 people reside in independent apartments in the community, among them 16 children who live in two children’s apartments.
Apartments are either purchased or rented by AKIM Israel. In many cases, they are being renovated to make the necessary adaptations to the needs of the residents. AKIM is working closely with professional contractors to guarantee high standard of building and to ensure that the apartment is a place that the residents can call home. AKIM is also using the services of an interior designer to beautifully decorate the different rooms. Particular attention is given to making the apartments more physically and cognitively accessible to its residents.
In addition, AKIM operates 12 group homes located within neighborhoods, thus being an integral part of the community. Five of the group homes are dedicated to the elderly population. The elderly with intellectual disability is a population that requires distinctive attention to its unique needs. A special emphasis is put on creating communal spaces for the residents to socialize.
The state of Israel- not AKIM- operates closed institutions. In 2015, the State of Israel announced the transition of 900 people from the segregated institutions to community living. AKIM, as the largest advocacy organization of people with intellectual disabilities and their families was an instrumental partner in this process and actively promoted the endeavor. Through intensive work with the people themselves and their families AKIM emotionally and practically supported this challenging transition and the successful integration of the people in the community. The transition process from one setting to the other was carried out in full collaboration with the person and with attention to his/her wishes and requests.