About Avenues SLS
What is Avenues Supported Living Services?
Avenues SLS is a private, nonprofit Corporation founded in 1997 by Scott and Lori Shepard and a Board of Directors made up of persons who rely on services, family members and advocates with the mission of providing support services to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to live, work and recreate in their own communities.
Avenues SLS assists people in the North LA County area to coordinate the support they need to live safely in their own homes, access and develop connections within their community, and choose the people and places they spend their time with and about.
History / Philosophy
How Avenues SLS came to be:
Avenues: Navigating the Spectrum of Relationships, Rights and Responsibilities, Inc. was originally a part of, and mentored by Joe and Becky Donofrio of CHOICESS, from 1993 through June of 1997. CHOICESS was one of the initial agencies providing “Supported Living” services in the state of California (which CHOICESS has been doing since 1988). Avenues continues to rely on CHOICESS as a valued resource. We were one of the original vendors of California’s CSLA pilot program (California Supported Living Arrangements) in 1993 through North LA County Regional Center.
Our vision is not to be the biggest agency, but to be valued as an agency that provides the best possible services to meet the unique needs of each of the people we support. After looking at other agencies across the US and Canada, Scott and Lori determined that a goal for supporting 20 people in SLS was sustainable, in that they would be able to continue to spend some quality time with each of the people supported and develop the staff and family infrastructure needed to build and maintain healthy support relationships. By focusing on one person at a time, it took Avenues SLS 10 years to reach its goal of supporting 20 people. Avenues SLS continues to maintain this vision of support, and has a waiting list for services.
Since 2003, Avenues SLS has mentored colleagues to start their own agencies (2) and assisted one additional person to become self-vendored. This work has assisted several individuals to move from institutional settings to their own homes in the community, which has been a richly rewarding process. Avenues SLS and the people we support have made over 100 presentations at state and national conferences, webinars, and University level courses on topics related to: Supported Living Services, providing meaningful days, positive behavior supports (behavior and communication), alternatives to chemical restraints (overmedicating), aging with dignity, how to advocate to get the life I want.