Numbers are what is going to make this all happen. You can draw pictures and talk up a storm and imagine and research and take meetings, but where it gets really real is staring at the column of figures running down to that bottom line. All the statistics and head counts and years don’t mean jack in the end because “numbers” means money.
Plain and Simple.
You need money to make anything happen. Money makes the world go round. Numbers point you straight toward the truth, and the truth is that the numbers say nobody trying to do what we’re trying to do has enough money.
I’ve spent the past two weeks getting some preliminary numbers together. I had a meeting with a company that runs group homes. They were a wealth (pardon the pun) of information. I learned that they will provide the staff, the training and handle just about everything related to that for you. That led to my first concrete number regarding the cost of staffing a group home. I am hoping it was wrong. I’m sure it’s not. Are you ready?
It will cost over $200K just to staff the home for 5 people. Per year.
That’s the first aggregate number in the Expense column.
Additional costs will include:
1. The purchase of a house (either downpayment and mortgage, or full purchase price)
2. Renovations to bring the house up to code
3. Refitting to create an autism appropriate and friendly environment
4. Insurance, all kinds
8. Security System
None of this includes daily living expenses such as clothing, food, medical care, transportation, and entertainment.
The preliminary expense column is now at more than $300K not including initial startup costs for the foundation (so we can do several houses) and the mortgage. Divide that by 5 residents and it’s at a minimum of $60K per year.
Meanwhile, over in the income column…an adult with autism will get just over $700 a month in SSI benefits. Even if you flunked math on your way to the top, you’ll sense that this just doesn’t add up.
All of this calculating will eventually be going into a business plan. A business plan with a big hole in the middle at the moment.
The only way to make this work is to raise the money. Every single year. Now…how to raise that kind of money???
I have a few ideas but I’m open to suggestions.