Mainstream Living

Organization History

Mainstream Living was founded in 1975 by a group of parents who wanted community living options for their children with intellectual disabilities. At that time, if a family could no longer maintain their child at home, the only choice was to place the child in a state institution or large Intermediate Care Facility elsewhere in the state. Below is a brief timeline of our organization:

1975

Mainstream Living Inc. is incorporated on July 1. Developmental Center is started. Paulette Simmons is hired as Executive Director.

1976

Mainstream Living opens its first home, serving six children with intellectual disabilities in Story County.

1977

The Story County Developmental Center and Mainstream form a partnership with common Board of Directors and Executive Director. Reno Berg is hired as Executive Director. The first adult home opens, serving seven people with intellectual disabilities. The first adult home (RCF-MR) opens for seven people with intellectual disabilities.

1979

The organization expands to Des Moines, opening a home serving six children on Kingman Blvd. A second children's home opens in 1984.

1980

The Supervised Living Apartment (SLA) program, Mainstream's first mental health program, opens in Des Moines. Initially serving 24 adults, this program eventually expands to 94 persons in 1988.

1984

In addition to the Ames office, a corporate office in Des Moines opens due to an increase in the number of persons served in Polk County.

1988

A Residential Care Facility for Persons with Mental Illness (RCF-PMI) opens in Des Moines.

1989

Mainstream purchased the first fleet of 12 passenger vans for group homes. First CARF accreditation, with Mainstream being awarded 3 year accreditations every year since, which is the highest level of accreditation possible.

1990

Mainstream worked closely with Polk County Health services and their initiative to move a number of people directly out of Woodward State Hospital School and return to their community in more normalized and home-like settings.

The first 5 person Residential Care Facility for persons with mental retardation (RCF-MR) under the MR Waiver rules, opened in Urbandale on 4/16/90, followed by 2 more homes in western suburbs.

A Residential Care Facility for persons with mental retardation (RCF-MR) open in Dallas County.

1991

Three RCF's-MR homes open in Ankeny. One home was remodeled to meet accessibility needs.

1992

Three five-person RCF's-MR open in Des Moines area, two were remodeled to meet accessibility needs. 

1993

The Home- and Community-Based Services are started in Polk county in October, expand to Story county later that year. First persons with intellectual disabilites served through HCBS services in Polk County. Five HCBS homes opened, moving a number of people directlynout of Woodward State Hospital School.

Des Moines office flooded with over four feet of water from the Des Moines River pouring through the office. Many homes were without water and accessible drinking water for weeks.

1995

The RCF-PMI closes in Des Moines, with members transferred to the SLA's and new Supported Community Living (SCL) program.

1996

Mainstream completes the conversion of all RCF's-MR to HCBS homes; end of group homes.

1997

Mainstream partners with Progress Industries, the RAINBOW Center, and the Homestead to establish Community Support Advocates (CSA), a pilot program of new funding methods in Polk County.

1998

Story County Development Center and Mainstream Living merge

  • The last children's group home closes.
  • Community Support Advocates opens Medicaid Case Management Unit

2001

A new 8-person RCF-PMI opens in Des Moines, which has expanded to current capacity of 11 members.

2003

Mainstream adds a Payee Departments and member financial services are developed and records are computerized and networked.

2004

The first Warren County HCBS sites open.

2005

Mainstream Education and Learning Center (MELC) opens, with first vocational programs in Polk County. Mainstream Education and Learning Center hires its first job developers and job coaches.

2006

Mainstream starts �Workstream�, a for-profit company affiliated with a national call center program, to provide training and competitive employment in the call center industry.

2007

Aspen, a new home opens in Ames for adults with high medical needs. It is the first of its kind in the State of Iowa.

2008

The Transition Age Youth (TAY) Program begins in Des Moines at the SLA's and later on reside in residential homes for 3-5 persons. 

2010

Baker, a second home for adults with high medical needs is opened in Des Moines. Onyx house opens in Ames to serve mixed medically fragile and non-medically fragile in a small setting.

2011

Mainstream starts a sensory focused day habilitation program in Ames, focused on the principles of Snozelen.

 
2013

Reno Berg retires as President/CEO of Mainstream Living, Inc. Mainstream starts a member-driven day habilitation program in Ames - ACE (Advocacy, Connection, and Empowerment).

  • Board of Directors names Bill Vaughn as President/CEO of Mainstream Living, Inc.

2014

The third medically fragile home (Knapp House) opens in West Des Moines. Counseling and Therapy Services begin. 

2015

Substance Abuse Treatment Services and Assessments start in Des Moines.

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