I/DD Topics & Trends with Ashley Kim Weiss
Ashley Kim Weiss, National Coordinator for Together for Choice – Obstacles in Accessing I/DD Housing & Services & Leading Advocacy
Can you tell us about your advocacy work at Together for Choice?
Ashley: So Together for Choice was actually organized by a group of concerned family advocates and service providers who believed that people with disabilities should have the right to choose where they live, work, and receive services that meet their needs and preferences. So back in early 2015, I started working on developing an affordable apartment community for people with developmental disabilities in San Diego. And when the word got out, some people started calling me asking for a list so that they can sign up right away for their children. And others called me to accuse me of building a modern day institution. So I got a lot of discouragements from people saying that people who live there will never be able to get funding, because what I was doing was not in compliance with what was called the home and community based services settings tool. So I did a lot of digging and due diligence. And basically, what the HCBS settings rule is, is a Medicare regulation that determines what settings qualify for Medicaid funding for home and community based services.
And at that time, CMS, which is a federal Medicaid agency, issued the set of regulations in 2014, along with a guidance that basically said examples of what settings may be isolating. And they use examples of gated communities, campus settings, farmsteads, and any settings that were designed specifically for people with disabilities to be isolating, and therefore may or may not qualify for Medicaid funding. So that’s what really launched our work as Together for Choice because, Misericordia, and a group of other quality providers brought many providers together, and we decided to really advocate for choice. So as a result of that, in 2019, CMS actually came up with a new guidance that completely replaced the old guidance in 2014, and removed all the disability specific language, and really focused on a person’s experience and outcome. And now our work is focusing on making sure that states are now implementing the new guidance and not following the old guidance, but the work continues. And so ultimately, our focus is really about making sure that individuals who want to live in certain types of settings that’s most appropriate for their needs, get to have that choice, and that choice needs to be funded.
I just read on your website that you had gotten a clarification letter from CMS. It’s quite significant. What basically did they say?
Ashley: So basically, what happened was in the state of Pennsylvania, which is actually a very restrictive state, they passed state regulations that prohibit funding in farmsteads, campus settings, or any other disability specific communities. And they also limit the number of partner pippins to receive services in one setting. And they blamed the settings rule. And they said that we have to do all these restrictions in order to continue receiving federal funding because the federal government regulation requires us to do this. So then a parent advocate reached out to her congressman in Pennsylvania, Brian Fitzpatrick, who then wrote a letter asking CMS to clarify the scope of the settings rule. And basically, CMS came back saying, No, the settings rule does not prohibit campus settings, farmsteads, or any other disability specific settings. And no, we do not have any cap on the number of people receiving services in those settings. And that the focus needs to be on a person’s experience and outcomes, which we’ve been arguing all along. But whenever we reached out to Pennsylvania and other states, they just kept holding on to the old 2014 guidance and refused to follow the new guidance in 2019.
Can we get a quick comment on this person centered planning? Because I understand that’s really part of this rule, and I think that’s significant for individuals with disabilities.
Ashley: Yeah, I mean, people talk about person centered planning, but oftentimes, the restrictions that they put in place, it’s really not for person centered. Like, for example, I keep hearing this from families saying, well, I talked to my provider and told them that the refrigerator needs to stay unlocked, because if we lock the refrigerator, then we can lose our license, that’s what the providers are telling their families. But if the family’s child has certain needs, where they need to be protected from access to the refrigerator, because they can’t control their diet, and they can just eat a chunk of cheese all night long, without really being able to control themselves, that’s actually a danger to themselves, right. And so it really has to be that the person’s needs have to be documented. And based on the needs, the access to services and restrictions, and all the modifications that need to be done, has to be honored. And there’s no one size that fits all, and basically what the settings rule is saying is that if anything needs to be modified, it has to be documented, and the choice that the individual makes has to be documented and be supported. And that is what we need to really focus on.
And I don’t know if you had a chance to read the New York Times over the weekend. But David Axelrod, an amazing political adviser to the Democratic Party, has written a personal story of his own daughter’s struggles when she grew up with epilepsy and she struggled to find her community, find happiness and joy and friendship while growing up. And she finally founded almost 20 years ago, at this place called Misericordia, which is in Chicago, Illinois, and at Misericordia, she found friends, she found purpose, she found joy and happiness. Which any family and any parent would want for their child. And what he’s arguing in his article is that there’s no one size that fits all and Misericordia is a high quality service provider community for his daughter, and people like her, and that choice should be protected.
Can you share your perspective on the challenges that families with loved ones face looking for care and housing?
Ashley: Well, there are many challenges, right? So the challenge is that by the time they realize that they need to start looking, it’s already too late. And this happens when their child is 21. All of a sudden, they’re out of the IDEA program, and they’re falling off the cliff. And all of a sudden they realize nothing much is available around them. And so the challenge is that we have very restricted funding available for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and our Medicaid system is just not perfect. So we have a lack of funding. Most of the providers like yourself and other quality providers, your reimbursement rate is much lower than the cost of actual operation. So not only do you have to provide services, but you also have to raise money to fill the budget gap. So one of the challenges is money. At the same time, there is a gap between what the families want, and what’s available in reality, and to kind of reconcile that is a big struggle. And that’s something that I’ve seen with a lot of families, especially families in California, and some big cities. They will say, “I want my child to be within 15 – 20 minutes of driving distance, and I want him or her to have this and that.” But the reality is that it’s not that easy. Most of the high quality intentional communities, or really high quality homes and services are completely full. And they do not have openings for a good number of people every year. It’s not like, it’s not like a school system. It’s not like you go to school and you eventually graduate from them. These adults go to the program, and they stay as long as they can. And that means that there’s not going to be any natural opening unless somebody passes away. So that’s a big challenge is that there’s growing demand, and a limited number of resources. And when families try to come together to create resources and create options, that’s when the regulatory side comes into play. And regional centers or regional center equivalent county authorities across the country or state authorities create a lot of obstacles.
So that’s when Together for Choice, and many of us come into play. Because we basically speak for the families, and we fight with the families; we do not do the job on their behalf, we actually work with everybody to fight for their rights. And that’s when we come in and say, if a family comes to me and says, “Hey, I just talked to the Regional Center, we wanted to have a house and have four of Johnny’s friends live there together. And the Regional Center says, ‘No, you can’t have more than three unrelated people living the same house without getting a license.'” Well, that’s not true. And we always say, Well, where is the regulation that shows that you can’t have more than three unrelated people living together without a license? And if they can’t come up with it, and if they blame the settings rule, which oftentimes they do, then we fight back and say there’s nothing in the settings rule that actually has any cap on the number of people that can live together. So when it comes to the technical analysis of the regulatory issues that always come up, when families try to create new options for their loved ones, we are here to help them.
What are some good examples of housing options and communities in California or across the country?
Ashley: Well, the best one I have to say is Misericordia. Sorry, I’m very biased. But Misericordia is based in Chicago. It’s a Catholic organization run by Sister of Mercy, she’s the Executive Director. She’s been serving for more than 50 years. They serve over 600 individuals living on campus and off campus in group homes. It’s a full continuum of care model, where you can live in a community, you can live on campus, but if your needs increase, then you can live in a care setting that has access to a higher level of care. But they also have an on campus bakery, recycling center, art center, horticulture, gardening, and all kinds of different programs that you can participate in. And they’re very well integrated into the greater community. Most of the people that I run into have heard of Misericordia, have seen people from Misericordia, and have gone to their fundraiser. And that’s what I really love about them is that they’re so tight. It’s a great community, families who have their child at Misericordia, it’s not that they say Misericordia is taking care of their child, they’re basically all raising their child together. So Misericordia is an amazing continuum of care model that we really would love to see across the country, but it’s very difficult to replicate a model like that.
But in California, there’s a community called Casa de Amma, but it’s really for individuals that are a little more independent. It’s a community for about 40 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, based out of San Juan Capistrano in California, and it’s in Orange County. They all have their own regular, independent apartment, with their own kitchen and bedroom and bathroom. 95% of them have a job out in the community earning minimum wage, and they have amazing community activities, jobs, volunteer work, and great learning courses. It’s such a great community where people can really come together when they want to be connected with others, but they can have their own lives by going into their own place. So it’s one of the best models I’ve seen in California, but we also have LSA homes. I’ve visited your group homes, they’re amazing, you provide amazing care to individuals with very high and complex medical needs. So I really admire that because we need more of those types of homes. And we have Cedars of Marin, which is in Marin County that has different types of group homes, as well as community homes that provide different levels of care, as well as quality of the program. So I would say that, you know, we do have a good number of homes, unfortunately, all of them are full and have a very long waitlist.
Can I just swing back and ask you a devil’s advocate question about Misericordia? In many ways it sounded like an institution. I used to hear people describe Agnews in a similar fashion, but it isn’t. What makes it not an institution?
Ashley: Okay, so the story of how Misericordia grew was that initially, it was for very young children with special needs, especially children that were born out of single mothers like unwed mothers. And at that time, when Sister Rosemary took over Misericordia, at that time in Chicago, you had to surrender the children by the time they reach the age of four or five or something like that, and they had to go into the state run institution. So when Sister Rosemary went to those institutions, and saw the condition of these institutions, she decided not to surrender those children. And she brought them back and she kept them at Misericordia. And the state people came in and looked around and realized the children that were at Misericordia were a lot older than the required age limit. And they told Sister Rosemary, I’ve noticed that there are children at certain age that shouldn’t be here, and they have to go to the institution. And Sister Rosemary said yes. And they say, Well, what are you going to do about it? And she said, What are you going to do about it? And they just went away because she didn’t want to give up those children into the hands of those state run institutions. And that’s why she built Misericordia from just a one building facility, to an amazing campus where at each stage in life they can be provided the best level of care possible. So to be honest with you, the word “institution” is not a bad word. It’s the state run institutions that made it a bad word. If it’s a good institution, we have no problems with it, because some people actually do require institutional level of care. Doesn’t mean that they’re bad. They just have to be good quality institutions.
What advice do you have for families as they start this process and journey?
Ashley: Start early. Don’t wait until your child is 21, because by that time it’s going to be too late. There are families that started looking for placement last year that are lucky enough to buy something next year, just because the communities that they have been looking at happened to build new homes. But not every family is lucky like that, especially families that have to rely on government funding. So start early, do your research, you can always call us at Together for Choice. We do not specialize in placement, but we don’t turn people away when they need help and guidance. It’s always good to talk to other families and find out more about what’s out there. But be more open minded about geographic preferences as well. Like don’t say, “Well, I don’t want my child to be out of state.” Well, you know what, maybe that might be a good thing. I’ve seen intentional communities where resident’s families retired and moved closer to them just so that they can be close to their their child and have problems because the child didn’t want to go back to see their parents on weekends, because they were too busy with their friends and their own life in the intentional community that they’ve lived in. So that should be the goal.
So I understand many families think that they want to be close to their child. That should not be the deal breaker. So start early, know your rights. Don’t ever take “no” for an answer. Because oftentimes, when regulators or case managers or coordinators tell you, “no, you can’t do it.” There’s always a way. I do believe that, because everything they have told me when I was building that 54 unit community, from all levels of DDS, and CMS, they all told me that I was fighting an uphill battle. Now, it’s open, and people are moving in.And I didn’t do anything, I didn’t change anything, and I didn’t change any law. It’s just that people’s choice matters. And ultimately, the law protects the person’s interest, not bureaucratic interest. So start early, start planning, do research, visit these types of communities across the country. If you come to Together for Choice’s website, we have community spotlight talks every month or so. We’re taking a break over the summer, but there are a lot of communities out there that are hosting webinars and conferences where you can access the recording and things like that to learn more about what’s out there. I think you have to really go and experience what’s out there and see the experiences of people that live there and participate in order to understand like, “Hey, I could see my child really enjoying this kind of life.” Until you see that, like you’re not gonna understand what’s really out there.
We’re using this I/DD term. And what does that stand for?
Ashley: Intellectual and developmental disabilities. Because some people may have intellectual disabilities, but they may not have developmental disabilities. And it all depends. And families have their own way of looking at things. So we would like to include them all.
Dana: I guess it kind of feeds back into your comment a couple of different times that one size doesn’t fit all. Well, this is a very diverse set of individuals, some with high needs and some with much lesser needs.
Ashley: Yeah, I mean, that’s the struggle right in the autism community, because the spectrum is so wide. You have people with autism that go to Caltech, and Stanford and Harvard Law School. And you have people still in their own diapers at the age of 40. Right? So we have to think about many different needs. I don’t have a child or family with special needs. I feel like sometimes I’m kind of like an observer from the outside. When you meet one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. Yeah and epilepsy and cerebral palsy. But even with cerebral palsy, I know somebody with cerebral palsy who’s not even ambulatory. And then I know of somebody with cerebral palsy who has gotten married and has children who has a full time job and lives a pretty good life, right? So there’s a pretty wide spectrum of needs that we have to recognize. One doesn’t cancel each other out. They’re not mutually exclusive. But we have to consider them all.
Is there something that you know those in our audience can do to support you and your work and the work of Together for Choice?
Ashley: Yeah, Together for Choice is a member organization where individuals who are not service providers are able to join us for free, we do not require any membership. The numbers speak volumes. So the more folks that join us, we can tell our legislators and policymakers that we are representing the interests of many different individuals across the country, not just a very few. So it’s important to join us officially as a member. And that way you can be educated. At the same time we work with you to advocate for your child’s needs. So join us, our website is togetherforchoice.org. But you can also reach out to me if you need some guidance in terms of looking for options for your child. And if you’re running into some problems, let’s say you know, some families are looking for placement in an emergency situation, or any of that. Or if you would like to build something, and you’re running into some challenges at the local, state, county, or federal level with funding. I’d be happy to just talk to you about that.
What is the name of the place you helped build that you mentioned at the end?
Ashley: Villa de Vida in San Diego. They just completed construction and everything. So I believe people are moving in this. I left the organization about four years ago, but it had some delays due to tax credit funding. So affordable housing is a whole different conversation. It has its pros, but it also has many, many challenges. And I would really advise a lot of people to avoid doing affordable housing, if possible, but I understand if you really want to do it, it all depends on what’s available in the area.
Dana: It’s been my experience as well, that it often comes with a lot of strings.
How can we defend against a state’s interpretation of the CMS settings rule?
Ashley: Actually, there are a couple of organizations that have overcome the interpretation, the bias against disability specific settings. So for example, Pathfinder Village, which is in upstate New York, has many years of struggles dealing with the interpretation. And they actually passed the heightened scrutiny last year. So they were able to demonstrate that their residents were more integrated into the greater community and more socially connected than the average residents of that neighborhood. So you can talk to the Pathfinder Village folks, but OPWDD, if you print out the letters that are that we have posted on our website, the CMS letters, if you go to our media page, our last post is the CMS letter that basically says that the settings rule does not prohibit funding in farmsteads, or any disability specific settings. So that is something that you can use. But if you have other specific challenges that you’re dealing with OPWDD, please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll be happy to address that issue with you.
I’m finding it difficult to find placement for those with challenging behaviors. Do you maybe have any advice for that?
Ashley: That’s something that keeps me up at night too, the challenging behavior. That is a huge problem. But there are a few places here and there that actually have been able to really address that issue. But it all depends on how old your child is, and where you are. Like what state are you in, if you’re in Ohio, Bittersweet Farms is a great community and address individuals with behavior. The Executive Director is an amazing person. There’s another farm that was started by a family whose daughter had challenging behavior called Safe Haven Farm. And that was also in Ohio. If your child is under 21, there are a lot of lot of good options out there, which is good, you know, in New England, and which Kansas has a school for individuals with very challenging behavior as well. So I mean, it all depends on where your child is right now. And how old that person is. Center for Discovery in New York is another amazing place. It’s really hard to get in. But at this time, the Center for Discovery is actually building a children’s specialized hospital to help children stabilize, so they would be able to safely transition to a common community based setting. So I’m counting every day waiting for that hospital to open and I’m sure it’s gonna be completely full within a few days of opening, because everyone’s waiting for it. But the Center for Discovery is an amazing place. If you are living in New York, if your child is under the age of 21, I would do whatever it takes to get my child into Center for Discovery because their adult program is very limited. But they have a very strong program for students. But they do so well with individuals with complex medical and behavioral challenges.
Are there any good housing facilities in Santa Clara County? And maybe you could name a few others?
Ashley: LSA is a great model. And I don’t know Santa Clara County with the boundaries as much, since I live in Los Angeles. To be honest with you, when families come to me, I always tell them to try to work with a provider to create options together. So I would, and one of the options I always throw out is, why don’t you call Dana, try to start a group home together. So that once you put in a little bit of capital, then the service will be left up to LSA to provide services and you guys would have a great partnership together. I mean it’s great, a lot of families get excited about building housing. But I’ve seen many housing communities build beautiful homes, and their programs suck so bad. And you don’t want that. I would rather have a modest looking home and an amazing quality program. So if I were you, and if there aren’t really good programs out there that you see, I would pick a provider that you trust, and say, hey, let’s try to figure out how can I work with you to build a home together and have the proper provision of services provided? I think the initial capital might be pretty high, but at the same time, when you think about the cost of programs and services for the rest of your life, or your child’s life, it’s well worth an investment.
Dana: Yeah, and I guess I would add to that that LSA is interested in being a resource to parents as they go through that journey. And it may or may not be the right place for a son or daughter, but we’ll help you with the process and work with you. As Ashley suggested, sometimes, the best way is to add capacity. Because once people find that great home, they really want it to be a home for life. And so that’s a viable option, although it’s not for everyone.
Ashley: I’ve been to many group homes where the homes looked amazing, that were completely destroyed, because their service sucked. And people regret so much that it didn’t matter how nice the house was. I mean, they were completely destroyed by the individuals living there because they were so bored and frustrated, living in that home. But you really want a quality provider that really cares about delivering quality programs, not just babysitting. That’s the thing, oftentimes I go into these homes, and their caregivers are on their phone, they’re talking to each other, they’re not engaged with the residents. And that’s not how you want to live, right? You want people to stay engaged and connected, and get excited about waking up each morning. If a provider can deliver that, that is the provider you should partner with.
Dana: Ashley is right. And as a parent, I’ve found that it’s pretty easy to observe. Looking at the facility is one thing, but looking at the staff and the residents and how they interact and what they do. Their home starts to tell you a story. I always recommend to parents if you can possibly do it, go out and see the homes and come when everybody’s home and actively involved. See the program as much as you can because it’ll start to understand exactly what the program is like and how it may or may not be a good fit for your son or daughter? Ashley is right. The services and program itself is what makes a difference. And that’s why sometimes, when we talk about affordable housing, yeah, maybe it needs to be affordable and particularly for that individual who’s fairly high functioning and somewhat independent. But if that’s not the case, then it’s all about the services and supports and how, how well thought out they are and how well integrated they are into the environment. And that’s what makes a difference.
Ashley: Yeah, when you visit these types of communities or homes, if the verbal residents can share their story with you, it makes a big difference because some of these residents in quality communities there would say, “Well, do you want to check out my room? Do you want to see what I’ve been working on? I have these many friends and I’m excited. I get to bake, I get to do this, I get to play, I get to dance, I go to parties, I go to Lakers games.” They tell you so much about their life. Individuals with developmental disabilities I feel like are very honest and open. So they tell me about their boyfriend problem, girlfriend problem, friendship problem and things like that. They live a normal, very fulfilling life. And you can really tell the difference when you actually visit these homes and see the lives of individuals that are living a full life versus some of the homes where they’re just sitting around watching TV and eating. That’s why they’re so focused on food, because that’s like the brightest thing in their life. They look forward to meals every day, because that’s the best part of their life. And that shouldn’t be the case. But some of these underfunded group homes, and underfunded homes or communities, that’s what you see. But one bright result of the pandemic is that many of these providers because they couldn’t accept visitors, they have created a lot of videos that you can check out online. Some of these several communities already had a lot of YouTube videos in the first place, but I was able to do a lot of virtual tours on some of these communities. So when you do your research, and when you’re looking up these communities, many of them actually have amazing videos, highlighting these types of places and their programs, so you’ll be able to access them pretty easily.
I noticed that you kept mentioning the age of 21. So why do you mention that age, rather than housing resources for younger folks?
Ashley: Well, many families rely on school district funding up until the age of 21. Right? So that’s why when that dries up, and when that is over, that’s when families ask, what’s next? Because people think that support and funding continue as they get older, and then they hit a reality at the age of 21 that basically everything.
Dana: So I’ll say from the standpoint of a parent, when my son, Brent, turned 21, school was done. He graduated, and then usually the first reality that sets in is the void of the day; instead of going off to school and being in a setting albeit in special-ed but in a normal setting, and having friends so that’s like the first sign that you’ve kind of dropped off the edge of the cliff. The housing piece is not so immediate because he’s living at home. But, you know, often the housing piece takes a lot longer to sort out. And so I think Ashley’s recommendation that you start early is a good one, but probably the first thing is what about what about the day? Are there post-secondary school options? Day programs available? Work related programs? But it doesn’t just happen at 21. It starts happening essentially, as soon as you get towards 18.
Are cameras allowed in the group homes for the parents to see their child and to check how they’re doing and if they’re safe?
Dana: I don’t know that there’s any rule one way or the other, but I will tell you that our philosophy is that it’s their home, and it’s a privacy issue. We’ve never had a live camera. We trust and respect our residents and our staff. And that’s just not the kind of thing we promote.
Ashley: I’ve advocated for cameras in a certain setting that I did not trust. So after a certain incident, I did recommend to the family that they demand a security camera, so it all depends, I wouldn’t rule it out. I do support that if it’s for people with significant disabilities that cannot really speak for themselves, especially women, I think are very vulnerable. So I do support it. There’s no one right, one answer. I think it all depends on the situation, but I do support it to protect the individuals that may be very vulnerable. If I had a daughter, I would demand that, you know, and, and boys too, they’re very vulnerable. So I support that option.
Do you have any specific suggestions for a nonverbal individual who’s 18 and in California?
Ashley: They can reach out to me, I’d be happy to talk to them more about that. But I mean, like I said, it all depends on where they are based, especially if you are trying to go through the Regional Center system. Because oftentimes, some of the homes that are funded by the Regional Center would not just accept people, they would want to go to Regional Center’s process. And so it all depends on what you are willing to do and the level of needs that your child has. It all depends. So it’s not something that I can just say, “send them here and there.” But it’s a good age to start looking. So happy to talk to them more and they can reach out to me.
I am curious to learn more about the development of property for housing facilities.
Ashley: Where? In California? Because that’s more expensive than other places and are you working with other families? What type? There’s a lot of things involved in that. Brookwood Community outside of Houston, Texas have been hosting summer series of webinars on how to start a community and how to build a program and how to develop and fundraise a residential program or work program and things like that. I highly recommend attending some of their webinars and they still have that ongoing and they have recorded all of their sessions. So if they are interested, I’d be happy to share those recorded videos and actually the Founder of Brookwood actually wrote a book, and she’s in her 90s already and her daughter was profoundly disabled after I think she had meningitis or something like that back in the 50s. And she has a very compelling story, which I loved. And if you send me your address, I’d be happy to send you the book.
Are there any projects that you or Together For Choice are working on right now?
Ashley: Yes, kind of. I am starting to talk to a couple of folks. There’s a housing developer that has been building more of an integrated community in Michigan that’s for sale. It’s a very interesting model, and I’m still learning more about that, but it’s like a for sale housing development community. And a number of units are set aside for individuals with special needs, and others are set aside for neurotypical families. And it will be an integration, but access to amazing neighborhood amenities and things like that. So they’re very much interested in working with families to build more of those types of communities. But these communities are like in really nice neighborhoods in Michigan, but they’re very much interested in working with other family groups in different states, including Oregon, Georgia, North Carolina, and all these other things. So they’re called Maple Leaf Communities. And there’s another community called Rochester Hills Community that they’re trying to build. So I’m starting to work with them to kind of maybe build a curriculum to help train families how to build communities like that. There’s another family that is interested in building something somewhere in Southern California, we’re still at the beginning stage of doing our due diligence, and trying to kind of figure out if it makes sense to build something like this, kind of replicating Brookwood, in Southern California.
So the pandemic kind of put a lot of things on hold. But I think it’s frustrating to see so many families struggling to find placement. So, for me as an Elevare person, I’m trying to help families build something in the advisory role. So I don’t know if I have the capacity to manage our project, but I’d be happy to advise them. You can hire the best architect, engineer, and designer and so that’s not a problem. You can work with service providers in the area that can deliver quality programs. So I want to fill in the gap where people need help with the regulatory side and compliance side. And then being the bad cop; I’m the one that will push back and punch back at the bureaucrats, so you don’t have to. So that’s my goal.
Dana: Yeah, they see Ashley coming to Sacramento, and they get a little nervous.
Ashley: I always tell people, you can hire great architects, which we did in San Diego, our architect was amazing. And our engineer was amazing. So I didn’t have to worry about developers, architects, or engineers, but when it comes to compliance and regulatory stuff, I was on top of that. So it’s teamwork. No, one person can have all the magic to build something. It does take a village.
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