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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What’s the difference between Noah’s Ark, Noah’s Nest, and Noah’s Landing?

A. Noah’s Ark is the not-for-profit, 501(C)(3) organization, established in 1997, who’s mission is to empower individuals who have developmental disabilities by advocating on their behalf and by providing or facilitating choices of meaningful employment, recreational and social opportunities and affordable housing in an inclusive community of their choice.

A1. The Noah’s Nest community is an intimate “in-town” initiative consisting of four residential homes that are surrounded by other residences in the greater community. It is conveniently located near Lake Morton and is within easy walking distance to the downtown area of Lakeland. Noah’s Nest can accommodate up to fourteen residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities that seek independent living with a close proximity to city amenities.

A2. The Villages at Noah’s Landing is an affordable and accessible residential community that provides adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities the opportunity to experience an independent-living lifestyle.

It is among the first of its kind in Central Florida and is designed to help residents flourish in their community through easy access to employment, health care, transportation, entertainment, shopping, banking, and support services.

Q. I have heard about similar communities in Florida, are they all the same?

A. No. Noah’s Ark pioneered the concept of planned residential communities in Florida. Each community is designed to focus on the unique needs of individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities.

The Villages at Noah’s Landing has conducted exhaustive research to determine those items that are most important to the residents and their families. As a result of this research, The Villages at Noah’s Landing committed significant resources focusing on recreation, social interactions, transportation, education, and employment.

Although each community has similarities, they each have different personalities and areas of focus…no two communities are exactly alike.

Q. Can someone with behavioral challenges live at The Villages at Noah’s Landing?

A. Due to the independent nature of the community, The Villages at Noah’s Landing is NOT an appropriate setting for individuals with behavioral challenges. Individuals requiring closer supervision should consider a group home as a more appropriate alternative residential option

Q. How does an interested individual learn more about The Villages at Noah’s Landing and apply to become a resident?

A. Recommending an applicant for residency is a multi-step process:

Step 1 – Discovering The Organization – Study the Noah’s Ark website for information about the organization, its mission, its culture, and the various communities (http://NoahsArkFlorida.Org).

Step 2 – Complete the Online Survey – Interested individuals are asked to complete and submit the online “Residential Interest Survey” (www.surveymonkey.com/s/NLInterest).

Step 3 – Email – Interested individuals send an email to: Tours@NoahsArkFlorida.Org to confirm an individual’s initial compatibility and to request a tour (if appropriate).

Step 4 – Take the Tour – Interested individuals and their families then tour the community to determine whether or not the community can reasonably accommodate the individual’s needs.

Step 5 – Complete an Application – Once the tour has been completed and the individual believes that the lifestyle being offered at The Villages at Noah’s Landing matches their needs, the interested party must complete the Housing Application Form* and mail it to Noah’s Ark, PO Box 92221, Lakeland, FL 33804-2221, along with a $35.00 application fee.

* Note: This is NOT an online fill-in-the-blanks form, it will have to be downloaded to be completed.

Step 6 – Scheduling the Interview – Once the application and the appropriate fee is received, copies will be distributed to the members of the Applicant Screening Committee (ASC) and a member of that committee will contact the applicant to schedule an interview.

Step 7 – The Interview – The interview is an informal, “get to know each other” process and typically lasts a little over an hour. The applicant and his (her) family are asked a series of questions that relates to their expectations and future involvement with the organization.

Additionally, the interview gives the applicant an opportunity to ask questions about the organization and how things work. If the applicant has not provided a current (within two years) psychological evaluation for the applicant, a new evaluation must be completed by an independent, third-party Psychologist and submitted to the ASC.

Step 8 – The ASC Recommendation – Once the interview is completed and all required documentation has been received, the members of the ASC will review what was discussed and they reach a consensus on whether, or not, they believe the applicant would be a reasonably “good fit” and benefit from the experience of independent living at The Villages at Noah’s Landing. Once that consensus is determined, the applicant will be notified of the ASC’s decision.

Q. Will The Villages at Noah’s Landing have handicap-accessible apartments?

A. Yes, all first floor apartments at The Villages at Noah’s Landing meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for accessibility. Additionally, the community center, recreational facilities and sidewalks connecting and surrounding the community. There are also units designed to serve those with vision or hearing impairments.

Q. How much will it cost to live at The Villages at Noah’s Landing or Noah’s Nest?

A1. The Villages at Noah’s Landing is a low-income tax credit community, as such, rents are set by federal standards and are adjusted annually and are based on a percentage of the Area Median Income for the county.

The rents vary based upon a person’s income and the type of home they choose. Generally speaking, the rents at The Villages at Noah’s Landing average around $425.00 per month for a shared apartment including utilities, some higher, some lower (i.e. one bedroom homes are around $600.00 per month subject to availability).

There is an additional $40.00/month optional charge for each resident who choose to receive the benefits and convenience of cable television in their bedroom and internet access.

It must be clear that the amounts stated above do not include any direct support services that may be necessary in order for the resident to live successfully in an independent living community.

A2A. The Noah’s Nest community is an intimate “in-town” initiative consisting of four residential homes that are surrounded by other residences in the greater community. It is conveniently located near Lake Morton and is within easy walking distance to the downtown area of Lakeland. Noah’s Nest can accommodate up to fourteen residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities that seek independent living with a close proximity to city amenities.

Rents for the Noah’s Nest community are based upon 35% of a resident’s income, plus around $100.00/month for electric, water, sewer, trash pickup, cable/internet/security system monitoring.

A $150.00 security deposit is required for each resident.

Q. Are there qualifications that residents must meet in order to live at The Villages at Noah’s Landing?

A. Yes, The Villages at Noah’s Landing is an affordable housing community, as such, there are income limits that cannot be exceeded (2018 limits are $22,500/per year) and rents (and any subsequent increases) are established by Federal standards.

Individuals must be able to independently identify and appropriately respond to emergencies such as fire and medical emergencies and must be able to do so without supervision or have appropriate levels of support services (i.e. Medicaid Waiver, CDC+, or Private Pay) to enable supported (if necessary) evacuation in case of an emergency.

Q. Does Noah’s Ark provide support services?

A. No, Noah’s Ark does NOT provide direct support services. Residents that require supports typically receive them through the Florida Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Program, Consumer Directed Care+ Program, or through a private pay arrangement.

Q. Does Noah’s Ark administer or monitor medications?

A. No, Noah’s Ark does NOT provide direct support services. Residents that require supports typically receive them through the Florida Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Program, Consumer Directed Care+ Program, or through a private pay arrangement.

Q. Can a resident receive support services from their current provider?

A. Yes, residents at The Villages at Noah’s Landing and the Noah’s Nest community can receive support services from the provider(s) of their choice.

Q. Will there be 24-hour supervision at The Villages at Noah’s Landing?

A. No, twenty-four (24) hour supervision is not provided to individuals who reside at The Villages at Noah’s Landing or Noah's Nest. Individuals requiring that level of supervision should consider a group home as a more appropriate alternative residential option.

However, a Resident Advisor (RA) is on duty at The Villages at Noah's Landing from the time the office closes until the next morning, plus weekends and holidays. The RA will respond to and assist with urgent and emergency situations.

Q. Will there be planned activities at The Villages at Noah’s Landing?

A. Yes, all residents will be able to participate in an array of self-supervised activities and to enjoy the on-site amenities. Activities include the use of the pool, the covered basketball court, the quite (TV) room, the game room, the multi-purpose room, and the screen enclosed patios. Amenities include the use of the bar-b-que grills, the gazebos, and the reflection area.

There is also an optional Lifestyle Enrichment Program in which the residents can choose to participate that offers access to the Noah’s Ark staff during normal business hours, participation in coordinated activities per the activity calendar, supervised special events, activities and trainings, participation in independent living skills classes, discounted prices on special events, when applicable, transportation to off-site activities and events, shopping shuttles, and medical appointments.

Q. What are the hours of the pool and will there be a life guard on duty?

A. The hours of the pool (during swimming season) are typically from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. As in most independent living community, there will not be a lifeguard on duty, it is the responsibility of the resident, their guardian, or caregiver(s) to provide any supervision necessary.

Q. Are there rules for appropriate behavior at the pool?

A. Yes, pool rules are posted at the entry gate to the pool and are standard rules prescribed by the laws of the State of Florida. Horseplay and disruptive behavior around the pool will not be tolerated in any form and may result in a suspension of pool privileges for the individuals involved.

Q. Who helps my child sign up for activities, meals, trips to mall, grocery shopping?

A. As an independent living community, the ultimate responsibility for signing up for and participating in these type of activities rests with the resident. Should the resident need additional assistance, the responsibility shifts to their caregiver (i.e. private pay, Medicaid Waiver, CDC+, or natural supports).

Q. Is my child required to sign up in order to participate in activities and special events at Noah’s Landing?

A. Yes, many times there are logistical issues to running an activity. The activity leader needs to potentially plan for materials, food and beverages, and transportation. Having an accurate head count helps facilitate a smooth activity or event.

Q. Are residents penalized if they do not attend once signed up?

A. There currently is no penalty for residents that do not show up for an activity or special event other than a transportation “no show” policy.

When an individual signs up for transportation and does not show up it potentially prevents another resident in participating. Generally speaking, there is a progressive penalty for transportation “no shows” that ranges from written warnings (the first three offences) to suspension of transportation privileges for additional no shows.

Q. Is there a waiting list for residents?

A. Typically, demand for affordable and accessible apartments is high and the length of time from application to move-in can vary greatly. As with any apartment community, it’s common for there to be some turnover as a resident’s annual leases expire.

Q. Are the communities handicap-accessible?

A1. At Noah’s Landing, every first-floor unit meets the Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA) standards for accessibility, as well as the community center, recreational facilities and sidewalks connecting and surrounding the community. The community has been constructed to allow all adults with disabilities to reside safely in an apartment without supervision and enable safe and independent evacuation in case of emergency.

A2. The Noah’s Nest, homes are designed to be handicapped-friendly (with the exception of our two story apartment).

Q. Are utilities included in the rent?

A1. At The Villages at Noah’s Landing, electricity, water, sewer, trash pickup, are included in the rent. There is a modest charge for internet access and cable TV services in the bedroom.

A2. At Noah’s Nest, the electricity. Water, sewer, trash pickup, internet service, and security system monitoring are in addition to the rent and typically runs around $100.00.

Q. Are there any additional costs?

A1. Yes, at The Villages at Noah’s Landing, an optional Lifestyle Enrichment program is available that allows access to coordinated activities, supervised special events, activities and training, transportation to Noah’s Ark off-site activities and events, shopping shuttle, medical appointments within a six and a half (6 ½) mile radius – cost is currently $235 per month. A resident may choose to enjoy the convenience of cable TV in their bedroom and internet access for an additional $40.00/month.

A2. An optional Lifestyle Enrichment “Lite” program is also available to residents that live in other properties owned by Noah’s Ark at a cost of $135.00/month.

Q. Can residents have visitors?

A. Yes, all properties owned by Noah’s Ark are shared independent living homes. Residents may have visitors if they choose but are asked to be considerate of their roommates. There are some modest limitations on the length of stay in the lease agreement.

Q. Does staff check on a resident?

A. No, all Noah’s Ark properties are independent living communities. Responsibility for a resident’s day-to-day oversight rests solely with their support staff (if applicable) or families. Many times reciprocal arrangements are made between roommate’s families that facilitates wellness checks or trips to the grocery stores, etc.

Q. Is there transportation available?

A. Yes, we are very fortunate to have a public bus stop at our front entrance (the busiest stop on the route) for little or no cost. For residents that may need door-to-door service, the Citrus Connection’s PT Connect is also available to residents who qualify. Uber, Lyft, and taxi cabs are also available.

Additionally, for residents who choose to participate in the Lifestyle Enrichment Program, private, in-house van transportation is available to a number of offsite activities sponsored or hosted by Noah’s Ark (subject to availability of equipment and drivers).

Q. Do any residents drive their own car?

A. Yes, a small number of our residents have their own car.

Q. How are the chores in each apartment handled?

A. It is the responsibility of the residents within each apartment to determine how chores (cleaning communal areas, trash removal, etc.) are to be shared. Frequently, the families gather and assist the roommates in completing a written “roommate agreement” that specifies what each of the roommates are to do and when. This agreement is between the roommates and is not something that property management can or will enforce.

Residents are responsible for the upkeep of their bedroom and bathroom, their laundry, and monitoring their refrigerated food’s expiration dates.

Q. Are meals provided?

A. Optional evening meals are available at The Villages at Noah’s Landing on Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). The normal cost for a dinner is $9.00 including a drink. Residents who choose to participate in the Lifestyle Enrichment Program are able to enjoy an evening meal at a discounted price of just $7.50. Meal service in not available in the Noah’s Nest community.

All Noah’s Ark homes are equipped with full kitchens so residents have the option to prepare their meals in their own home.

Q. Is there a written lease and, if so, is it automatically renewed?

A. Yes, there is a written one-year lease and a new lease must be written for renewal each year.

Q. Who provides my child with day-to-day supports?

A. The resident must be independent enough to be self-supervised or the guardian, family, friends, caregivers must provide any supports that are needed.

Q. Who helps my child clean their apartment and prepare meals?

A. It is expected that the resident be able to keep their apartment in a neat and sanitary condition and to be able to prepare their own meals. Should a resident need assistance in these areas, it is the guardian or caregiver’s responsibility to teach the resident the necessary skills or to prepare them for the resident.

Q. Who helps my child transition into independent living?

A. The resident must be independent enough or the guardian, family, friends, caregivers must provide the appropriate levels of support needed for the resident to be successful. It may be helpful for prospective residents to purchase a “Preparing Your Child for Independent Living” flip book (from Noah’s Ark) and begin working with them to elevate their independent living skills.

Get involved. Depending on whether your child has lived away from home previously or if this is their first opportunity to experience independent living, you should plan to visit your child regularly to assist with their transition. Help them integrate with their roommates, teach them how to handle their share of chores, teach them how to prepare a basic meal.

Our experience has shown that a resident’s success is directly related to the amount of time and intensity of the support their family initially provides. This is very important.

Q. Who takes my child to their doctor, dentist appointments?

A1. Transportation to medical appointments is the responsibility of the resident, their guardian, their family, their friends, and or their caregivers.

A2. Noah’s Landing residents that participate in the Lifestyle Enrichment Program may choose to use some of their allowable “trips” to go to medical appointments. Some restrictions apply such as advanced reservations, distance, and available equipment (see the front desk).

Your child must be able to see their physician independently or be accompanied by their service provider.

Q. Can we live at The Villages at Noah’s Landing along with our loved one?

A. No. The philosophy behind the Noah’s Ark communities is for parents to “let go” of their loved ones while being readily available to help them establish their new circle of friends and supports. Also to allow them to make independent decisions (even poor ones) but to be there as a safety-net to allow for a soft landing when things don’t go well.

Q. Can a resident decorate their bedroom?

A. Yes, residents are free to decorate their own bedroom and private bath as they please. However, should a resident choose to repaint their bedroom walls, they must return the walls to their original color and leave the room in “rentable” condition should they decide to move out. There may also be an additional security deposit required (it would be wise to check with the property management before changing anything).

Q. Do the apartments come furnished?

A. Yes, and no. One bedroom apartments do not come with ANY furnishings. It is the resident’s responsibility to provide all furniture, small appliances, dishes, silverware, etc.

Multi-bedroom apartments do come partially furnished. Typically, the common or shared areas of the apartment are furnished with a couch, chair or love seat, coffee table, lamp, end table, dining table and chairs, and a television. The kitchens in multi-bedroom apartments typically come with dishes, silverware, pots and pans, and some small appliances (i.e. a toaster).

Q. I understand that Phase 2 of Noah’s Landing is being designed for individuals with higher levels of need. Is that accurate and when will it be built?

A. There has been much speculation as to how the next stage of development should be designed and built at The Villages at Noah’s Landing. There has been a very steep learning curve since opening in mid-2016, and much has been learned. We anticipate that the Noah’s Ark Board of Directors will be conducting a series of strategic planning sessions in the near future to begin to address the question of “What’s next?”.

One burning question that still remains unresolved is “What happens when a resident’s needs change and they need additional supports?”.

It should be noted that bringing a successful community out of the ground from concept to actualization takes several years.

Extremely Low Income (ELI) Waitlist FAQs

Q. How Many ELI units are at the Villages at Noah’s Landing?

A. The Villages at Noah’s Landing shall retain 32 individual units with the Extremely Low Income (ELI) designation. Effective September 5, 2019, the distribution of any ELI unit that may become available due to tenant vacancy shall be distributed on a 1 to 1 ratio. For example, the next unit to become available will first be offered to existing residents on the wait list. The next unit to become available after that will be offered to a new incoming resident who financially qualifies for the unit.

Q. How frequently will ELI units be distributed?

A. It is impossible to know how many ELI units will become available each year as we cannot predict when residents may decide to move out. Once a resident with an ELI unit gives the property management company, Royal American Management (RAM) their 30 days notice to vacate, the process for selecting a resident off the waiting list or from the incoming tenants list will begin.

Q. If an ELI unit becomes available at a time when no new applicants are coming through the process, will the ELI unit be offered to someone on the waiting list?

A. ELI units must remain available to the public. However, if no eligible candidates are in the application/selection process at the time that an ELI unit becomes available, it will be offered to the next eligible resident on the waiting list. ELI units must always remain occupied so that the property may stay in compliance with tax credit funding regulations.

Q. Do I have to request to be on the ELI waiting list?

A. No, all existing residents of the Villages at Noah’s Landing who do not currently occupy an ELI unit will automatically be placed on the waiting list.

Q. Can I opt out of being on the ELI waiting list?

A. Yes, you may request at any time to be removed from the ELI waiting list by sending an email to info@noahsarkflorida.org.

Q. How will the waiting list be sorted?

A. The list will first be sorted by the resident’s date of initial move in. The second sort criteria will be the resident’s last certified annual income. Please note, if selected, you will be required to recertify your resident’s income to be approved for the ELI unit.

Q. How often will the waiting list be updated?

A. When an ELI unit becomes available, the most recent month’s program report will be used to sort the list of currently eligible residents.

Q. Will I be given my number on the waiting list?

A. No, your placement on the waiting list will not be given as it could be subject to change from one month to another based on the eligibility of the other residents on the list.

Q. If selected for an ELI unit, will I have to re-certify my income to qualify for the unit?

A. Yes, if selected, you will be required to recertify your resident’s income to be approved for the ELI unit.

Q. If selected for an ELI unit, do I have to move?

A. No, if you are selected for an ELI unit you do not have to move, the rent in your current unit will be adjusted to reflect the ELI rate. Should the unit that becomes available is a good fit for you, you will have the option to move if you would like.

Q. If selected and I want to transfer to the unit that becomes available with the ELI designation, will I have the option to move?

A. Yes, if you would like to move to the unit that has become available with the ELI designation you may do so. Please note, if the unit that becomes available is on the first floor and/or an ADA unit and it has been requested by another resident needing a reasonable accommodation for medical reasons, the unit will be offered to the resident on the transfer list at its regular rate and you will be offered the ELI pricing for your current unit.

Q. If I transfer units on the property, does my ELI rental rate transfer with me?

A. Yes, if you move from one unit to another at the Villages at Noah’s Landing, your ELI designation will remain with you.

Q. Does the floorplan of my current unit have any bearing on my selection for an ELI?

A. No, the floor plan does not matter.

Q. If selected for an ELI unit, may I decline? If so, do I remain on the waiting list?

A. Yes, you may decline the offer of an ELI unit. If declined, you will then go to the bottom of the waiting list.

Q. How can I determine if my income is below the ELI threshold limit?

A. Each year the agency for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) publishes the income limits for affordable housing across the nation. You may determine your eligibility by visiting www.hud.gov at any time.

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