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Even the Pandemic Didn't Stop Toward Maximum Independence From Making Clients’ Dreams Come True

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

At 45 years old, Barbara had lived all of her life with her parents. She dreamed of having her own place, but always thought it was a dream that would never come true.

As a client with Toward Maximum Independence (TMI), a nonprofit serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, 10 years ago TMI Independent Living Case Manager Keltoum Cherki submitted Barbara’s name to the San Diego Housing Commission Section 8 wait list. Over the years, Keltoum would check the list in hopes of seeing that Barbara had been approved for housing.

Barbara struggled to belong living with her parents and trying to meet the same expectations as her sisters. She expressed her great sadness to Keltoum on many occasions.

Keltoum listened to Barbara's concerns.

“For the first time in my life, I was not able to say anything,” said Keltoum. “For the first time in my life, I was not able to find the words to say to my client to ease her pain.”

Keltoum once again checked Barbara’s status on the Section 8 wait list to no avail. She updated Barbara’s information online and asked Barbara to inform her if she hears from Section 8.

Two days later, Barbara called Keltoum to report that she had received a letter from Section 8 for an upcoming orientation. Both were overjoyed! Keltoum asked Barbara to request the day off from work and went with her to the orientation. Keltoum started looking for a one bedroom apartment close to Barbara’s work.

Keltoum assisted Barbara with completing her Section 8 file. Barbara was then on her way to a new life! Keltoum took Barbara to look at the apartments she had seen. Barbara chose the one she liked, signed the lease, submitted the deposit and moved into her new apartment in April.

On Barbara’s first day in her new apartment, she said to Keltoum, “I feel free. I feel equal to my sisters. I am happy.”

The pandemic didn’t stop Barbara and Keltoum from making Barbara’s dream come true! All of us at TMI are extremely happy for you, Barbara. Congratulations on your new home!

The TMI Independent Living program assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live as independently as possible at home with the necessary support. The program provides up to 80 hours a month of one-on-one support to adults with disabilities living in their own home.


Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


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