Design Summary - an Overview

BUILDING OHANA was founded by individuals who are intimately familiar with the multiple, lifelong barriers affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, barriers often visible from one’s front porch.

Our mission is to identify these barriers, and address them within the context of home and neighborhood to build a diverse and inclusive, intergenerational community in Spokane, Washington-- one in which adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities will thrive alongside their neighbors. Ohana Village will be a small, mixed use, residential development (120-150 residents), designed to explore and demonstrate best practices in environmental, community and personal/social supports, including outreach programs of hospitality, service and enterprise designed to engage the wider community. Ohana will work to increase the social capital and care capacity of community, demonstrating:

  • The value of cooperative relationships within home and neighborhood--knowing one another, lending and receiving help when we are vulnerable, and working together for common good.

  • The impact of involved, intentional community on personal growth and wellbeing, and on how soon, how often and how much we need formal, paid services/supports throughout our lives.

  • The capacity of every person—young or old, and with or without disabilities—to more fully participate, contribute and lead the way in a thriving, inclusive community.


Ohana intends to model, share and accelerate the development of diverse and inclusive community living in our region. Along with direct benefits to our residents, our Ohana community will bring value to its surrounding neighborhoods through intentional initiatives of cooperation, hospitality, service and enterprise. As a community of practice we intend to form strong relationships with higher education, health and social service systems, and we expect to measure positive impacts on wellbeing and thresholds of need, particularly for people living with developmental disabilities.

As we continue our predevelopment work Ohana will offer hundreds of individuals, families, stakeholders, organizations, businesses and agencies the opportunity to actively engage with the social challenges we address, and to participate in the design and development of an innovative community project. Spokane needs a conversation about the issues giving rise to Ohana and projects like it across the country. Even before a village is built--Ohana can change things!