You’ve got questions about our Host Home Program. Here are the answers.
Q. What is a Mentor?
A. A Mentor is a person who makes a difference in the life of an individual by opening their heart and their home. Mentors participating in our innovative Host Home program share their home with an adult with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing them with the support they need to thrive. With the support of a specialized team of health and human services professionals, Mentors become trusted caregivers, friends and advocates for the individual with whom they live. This special relationship between the Mentor and the individual in their home is the foundation of our program's success. Our Mentors are our greatest resource and enable us to help individuals across the country live rich, meaningful lives in the communities they call home.
Q. What do Mentors do?
A. The services Mentors provide are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual who lives with them. The actual level of support, supervision and active assistance varies. During our comprehensive matching process the needs and preferences of both the Mentor and the individual are considered to ensure a successful match.
Q. Who can become a Mentor?
A. Mentors do not conform to any standard profile. They represent a wide range of backgrounds and skill levels. They may be stay-at-home moms, empty nesters looking for companionship and a way to give back, retirees looking for extra income, or social services professionals with experience caring for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Mentors may be married or single, men or women and represent a wide range of ethnicities and religions. One constant among our Mentors, however, is their commitment to care for and make a positive difference in someone's life.
Q. Do Mentors earn money for services provided in their home?
A. As a Mentor, you’ll have the opportunity to earn money at home by opening your heart and your home. The stipend varies based on the state and the needs of the individual you support. As part of our matching process, we will work with you to determine the level of needs you are best prepared to support.
Q. What do I have to do to be a Mentor and how long does it take?
A. The first step is to sign up to learn more information on this website. After you sign up, a representative from your local MENTOR office will contact you within 3 business days to share more information with you and answer any questions you may have.
While it varies from state to state, the entire process for preparing to welcome someone into your home generally takes eight to twelve weeks. During this time, our team of staff is there to support and guide you through the process.
Q. What kinds of care will I be responsible for?
A. In general, Mentors are responsible for basic home care and related responsibilities. This may include providing nutritious meals, transportation to appointments and recreational activities, ensuring access to community activities, and supervision based on the needs of the individual you are supporting. Mentors are also required to maintain records and documentation regarding the services and supports being provided. As part of the process for preparing to welcome an individual into your home, our staff will work with you to make sure you have all of the information and materials you need to be successful.
Q. What kinds of disabilities will the person I support have?
A. The people who receive services in a Mentor’s home have varying degrees of developmental disabilities such as intellectual disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy, or epilepsy. Some may be very independent and able to go out into the community on their own and even have a job, while others will need more intensive support. Our staff will make sure that you are matched with a person whose needs fit your lifestyle.
Q. How long does the matching process take?
A. Once you are ready to accept an individual into your home, the matching process may vary from a few weeks to several months. Proper matching takes time and is well worth the investment that it takes to make that “perfect match” between you and the individual you'll serve. As a result, many of our matches have yielded long-term, meaningful relationships.
Q. Would I be matched with a person of the same or opposite gender?
A. The matching process is designed to assure that you and the person who comes to live with you are comfortable so that you can live together as family would and develop a meaningful relationship. Ultimately, you will have the final say over who you choose to welcome into your home.
Q. Who do I call if I have an issue or need help?
A. At The MENTOR Network, you’re never alone. Ask any Mentor who they rely on most, and you’ll probably hear, “My coordinator!” Our coordinators and clinical staff are available 24/7 to ensure that you have the support you need—every step of the way.
Each home is assigned a coordinator who provides case management services. Our coordinators are human service professionals responsible for overseeing the day-to-day success of an individual's home. The coordinator ensures that the individual's needs are being met in the home and that their plan of care is being followed. They will visit the individual and the Mentor in the home regularly. There is also an after-hours coordinator on call 24/7 to respond to any urgent matters that arise outside of office hours.
Q. Will the person who lives with me need constant supervision?
A. While some of the individuals we serve do need constant supervision, others do not. Our team will ensure that you are matched with a person whose level of need fits best with your lifestyle.
Q. How long is the commitment to have the person live with me?
A. Our goal, through our comprehensive matching process, is to ensure that you and the person who comes to live with you know each other well and will be able to live together comfortably. Some of our most successful placements have lasted for decades, while others have lasted a few years and then either the Mentor or the individual’s needs change and the placement ends—though in many cases a life-long friendship endures.
Q. How many people can I (or my family) have living with me (us) at one time?
A. The number of people one Mentor can accommodate differs by state and based on the needs of the people involved. Generally, Mentors can serve one or two people at a time and each person must have his or her own bedroom.
Q. Would the person who lives with me have other family members involved in his or her life?
A. While many of the people we serve have family and friends who are actively involved in their lives, others may not. During the matching process, we’ll work with you to determine what level and style of family involvement will work best for you.
Q. Will friends and family of the person I support be able to “drop by” unannounced?
A. Just as your family and friends may surprise you with a visit from time to time, sometimes the family and friends of the person you support—or your coordinator, may stop by without calling first. However, if unplanned visits become an ongoing concern, our staff is there to support you to find a solution that works for everyone.
Q. Will I be able to take a vacation? What if I need to go out of town or have a family emergency?
A. We know that everyone needs a vacation from time-to-time and that sometimes life isn’t always predictable. Your coordinator will have a close relationship with your family so that your relief support needs can be anticipated and planned for whenever possible. Your coordinator may arrange for the individual to stay with another family for a short time, someone may come into your home to provide temporary support, or other arrangements can be made. In case of emergency or crisis situations, our staff will be there to make the necessary arrangements.
Q. What will the individual do during the day?
A. Most people who choose to live with a family will also have a job, work training or other activity during the day. However, employment or other day activities are not required and some people may wish to stay home during the day. Our team will work with you to be sure that the needs, preferences and choices of the individual who comes to live with you can be supported by the rhythm of your life.
Q. Can I work outside the home and still be a Mentor?
A. In some states, Mentors are required to have a job or other source of income (such as a pension or social security), while in other states the Mentor must be at home full-time. Fill out our form to find out more information about your specific state’s guidelines.
Q. What if the person who lives with me gets home earlier than I do?
A. During the matching process, the planning team takes into consideration daily schedules and routines of both the Mentor and the individual. Many primary Mentors benefit from having secondary Mentors who are certified to provide support and back-up when you have other commitments.
Q. Am I responsible for transportation?
A. Transportation to such things as doctors’ appointments, recreational outings or other social activities is the Mentor’s responsibility.
Q. What am I responsible for buying for this person?
A. Generally, a Mentor is responsible for providing nutritious meals and snacks, basic personal care and hygiene supplies such as shampoo, soap and toothpaste, clothing, as well as bedding and furnishings for the bedroom. Mentors are also responsible for providing transportation to and from appointments and activities, utilities and basic telephone and cable costs.
Q. Who manages the individual's money and personal property?
A. The MENTOR Network provides specific guidelines for the assisting with an individual's finances and personal property. Your coordinator will work with your family in setting up the appropriate financial procedures and accounts.