For Sarit, who was born with severe disabilities, and five other young women with similar special needs who share a SHEKEL '...Living in the Community' housing unit, the newly renovated Jerusalem apartment they just moved to has brought new levels of benefit and optimism to their lives. Carefully designed to fit their special needs, it allows for maximum ease and comfort in a beautiful cozy home setting. Located in a typical apartment bloc, in a residential neighborhood of Jerusalem, the apartment allows these young women to enjoy a true home environment, while providing the key to their contact with mainstream Israeli society.
The broad glowing smiles, self-expression, and expressions of delight, radiated by Sarit and her long-time friends and flat-mates, at their recent housewarming party, were evidence enough to confirm SHEKEL's conviction that people with severe disabilities require an authentic home environment within the mainstream community.
SHEKEL believes that people with severe multiple disabilities who need round-the-clock care, have the same right as everyone else to authentic intimate home lives – as opposed to impersonal institutional care. It is widely recognized that an intimate and nurturing home environment is essential for realizing personal potential and fulfilment. Like other SHEKEL residents with lesser special needs, people with severe multiple disabilities live in local residential apartment buildings, as a part of the local community.
Sarit's mother, Mazal Cohen, was adamant about the benefits of 'living in the community' for her daughter: "Housing that is located in the general community is a true home, it is intimate and personal, a whole different world to an institution."