It began with a mother's love
We were founded in 1975 as Helping Hands for the Disabled, by a mother who wanted a better life for her daughter.
Barbara Barger’s daughter, Beth, was differently-abled and needed 24-hour care, supervision and support. Initially, Helping Hands’ purpose was to raise funds for Beth and her fellow residents at Interlake Nursing Center in Bellevue. But within a few years, faced with few acceptable living options, Barbara and Helping Hands forged into the unknown to create a new program. They petitioned the State for funds to open a group home unlike any in the State of Washington at the time. Their goal was to provide 24-hour support and care for all aspects of daily living for adults who were and are differently-abled.
Championing those differently-abled
Working with the State of Washington’s Department of Developmental Disabilities, the Archdiocesan Housing Authority and the federal office of Housing and Urban Development, Champion House opened in 1983 and welcomed eight differently-abled adults. Four of our original residents still reside with DAHLIA Living today.
Champion House’s success led to the open of Halcyon, also in Bellevue, in 1987, home to eight more residents. By the early nineties, several of our residents were aging and requiring a higher level of nursing care than the staff at Champion House or Halcyon could provide. Committed to our mission to serve all the needs of our residents, Visions opened in Kirkland in 1991, providing five residents with 24 hour skilled nursing care and support. In 2000, Trail House became our second Intensive Tenant Support program.
Why 'differently-abled' not 'disabled'?
Walk into any of our homes and you will find a diverse mix of people. From staff who come from all walks of life and across the globe, to our residents who are full of personality and perspective. Yes, they face trials and impairments that most of us will never endure, but they also contribute to our society in their own way. A different way.
As advocates for those who may have difficulty expressing themselves, we at DAHLIA Living, challenge everyone to look beyond what the eye can see and recognize and appreciate that which makes us all individual and unique. In fact, if you think about it, we are all differently-abled.
Today, we're DAHLIA Living
In 2018, we adopted a dba, DAHLIA Living, to reflect the evolution of our society and honor our now-retired founder Barbara Barger, an avid gardener.
Building home and community
With the four combined programs, today DAHLIA Living is home to 26 differently-abled adults. Our residents are active in their communities and many have jobs or attend camps. But they all get to come home at night to their own room in their own home. Our staff diligently encourage each resident to achieve their potential, and we strive to build self-esteem and sense of family for each individual.
Through the years, our agency has grown to meet the changing needs of our current residents, as well as create new openings for those in need. Along the way, we endeavor to be good neighbors in our local communities, adapt to changing times and technologies and tackle all the challenges – past, present and future - thrown our way.