About Freedom To Live
Freedom to Live Foundation (FTL) provides a “campus living” Independence Training Program for SCI individuals who desire to achieve independence and a better quality of life. Recipients achieve this for themselves by being provided the time, support and collegial-like living environment to learn and practice the life-long, necessary skills that will enable them to manage, direct and take back control of every aspect of their life after leaving rehab, moving home or transferring from a long-term nursing facility. FTL applies all of its energy and effort into finding “what can be” for our recipients rather than merely settle for “what is.”
FTL’s mission is to provide affordable housing, expert consulting, planning and coordination of necessary services to insure a successful pathway from hospital to home for SCI and other catastrophically disabled individuals and their families.
Our vision is to have a national network of “Freedom Home” Training Campuses and affordable, accessible multiunit apartments for all graduating recipients of the program.
PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Mary Williams, RN
FOUNDER & BOARD MEMBER
PROGRAM CONSULTANT & RECIPIENT MANAGER
PROGRAM GRADUATE & MENTOR
COMMUNITY RESOURCE CONSULTANT
SAN DIEGO PROGRAM CONSULTANT
30 years ago Mary Williams founded a company called New Start Homes. In 1982 while working as the RN Coordinator of rehabilitation unit in Los Angeles Mary saw that there was a huge gap in the rehabilitation process of the patients and families that she was discharging from the hospital. Mary’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion in her work drove her to quit her job and begin a company to fill the needs and gaps in the system.
Mary was successful, with only the incredible determination and energy level that came from the spirit inside of her to persevere on her mission, Mary was a pioneer and one of the biggest advocates for spinal cord injured individuals. No only did Mary work side by side with Medi-Cal where she established a trusted relationship over 28 years, she helped write legislation in Sacramento which broke down governmental and societal barriers ensuring that every individual following a catastrophic injury or illness had the opportunity to take control of their own life, to live in the least restrictive environment and with an improved quality of life.
Mary established Freedom To Live Foundation in 1993 because there was another great need, affordable housing. Very small allowances for living made it almost impossible for her clients to find a place to live without help. Mary purchased homes she called “step down” homes and subsidized rents for her New Start clients moving out. However, with 24/7 work, 3 companies, 200 employees launching her foundation was impossible at that time so she continued her to build her model program and used whatever resources she had available to help her mission along.
After 28 years in business Mary sold New Start Homes to Care Meridian in October 2010 and at 68 years old and after taking a long earned rest Mary and her daughter Sian set out to finally close the gap of affordable and accessible living for people like her New Start clients. Today FTL has helped over 30 people living with SCI to achieve independence in their lives.
Recognition from The White House
June 20, 1990 – Recognition to Mary Williams for New Start Homes and its service by The White House-George Bush
Thank you for your commitment to community service. Through your generosity and hard work, you have shown that the tradition of neighbor helping neighbor is alive and well in our country. Your efforts profoundly influence the life of your community and they are a shining example for us all. Barbara joins me in saluting you and sending you our very best wishes. God bless you.
8th Annual Beneficiary Services Honors Awards
Aug 2001 – 8th Annual Beneficiary Services Honors Awards in St. Louis, Missouri – California Region Mary Williams – Company President, Nurse and Pioneer
• Champion for the catastrophically injured
• For innovative contribution to rehabilitation, and dedication to improving lives of persons with disabilities
2001 – Lifesaver’s Award – Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for outstanding and invaluable service to the community
Who We Assist
We humbly and proudly serve people who are:
• 18 years or older
• Single or married disabled individuals with or without children
• SCI and other catastrophically disabled individuals currently living in a nursing home or living in a home setting that they wish to change
To qualify as a grant recipient of FTL, we carefully evaluate the following factors:
• Need – Your current living environment
• Independence – Your ability to manage care and personal necessities
• Desire – Your readiness and desire to work hard toward specific goals.
Please go to “Contact Us” and email a brief description of the above information (Need, Independence, Desire). After receiving your email we will contact you to discuss your candidacy for the program further.