The Pueblo Viejo Villas – Revisited

Dr. CJ Cook, DBABlog

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

A home of one’s own is the cornerstone of independence for people with disabilities. Ted Leonard and his family now have that home for themselves and their two sons. Ted and his wife Samantha were accepted into the Pueblo Viejo Villas housing project earlier this year and love the new sense of community and independence it has afforded their family. When talking about the benefits of life at Pueblo Viejo Villas, Ted said, “everything is close, the schools, our local bank, public transportation, post office, and even a Rite Aid.” Ted went on to say, ” I get to walk my oldest son to and from school every day and get some needed exercise while doing it.” The Villas also has a playground where Ted’s youngest son often enjoys some daddy-son time while his older brother is at school.

A lot of hard work and dedication went into this outcome, in addition to the construction of the Pueblo Viejo Villas. This was performed by Amanda McGuire, IRC Community Placement Plan and Affordable Housing Specialist. Amanda’s job has two key parts – though they both serve the same purpose – to meet the disparity needs and gaps in service that IRC has. The Community Placement Plan (CPP) and Community Resource Development Plan Priorities (CRDP) where she develops specialized projects based on the approval of Department of Developmental Services (DDS). The Enhanced Behavioral Supports Homes (EBSH), a social skills program for our transition aged clients who have autism or other services our individual’s needs, fall under the state’s CPP/CRDP.

The other part of Amanda’s job is affordable housing. This includes the development of multi-family, affordable housing projects, handling Housing and Urban Development (HUD/811) referrals for properties which IRC has a partnership with and building and maintaining partnerships with both Riverside and San Bernardino County Housing Authority Agencies.

For Pueblo Viejo Villas, a project approved by DDS, and Amanda’s involvement therein started with the contract and funding for 25% of the ten units that were to be set aside for IRC individuals. Then she created a pre-screening process based on the property manager’s eligibility criteria, which made her the person that IRC Service Coordinators (SC) sent referrals to using the prescreening process. Once approved, she then provided the SC with the application for their individual/family to complete.

The one difficult piece concerning this project was learning that the income level requirements were so low that many of our individuals were being denied, despite living solely off social security and food stamps. So, Amanda worked with DDS, the Housing Developer, and IRC management to revise the regulatory agreement, which increased the income levels for half of our units. This allowed those that had been previously denied another chance at an apartment, some of which were in precarious living situations otherwise.

When asked why Amanda loves her job at IRC she said, “Well, I have always had a passion for helping others, and I fell in love with working with individuals with developmental disabilities when I was in college. I have worked on the vendor side and now with IRC for almost five years. As IRC’s CPP and Affordable Housing Specialist, I can be creative in developing homes and services that our individuals need and deserve. I love my job because I get to be a small part of a big picture, that makes a difference in the lives of others.”

Want to learn more about how to join our team at IRC? Visit our careers page at


In Southern California, we are challenged year-round with wild-fires, high wind events, and power outages that require our clients, staff, vendors, and community partners to always be prepared. To answer the growing challenges, Another Way, funded by a grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, provided all IRC clients living Independently at the Pueblo Viejo Villas with a disaster preparedness kit.

In addition, IRC Case Managers referred 226 clients to Another Way to ensure they are prepared for a disaster as well. The clients who received a disaster preparedness kit were all of lower socio-economic status (SES) and receive services from IRC. The client’s Case Managers delivered the disaster preparedness kits during their field visits with each.

Andrea Gonzalez, Another Way Coordinator said, “Another Way wanted to help clients meet their Individualized Program Plan (IPP) goals for emergency preparedness and decided to allocate some of the grant funding we received to this endeavor. Our goal was to help our clients prepare for disasters. The disaster preparedness kits contain everything from water to bandages to Survival Blankets and Hand-Squeeze LED (no batteries required) Flashlights.”

Another Way was founded in 1986 as grassroots, volunteer-driven project of IRC that has progressed into a broad fundraising program that serves children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. If you want to learn more about Another Way, please visit their website at and follow them on Facebook at

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Dr. CJ Cook, DBA

As Program Administrator, CJ is responsible for the proactive oversight of various units within IRC, including Community Management, Service Access and Equity, and Training and Development. CJ's oversight extends to Language Access and Cultural Competency (LACC), Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), equity in the Purchase of Service (POS), and the National Core Indicator (NCI) project. Furthermore, CJ is tasked with managing the IRC's Performance Contract with DDS and overseeing Emergency Services.

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