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History of Partners in Personal Assistance

ppa In 1996, under the leadership of Lena Ricks and with the support of Steve McNutt, a small group of people with disabilities and their personal assistants began meeting to discuss challenges they were experiencing with in-home and community based assistance. They considered issues such as finding and keeping dependable, well trained personal assistants as well as providing competitive wages and health benefits for workers. Recognizing the need to empower people to exercise self determination, they also understood the necessity for consumers to develop their management skills in order to effectively work with their personal assistants. Being able to live in their own homes, with reliable assistance affords people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in all aspects of community life (i.e., education, employment, volunteer work, recreation, travel, entertainment, social activities).

In September of 1999, Partners in Personal Assistance became a reality! A small office space was leased at NEW (Nonprofit Enterprise at Work) Center in Ann Arbor. With the office originally staffed by volunteers, PPA began to provide personal assistance services. Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy (WACA) under the leadership of Dohn Hoyle, served as fiduciary for pass-through Medicaid funding and Lena Ricks helped secure a startup grant from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. Thanks to the efforts of Mike Head in Lansing, a generous grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health was also awarded.