At approximately 8:00 p.m. on December 15, 1970, at 781 E. Crestview Drive, Flagstaff, Arizona, at the residence of Dr. Kenneth A. Harrison, a meeting was held to write the Articles of Incorporation and elect a Board of Directors for the control and management of the affairs of the new non-profit, private corporation called the Hozhoni Foundation for the Handicapped, Inc. The original board of Directors consisted of:

Irvy W. Goossen Andrew L. Wolf
Dr. Kenneth A. Harrison Dr. Gilbert Sechrist
Don F. Brakeman Dr. Craig Sidles
Dr. Robert A. Orosz William H. Coston

At this meeting the board decided that the location of its principle place of business shall be at Flagstaff, Arizona, but it may establish other places of business and other offices at such other places, either within or without the State of Arizona, as the Board of Directors may from time to time determine.

They further state that the objectives and purposes of the Board would be:

"To operate exclusively for charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes in such a manner as the Board of Directors may deem best, with primary interest in the problems of the developmentally handicapped."

As volunteer and other advocacy groups such as the Arizona Association for Retarded Citizens began to raise issues in relation to the quality and dignity of care provided to those individuals who were developmentally disabled and had been institutionalized, changes in service delivery began to occur rapidly.

In 1976, a successful lawsuit was brought against the State of Arizona over the crowded and inhumane conditions at the three state institutions for the disabled at Coolidge, Tucson, and Phoenix. The Bureau of Mental Retardation (now the Division of Developmental Disabilities) was asked to move the majority of the residents from the three institutions to their homes or as near to their family home communities as possible.

Since many individuals could not return to their family homes, the need for alternate community housing and services became evident. At that time, Hozhoni recognized and supported the need for community-based residential options and began providing foster care, group care, and semi-independent apartment programs.

As people with developmental disabilities began returning to the community, each community was challenged to create programs and supports which would address the multitude of individualized needs which may have previously been ignored. It was soon realized that, for many, there were no options for either skill development or interaction with others within their communities. Advocates agreed that without educational and/or vocational opportunities, community based "mini institutions" were being developed. As a result, Hozhoni developed an educational program for children with special needs and a vocational program which offered either employment within enclaves at various community-based businesses or cottage industry options for those needing more intense supports.

As the needs of individuals requesting services changed, the services offered were adjusted to meet the need. Today, Hozhoni maintains the strong belief that all individuals, regardless of their specific capabilities, should be afforded the opportunities necessary to enhance their quality of life, self-sufficiency, dignity, and self-respect.

 

© 2001 Hozhoni Foundation, Inc.

 

 

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