Spotlighting Mainstay Supportive Housing Families: Marie Strazulla

05/25/23

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Sandy Slavet compares her daughter’s Mainstay supportive home in Norwood to the apartment on the hit TV show “Friends.”

Mainstay Supportive Housing has provided her the kind of life that the TV show has. She’s got a Monica, a Joey, and a Chandler. It’s a great way to live independently with a social network. There’s an automatic built-in social life here,” said Slavet.

Marie Strazulla, who has Down Syndrome, has lived at the beautiful, three-floor, Yellow House in Norwood for more than 12 years, since she was 25 years old.

“I love the independence,” said Marie, who not only has friends in the Norwood home with her, she also has a boyfriend. “Me and my boyfriend, we go food shopping and out to the movies. I book all my own rides [through The RIDE or Lyft], and deposit my own checks. I work at Home Goods. I’m devoted to my job.”

Creating a Comfortable & Independent Mainstay Lifestyle for Marie

Mainstay Supportive Housing is a nonprofit that provides housing and home-based services in Massachusetts. 

As a resident in Mainstay Supportive Housing’s Norwood home, Marie enjoys independent living, but can still get assistance and support as needed. There is even nursing oversight available. 

Mainstay offers live-in overnight staffing for both weeknights and weekends, plus professional cleaning of all the common areas. 

Food is important, and residents like Marie at this supported housing residence can shop and put their own food in the pantry. Each night, the residents enjoy a communal dinner prepared by the staff.

Marie really enjoys the social aspect of the house. “We have game night, Bingo, bowling. We make cookies and listen to music,” Marie said.  Mainstay also plans weekly activities, like move nights, cookouts, and trips to Castle Island in South Boston.

“On weekends, they walk into town together and go out for lunch. It’s much more of a social life than if she were living with two old people,” Sandy said, referring to herself and Marie’s dad.

A Supportive Housing Model the Strazullas Are Thankful For

Sandy appreciates the Mainstay Supportive Housing model that features home-based services for people with Down Syndrome or other developmental disabilities, as well as a vibrant, human social network. Residents share common rooms so they don’t feel alone or isolated. In fact, Marie has six housemates.

“This way, there’s always someone around and something to do. They live with friends and always have access to something to do that’s meaningful. Meaningful days are so important,” Sandy said.

She sees how Marie is thriving socially and emotionally, and really feels at home in her Mainstay Supportive home in Norwood. If Marie ever needs a little extra help, a dedicated and friendly staff person is there to assist.

“It’s a model that works for us,” she added. “We’re grateful we have it.”

To learn more about Mainstay Supportive Housing options in Malden, Newton, and Norwood, visit mainstayliving.org/supportive-housing/.

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