When Liza Howell moved to Park City from her native North Carolina, she’d anticipated a short one-year sabbatical to capture time with family. 12 years later, some things have kept her in Utah, among them the stunning landscapes and outdoor recreation. However, the major draw was the resources available to her son Andy, who has autism.
After homeschooling Andy for five years, she took a chance on enrolling him in the Park City School District (PCSD) and found a welcoming environment with effective methods for assisting children with special needs. “I was blown away by the inclusiveness of the school district, and just the fact that the teachers were specialists,” says Howell.
Howell then became involved with the National Ability Center (NAC) and other citizens who shared her desire to provide life skills and resources to neurodivergent (ND) individuals, and individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (also known as IDD). Together, these concerned adults formed the Park City Housing and Transition Task Force which then became Bridge21, a 501(3)(c) nonprofit.
Howell, along with co-founders Stephanie Polukoff and Wes Stout, set their sights on a formidable goal: inclusive and affordable co-housing for ND individuals in a safe, active, community-integrated environment.