Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: Business of the Week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally-owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing christina@wausaupilotandreview.com.

This week’s featured Wausau business is Homes for Independent Living, a leader in residential and community-based services and supports for adults with a wide range of disabilities. From gentle guidance and assistance just a few hours a week to complete residential and comprehensive care, including 24-hour support, HIL provides an array of services to accommodate any individual or circumstance. Their staff is knowledgeable and experienced, many of whom have been with the organization for years. Bethany Wadzinski, regional director for the Wausau area, said success for HIL is defined by the lives they enhance. Each day, the team sees individuals overcome setbacks, make extraordinary accomplishments and improve their quality of life with the help of the services and supports they receive at homes located in Wisconsin counties – including Wausau. The homes are modern, comfortable, clean and located in quiet residential neighborhoods where people thrive and grow. Here, learn more about Homes for Independent Living, which has been in business for more than 30 years and opened its first Wausau-area location in 2020.

In a nutshell, tell us about Homes for Independent Living of Wisconsin. What do you do, and who do you serve?

Homes for Independent Living of Wisconsin (HIL) operates over 140 residential locations supporting around 450 people in community based settings.  We provideresidential and community-based services and supports for adults with a wide range of disabilities. We operate more than 140 residential locations supporting around 450 people in community-based settings.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a part of this industry and company? 

HIL has a passion to serve people with disabilities that is felt throughout the company.  It is very rewarding to see how much of a difference we make in our the lives of those we serve. 

Can you share one of your success stories with us?

Here is a story from Marcus Buford, direct care professional at HIL.

“Even though Clarissa is non-verbal, she can communicate better than most verbal individuals. Clarissa has developed numerous skills to allow others to understand her needs, wants and desires. She has come so far since 2015 when she was admitted to an HIL crisis home.

Life was tough for Clarissa prior to her arrival at HIL. She had numerous institutional and community placements, admissions to Northern Wisconsin Center and Winnebago Mental Health Institute, as well as multiple stays at North Central Health Care and Brown County Crisis Treatment Center. She initiated many of the inpatient stays, but sadly other stays were initiated by law enforcement. According to Marcus, Clarissa struggled living with others. She was often unable to control her anger resulting in verbal and physical aggression, as well as property damage and other unsafe behaviors. Her struggles in these settings sometimes led to elopement attempts from group homes where she lived.

Over the years, Clarissa has shown much improvement. Her communication challenges have been resolved with a picture schedule, a communication binder and a tablet and phone, all of which help her to communicate with staff. Despite her challenges Clarissa, remains very outgoing, optimistic and caring. She visits with her family, eats at a restaurant each week and partakes in shopping trips.”

Marcus said that Clarissa enjoys the positive interactions with staff and looks forward to interacting with the people who support her. She views each day as a new day.

What makes Homes for Independent Living different – what sets you apart?

Our passionate and knowledgeable staff, scope of services, and wonderful facilities make us a leader in providing services to people with disabilities. At HIL, our residents will tell you that we focus on their abilities and reach goals they never envisioned.

One of your keys to success has been your ability to adapt to changing trends and conditions. How did you cope with the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure your clients received the best care possible?

HIL has knowledgeable leadership who sought guidance from Wisconsin’s regulatory body, DHS as well as the CDC.  HIL swiftly implemented the recommended mitigation efforts to maintain our client’s health and well-being. 

What is the best thing about doing business in the Wausau area?

We love integrating our residents into the Wausau community.  There are many community events that we are able to encourage our residents to attend and participate in.  We’ve also been able to serve residents that grew up in the Wausau area so they are able to stay close to home.  

HIL’s residential settings include, but are not limited to:

Connect with Homes for Independent Living

Office: 815 S. 24th Ave, Suite 100, Wausau

Phone: 715-841-9775

Facebook: Homes for Independent Living- North Central