Bob Bohm: Independence Brings Growth to Those with Disabilities

Bob Bohm

Bob Bohm (pictured), Executive Director of DakotAbilities, has a personal interest in the work he does. His 19-year-old son has autism spectrum disorder. He recently moved into Indiana House, DakotAbilities' newest home in Sioux Falls. "I'm sure my son will learn, have new experiences and grow in this new environment," Bohm said. "But it's still hard to see him leave our home. My wife and my daughter teared up when he moved, and they still tear up when they see him. But the last time we visited, there were fewer tears."

DakotAbilities provides housing for adults with disabilities. The agency serves 130 people from 38 South Dakota counties, primarily serving individuals with physical, intellectual or developmental disabilities. The organization's 19 residential facilities in Sioux Falls have been a success. Independence brings opportunity for their clients, who range in age from 19 to 73.

One such client is Mark Samis, who lives at DakotAbilities' Spring Street home in Sioux Falls. Mark and fellow residents regularly attend rodeos, football games, basketball games and movies. In addition, Mark has been active as an advocate for people with disabilities. He served on the boards of groups such as the state Independent Living Council and The Arc of the United States, a national group.

DakotAbilities has worked with South Dakota Housing Development Authority to fund housing projects since 2008. The first project included $565,000 in HOME funds and $151,396 in Housing Tax Credits. Three more projects in 2010, 2011 and 2012 utilized $642,600 in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds and $1,091,440 in Neighborhood Stabilization Program 3 funds.

"Without the assistance of South Dakota Housing, this would not have been possible," Bohm said.