With the unveiling of Ellipsis’ new apartment-style residence, the organization is reshaping the landscape of care for young individuals transitioning into adulthood. This innovative approach is not merely about providing accommodation but creating an environment where these young people can grow, learn, embrace their independence, and ultimately become more informed and healthy adults.

Chris Koepplin's passion for this project is palpable. "We're moving teenage kids into their very own apartments, which is super exciting." This excitement stems from a fundamental understanding that the current living arrangements for the youth in their care are inadequate for the program's objectives. “The 12 kids that will move into these apartments are sharing their living space, sharing their kitchen, sharing bathrooms, all of those things,” she said. “In thinking about the history our kids have experienced and what they've been through, they need some solitude, they need some peace and they need a place to call their own. When we had the opportunity to give that to them, we knew we at least had to try to take it. Now, we’re going to be able to welcome them home.”

The essence of this initiative lies in providing the young adults who will be living in this apartment-style residence with Ellipsis a sense of ownership and autonomy, mirroring the experiences they’ll have when truly living on their own — how to hold a job and go to school at the same time, how to cook, how to budget, how to do laundry, and how to meal plan and grocery shop. What truly sets this initiative apart is its focus on individualized support and skill-building.

“Now, Ellipsis staff can meet with a client in their apartment and can help meet their specific needs individually instead of adjusting our time with them to ensure we’re meeting the different levels of need from multiple clients all at the same time.”

Fred Buell, Ellipsis program director.

It's about more than just physical separation; it's about instilling a sense of responsibility, privacy and self-sufficiency. “They teach us how to clean, and we have chores,” Eli, one of the people living at Ellipsis, shared. “In the supervised apartment space, we shared a lot of space, which would get messy really quick, and there's a lot of complaining about it. Nobody wants to live in a mess, but nobody wants to clean up after other people.” Another resident, Emily, said that sharing a kitchen can be challenging because she’s living with other people who are experiencing hunger, and when they aren’t able to get something to eat on their own, they’ll take her food.

The design and functionality of these apartments have been meticulously planned to cater to the specific needs of the residents. Collaborating with experts like Slingshot and Pigott, Ellipsis ensured that every aspect, from furniture to layout, aligns with their vision. "We worked with all of these amazing people who really took the time to understand what our vision was and what it is that we care about," Chris said.  

David Voss, principal at Slingshot Architecture, said that walking through the Park Ave. residence, where the kids would be moving from, allowed him to better understand the current situation the kids were experiencing versus what was possible. “Throughout that process of asking the digging questions, we learned a lot about the needs of the kids and families they serve and ultimately how Ellipsis serves to meet them,” he said. The apartments will also be fully furnished.

The impact of this initiative extends beyond the individual level, resonating with the broader community and state agencies. Janee Harvey, division director over family well-being and protection at Iowa Health and Human Services, acknowledges Ellipsis' commitment to innovation and personalized care — and the value the state sees in this project. “Ellipsis decided to pivot away from simply providing a program and a bed, walking away from the assumption that'll work for all their kids,” she said. “They really took a look at the kids they were serving and thought about how they need to adapt and change what they do in order to get the best outcomes for their kids.”

This collaborative effort reflects a shared commitment to empowering vulnerable youth and ensuring they have access to the resources they need to thrive. “It's an extension of the passionate and thoughtful leadership that takes place at Ellipsis,” Janee said.

“Ellipsis has been a critical partner in serving kids who have therapeutic needs, supervision needs and treatment needs.”

Janee Harvey, division director over family well-being and protection at Iowa Health and Human Services

Ellipsis' new apartment-style residence represents more than just a housing solution; it's a testament to their dedication to transforming lives. By providing a supportive environment where young adults can learn, grow and ultimately thrive, they are setting a new standard in transitional care. And as Chris says, "Our kids deserve this because everybody deserves it."


Be a part of this impactful initiative. Learn how you can volunteer, or consider helping our kids have a great start in their new apartment by making a donation from our Amazon Wish Lists: