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East Washington development will be known as “The André” after man who inspired inclusive housing movement

André Brown. Photo supplied.

Nonprofit housing developer Movin’ Out announced Tuesday that their new property located at the corner of East Washington Avenue and Sixth Street in Madison will be known as The André Apartments, named in honor of community leader André Brown, who passed away in 2022 at the age of 42. His mother, Marcie Brost, was one of a small group of parents who identified the need for housing where people with disabilities could live independently and founded Movin’ Out in 1995 . In addition to being a key inspiration for the creation of Movin’ Out, André went on to work there in administrative roles for more than 20 years.

“It’s such a special project that we felt it really deserved a really special name,” said Movin’ Out executive director Kathryne Auerback. “We started thinking about naming it something special … naming it in honor of someone. And then as soon as we got to that idea, well, of course, it’s got to be André.”

One of the things that makes it a special project is the inclusion of Red Caboose Child Care Center, which will relocate to a 21,000 square foot facility on the ground floor. André Brown was a student at the center’s previous location as a toddler, one of the first children with significant disabilities to be served at the center.

The André includes affordable and market rate apartments, ranging from one to three bedrooms, as well as supportive units for people with disabilities. On the ground floor Red Caboose Child Care Center will expand into a new 21,000 square foot space. André Brown was a student at Red Caboose as a toddler, becoming one of the first children with significant disabilities to enroll and successfully participate in the program.

André was known for his complete engagement in both his work and hobbies, consistently modeling innovation and resilience to achieve inclusion, according to a press release. He gained work experience at Avol’s Bookstore, Jenifer Street Market, and Magic Mill, volunteered for numerous political campaigns, and worked in the Dane County District Attorney’s Office, all along with a 21-year administrative services career at Movin’ Out. He enjoyed camping, and music spanning genres from jazz to opera to Bruce Springsteen. He also followed sports as an avid Packer, Badger, Brewer, and Mallards fan.

The André is one of more than two dozen properties Movin’ Out owns or has developed with partners, which include nearly 1,200 units. About half of the properties are in Dane County while the rest are spread across Wisconsin. About 25 percent of Movin’ Out’s units are supportive for people with disabilities.

The idea is to allow people with disabilities independence as well as integration with other families.

 Before Movin’ Out was founded, “if you were a person with a permanent disability, you could either live your entire life with your parents … or you could live in some sort of institutional setting, like a group home or an adult family home. And this group of parents felt that those were segregated settings,” Auerback said.

Thus, the supportive housing units are integrated throughout Movin’ Out’s developments.

“Those units are not separated in any way from the other units. They’re not all on one floor, they’re not all in one part of the building, they don’t have a separate entrance, they’re truly integrated throughout the property,” Auerback said. “We do not provide supportive services, and we do not have any kind of financial relationship with any supportive service agency. We collaborate with the long term care system to make sure that those services are available. But the residents in our apartments choose their own supportive services through the long term care system in Wisconsin, based on their own individual needs and preferences. They control who comes through their own front door.”

Rendering courtesy Movin’ Out

Apartments in The André are now leasing, and Auerback said she expects them all to be leased before the building opens this summer. Amenities include a fitness center, roof deck, underground parking, and a community room. The grand opening celebration will take place in summer 2023. More information about the apartments is availale at https://www.accmanagementgroup.com/properties/property.php?propertyid=368.