SimplyHome Recognized by OUTSIDE as Best Places to Work 2016

SimplyHome Top 100

SimplyHome has been named one of OUTSIDE’s Best Places to Work of 2016. Each year, OUTSIDE recognizes the top 100 companies in the United States that help their employees strike the ideal balance between work and play. These companies encourage employees to lead an active lifestyle, are eco-conscious and prioritize giving back to the community.


SimplyHome ranked #48 on the list.  Other organizations on the list included New Belgium Brewing, Toad&Co., Smartwool, and Big Agnes.


To create the Best Places to Work 2016 list, OUTSIDE started by comparing employers to five core categories, reflecting the magazine’s values and focus: Adventure/Travel, Wellness, Culture, Gear, and Media. OUTSIDE then conducted a rigorous vetting process in partnership with the Best Companies Group to assess the policies, practices, and demographics of hundreds of companies.

Funny Group Picture

 Empowering The Person

A dog park to accompany a dog-friendly office, company breakfasts, ping pong tournaments, and birthday celebrations sometimes involving a piñata, are only a few of the perks that come with being part of the SimplyHome team.

But, what really excites us about working at SimplyHome is learning to understand what it means to be person-centered – to listen to the goals and desires of people that are often written off because of their disabilities. As people, we all crave the same things: independence in our daily lives, deep connections with other people, and the opportunity to work towards our goals.

Group Picture

Empowering Individuals Through Independence

We recognize that quality of life does not have to be compromised because of someone’s age or disability.  Many individuals living with a developmental disability or wishing to age in place have the ability to live independently in their homes – if given the proper support. In addition, rising costs of health care and the economic climate impact quality of life. We develop assistive technology to empower individuals to have the freedom of choice – the choice on how they want to live and where they want to live.

Our technology proactively alerts loved ones and caregivers of changes in behavioral patterns via text message, email or phone call alerts. Whether it’s grandma turning the stove on in the middle of the night, grandpa forgetting to close the front door or your son leaving his bed at an unusual hour, family and care staff can be instantly notified.

Group ping pong photo with quote

The Importance of Passion: Q&A with Allen Ray, SimplyHome’S CEO and Co-founder

Q: What separates SimplyHome from other companies?

A: Our people make us uniquely different. As a technology company, outsiders think it’s all the cool, shiny objects that separates us from others. The reality is the technology we use changes all the time…it’s the people who make the difference.


Q: SimplyHome hires people who live a very passionate life.  What do you see as the relationship between passionate employees and excellent work?

A: When a person has passion in their personal and professional lives, it creates vision and purpose to make the magic happen in every part of their day. One key interview question we ask every applicant is “What do you do outside of work”? We know everyone is uniquely different, but we want the common thread to be a zeal for life because it makes the most of every day. In short, we believe a genuine passion will lead to outcomes of excellence and a life filled with joy.

Beau - Blog PostQ: How does hiring passionate people contribute to the overall tone of the office?

A: To make a difference you must have balance, joy and self-direction as a natural part of who you define yourself to be. The company’s responsibility is to feed each person’s desire to make a difference through supporting their compassion. We all benefit from being surrounded by people who connect the love of outdoors, community involvement and personal values with a focused passion to help others. I believe they go hand in hand. Essentially, the culmination of what we do and the outcomes we are honored to create every day, is better because of our people.


Q: How has being located in Asheville helped SimplyHome to thrive as a company?

A: I believe the place and people you surround yourself with makes a huge difference in the pure joy each of us experiences! Being a part of this beautiful area replenishes the energy needed to be the best person you can be. An afternoon hike on the Mountains-to-Sea trail, a bike ride along the Parkway, a stroll through the Arboretum or kayaking through a national forest, topped off by your favorite local brew will replenish your soul like little else. Being in Asheville allows the opportunity to connect like-minded people into a cohesive team, while affording all of us the opportunity to call this beautiful place home.


Above all, SimplyHome believes in doing the right thing for those we are serving, ourselves and our community.


Want to explore how technology can empower independence? Check out our Facebook Page or subscribe to our blog for up-to-date news!


For any questions, contact SimplyHome at 877.684.3581 or email



OUTSIDE is America’s leading active lifestyle brand. Since 1977, OUTSIDE has covered travel, sports, adventure, health, and fitness, as well as the personalities, the environment, and the style and culture of the world Outside. The OUTSIDE family includes OUTSIDE magazine, the only magazine to win three consecutive National Magazine Awards for General Excellence, The Outside Buyer’s Guides, Outside Online, the Outside Podcast, Outside Television, Outside Events, Outside+ for the iPad, Outside tablet edition, Outside Books, and Outside GO, a revolutionary, 21st-century adventure-travel company. Connect with OUTSIDE online, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.



Best Companies Group works with national and local partners around the country and internationally to establish and manage “Best Places to Work,” “Best Companies,” and “Best Employers” programs on a national, statewide, regional and industry basis. Through its thorough workplace assessment, utilizing employer questionnaires and employee-satisfaction surveys, BCG identifies and recognizes companies who have been successful in creating and maintaining workplace excellence.




Finding Independence and Saving for the Future in NC

David and his mom



David Maennle is an accomplished young man who directly benefits from assistive technology in North Carolina. David’s chosen lifestyle — living independently in the community with the help of technology — saves the State of North Carolina almost $80,000 per year.

David was born with an intellectual disability, but as his mother Becky says, “He is able to do everything that he puts his mind to. He just does it a bit differently.” David currently has a job and is saving for his dream of building his own log cabin. He rents his own apartment and is able to apply the independent living skills he learned at Western Carolina University.

The use of SimplyHome’s sensors and verbal prompts enable David to:

  • Cook his own meals and be notified if he leaves the stove on.
  • Complete a morning routine of self-care, eating breakfast, taking medication, and tidying up before going to work at a scheduled time.
  • Receive a verbal reminder to close and lock the doors.
  • Access help quickly if needed.


Increasing Independence in a Cost-Effective Way

The SimplyHome technology David uses has two components: an annual monitoring fee and a one-time fee for the technology itself:

  • $779.40 annual monitoring fee
  • $6,827 one-time cost for customized SimplyHome System

David’s use of this technology reduces his living costs, enabling him to take advantage of additional supports such as supported employment, in-home skill building and personal care for $80,055 per year. Altogether his living supports total $87,661.

If David were not using technology, he would not have access to these supports. Institutional home care costs would be $60,794 per year and group home rates would be $105,495 per year. That comes to a total of $166,290 per year, which nearly doubles the cost of living in his own home.

The chart below contrasts the annual costs for David’s supports if he were in a group home and receiving day supports, with the annual costs for his more independent lifestyle of living in his own apartment.


Comparison Chart



David lives a fully-immersed life on his own terms, including working for the local EMS, cooking his own meals, and saving for his “Vision”: building his own log cabin, driving his own red truck, and owning a blue-tick hound.

Without the assistance of technology, so much independence and integration into the community would not be possible.


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To learn more about David’s story and to get a tour of his home, watch the “David’s Vision” video.


You can also learn more by checking out David’s Facebook page.



Funding is available for individuals in North Carolina to afford to live independently with the use of assistive technology. The NC Innovations Waiver provides funding to local management entities and managed care organizations.  The services provided through the waiver empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to:

  • Choose where they live
  • Choose how they spend their time and what they do to be connected to the community
  • Self-direct or manage their supports
  • Support their own growth
  • Obtain access to the adaptive technology they need to live in their community
NC Innovations Waiver Quick Facts*
  • Individual cost limit / reimbursement rate in NC: $135k (maximum)
  • Innovations Waiver cost limit / reimbursement rate for NC per individual: $60k
  • Annual average cost of institutional care in NC: $120k
  • As of October 2016:
    • Waiver Slots: 12,488
    • Current Wait List: 10,000 individuals

*From The Division of Medical Assistance, Community Based Services (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services)


Want to explore other ways that technology can empower independence? Contact SimplyHome at 877.684.3581 or email
































ANCOR Pushes for Change

ANCOR Urges Changes


ANCOR Urges Providers and Legislators to Adapt Care and Funding Models to Include Technology


At this year’s Technology Summit & Showcase, ANCOR (American Network of Community Options and Resources) issued a stirring declaration of the need for change in service and funding models in a press release, “Bringing Long-Term Supports & Services into the 21st Century.  [Read the PDF version of the ANCOR Statement here.]


ANCOR’s statement marks a pivotal moment for providers seeking to keep up with changing resources and for states that face long waiting lists.


SimplyHome’s Jason Ray explains why this is such a big moment for ANCOR: “ANCOR is not merely saying that incorporating technology is important — they’re saying it is a requirement for providers to remain sustainable in the future and to meet the requirements of the HCBS final rule and the Olmstead Act. And ANCOR is also saying that technology must be included as a form of support just like staff support — while many still see technology and staff support as being mutually exclusive.”


Perhaps the most striking part of ANCOR’s statement was the assertion that current service models actually deter innovation and hinder providers from meeting the expectations of Olmstead and the Final Rule:


The methods, standards, funding, and accountability of today’s service system for people with disabilities and seniors were established when the only tool available to supervise and support individuals was the physical presence of a caregiver [...]

These outdated tools and way of thinking deter innovation, self-determination, quality outcomes and the most effective use of resources.

Employing technology to support individuals and their families can not only be resource-efficient, but, it can offer a powerful tool to enable community integration and person-centered supports by extending the reach of support persons.


While previous service models that do not incorporate technology as a form of support are certainly understandable, they are no longer sufficient. Providers can no longer ignore the great potential of technology in caring for their clients. The CMS final rule defines outcome-oriented services not by the safety of the individual, but by the nature and quality of the individual’s experiences (including, but not limited to, the individual’s safety).


Many barriers — primarily, regulatory and payment methodologies — can limit an individual’s access to technological resources. CMS must identify and remove these barriers in order to provide for greater independence, privacy, and community integration of individuals with disabilities.


SimplyHome at Work to Transform Models of Care


At SimplyHome, we focus on these questions: What goals does the individual have for himself or herself? How can technology increase or improve this person’s independence? How can we enable this person to navigate daily life with greater dignity, to take reasonable risks with appropriate safety nets of support, and to learn life skills that will empower the independence desired by the individual?


Supported by technology, many individuals can move into more independent living settings.

Supported by technology, many individuals can move into more independent living settings.
(Watch Laura and Vicki’s story here.)


SimplyHome’s custom solutions seek to empower individuals to meet their own goals, whether that means cooking independently, living in their own homes, being responsible for their own daily medications and activities, or transitioning to a more independent residential setting.


As ANCOR asserts in the position paper, “If supports are to be truly person-centered, individuals should, with the assistance of their selected circle of support, make decisions on critical quality of life matters and how to best achieve them including through the use of technology.”


What Does This Mean for Providers?


The incorporation of technology not only enables care that is more person-centered, but can provide cost-effective alternatives to care based on 24/7 staffing.


Providers who have worked with SimplyHome technology have been able to widen the scope and depth of their services to many more individuals, and empower their staff to attend to the most urgent care needs. Individuals who need less in-person care and who are capable of learning independent living skills are empowered to work towards their own goals.


Providers do face hurdles as they explore new models of care. Many existing care models are tied to existing assets already owned by the providers, and the individuals providing services are comfortable with how these supports are currently delivered. Supports are also built around “doing for” the individual and minimizing risk to the organization. This usually results in too much oversight and way too little opportunity for the individual with disabilities. This requires providers to shift their culture away from “doing for” to training, supporting, and engaging with individuals to enable them to have the dignity of risk in a new way of living.


Individuals supported by technology can set goals for their daily routines -- and meet them using that technology. (Watch Sophia's story here.)

Individuals supported by technology can set goals for their daily routines — and meet them using that technology.
(Watch Sophia’s story here.)


What Does This Mean for States?


By opening new avenues for services to be provided, and by making such services more cost-effective, the states can begin to impact their current waiting list populations without increasing the funds required to provide such supports.


Many states (including PA and NC, who both released new supported living waivers to include the use of technology) are moving towards the inclusion of technology supports in supported living environments. This will allow individuals to be properly supported without staff or family in-person support when it isn’t necessary, and it will allow for much more cost-effective outcomes.


Many states currently have waiting lists for residential supports, so even if you are eligible for services, you may not be able to receive services. For example, there are over 10,000 people on the NC waiting list, over 9,000 in SC, and over 13,000 in PA. In New Mexico, the waiting list time is 11-12 years once a person becomes eligible and enrolls in services.


How Does This Look in Real Life? The Charles Lea Story


Since 2008, the Charles Lea Center (CLC) in Spartanburg, SC, has utilized SimplyHome technology to provide support to individuals in settings that range from traditional staff-based care to independent apartments.


During a six-year period of gradually incorporating more technology into their support services, CLC was able to start seven new programs, generating enough savings to enable CLC to support six new individuals, without using any additional state dollars.


In 2014, CLC created a transition program that helps individuals make the move into their own homes and gain the skills they need to live independently. The unique program offers training and assistance as necessary from a centralized office, and over time the individuals become comfortable enough with our technology that they are ready to move into their own apartments or homes.


Today, 93% of the transition program’s residents use SimplyHome technology in their independent living settings, while 37% of all CLC programs use technology to support individuals. By integrating technology into their support services, CLC is able to provide support for their clients for less than $100 per day per individual. Without technology, this cost would be approximately $200 per day.


Most telling is how the individuals feel in their technology-supported living settings: in a recent survey, when CLC residents were asked if they felt safe in their homes, 100% said yes. Two individuals who have fully taken advantage of the transition program are Laura and Vicki, who now live in their own apartment together:

Watch Laura & Vicki’s Story: Gaining Independence


How Does This Look in Real Life? The Imagine! Story


Imagine!, a Colorado non-profit that helps people with developmental disabilities, is also demonstrating how technology can be a tool for independence.


“We’re looking at new ways to keep people in the community in a safe and secure setting that also supports independence,” said Greg Wellems, the Chief Operating Officer at Imagine!


He continues, “The idea is to use technology in a community-based setting that will allow people to be monitored remotely and will allow their loved ones or caregivers to know when they are home, what area of the apartment or living space they are accessing, remotely lock doors, remotely let people know what facilities they are using, and support them with medication adherence.”


One individual who uses technology supports through Imagine! is Sophia Hicks, who uses SimplyHome solutions to promote safety, to live in her own place with a roommate, and to receive verbal prompts about completing her daily routine:


Watch Sophia’s Story: Independent and supported




 Want more stories like this?

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Where Is He Now? An Interview with Brian Keefer of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

“You gotta work on that grip, Brian,” Allen Ray, SimplyHome’s CEO, said on his recent visit to the home of Brian Keefer. This may seem like an odd thing to say to someone who has quadriplegia, but you don’t know Brian Keefer. The 29-year-old Pennsylvanian and star of an episode of TLC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition just laughed in response to Allen’s remark. You might not know that Brian is well-known for his deeply positive outlook and indefatigable dedication to recovering as much mobility as possible after a 2008 gymnastics accident left him paralyzed. A recent highlight of Brian’s recovery was regaining the ability to lift his left hand and to open a door for himself: “It was one of the best things I’ve done in my entire life. A huge stepping stone!”


Allen Ray visits with the Keefer Family

While encouraged by his progress, Brian has no intention of stopping there: he wants to walk, drive, and work with others who face quadriplegia. Mindful of this, Allen used his recent trip to Pennsylvania to encourage Brian to continue the intensity of his hard work towards recovery. Allen says, “Brian is focused and determined and will not stop there. We know this development is just one step in his longer journey to recovery.”


You may remember that the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episodes featured renovations of the Keefer family home and technology SimplyHome designed for Brian to give him greater independence. The technology included a tablet that powered environmental controls (home automation), a voice-activated adjustable bed and drink machine, intercoms for communicating throughout the home, adaptive controls for playing video games with his family, and voice-controlled text, before voice-texting was a common feature on cell phones.


SimplyHome asked Brian a few questions about his life after Extreme Makeover, how technology impacts his life today, and where his goals will lead him next!


SH: What’s your life like after the show? Do you get recognized a lot?

Brian: It’s really good. I am really thankful; the show gave me a lot more independence. I can talk to my house, turn on the lights and the music and everything. I definitely get recognized a lot. I travel around South Central Pennsylvania giving speeches, and people recognize me through that, too.

I have had a lot of opportunities. I have gotten to scuba dive in California with my doctors. I have been helping to coach volleyball at my high school. In 2013 I went to Oklahoma for a couple of months and helped coach the men’s and women’s Paralympics volleyball teams.  I’m not just staying in my house – I go out and do things, make choices, to have a full life in society.


SH: Tell us about your work as a motivational speaker.

Brian: People have wanted to hear my story ever since I got hurt. I have had people tell me that I have changed their lives completely, helped them through dark times. Every time I do my speech, it’s relatively similar, telling my story. In the Q&A time after my speech, one of the first questions people always ask is, “How are you able to stay so positive?”


SH: How do you answer that? You must have some hard days.

Brian: I have always been a really positive person, I am always having fun and smiling. Because I am such a positive person, I am able to turn a really difficult situation into something better. I also have an enormous support system. I am lucky to have what I have, people praying for me and everything.

Everyone has days where they are dark days or down days, but I’ve always been a firm believer that you make the choice whether to be happy or to be sad. Obviously there are things that will affect that, but you can still choose to pick yourself up and do something. And I have so many people supporting me. If I need to, there is someone I can go to – we can go out, get some food, go see a movie.


SH: What technology does your daily life involve these days? Are you continuing to use the technology from the show, like the voice-activated texting, bed lift, and drink machine?

Brian: I use a mouth stick to text people now, rather than voice-to-text. That way I can text people even when I am in the middle of something, like watching a movie. I have gotten really fast at it now. I use the environmental controls through my voice on my tablet all day, every day. I don’t need the voice-activated adjustable bed as much, because I just keep it elevated. I read a lot of books on my tablet. I’ll read pretty much anything but my favorites are usually sci-fi and fantasy. Two of my favorite series are Harry Potter and Eragon.

Extreme Home Makeover Edition, Brian Keefer and Family

SH: What do you think about the Amazon Alexa, the new technology Allen brought on his visit?

Brian: Alexa is great, she has great potential. It would be huge to connect it to Environmental Controls. Another thing she could help with is to talk on the phone or use social media.


SH: We were excited to hear about you regaining the ability to lift your left arm. Tell us about that process.

Brian: I do physical therapy every day, seven days a week. An aide comes in three times a week to help my dad do the exercises that take two people and are more intensive for my core. After the aide leaves, my dad and I can do more machines that don’t require an outside person. A lot of the exercises work on balance.

The change to be able to lift my arm was gradual. I got a flicker in my left bicep when I was first in the hospital, 8 years ago. About a year and a half ago, I was able to start lifting my arm off the armrest. Still working on the hand and fingers. I opened a door at Kennedy Krieger for the first time by myself last year. It was a huge stepping stone!


SH: Tell us about your work on the board of United Central Palsy – Central Pennsylvania.

Brian: I gave a speech for UCP of Central PA a couple of years back and had gotten to know them through that. The president, Jeff Cooper, came out to the house, and I got to know him fairly well. Jeff reached out to me to see if it was something I was interested in doing. I decided to do that to help people across Central PA who have some sort of disability. We have meetings every other week. I give my two cents and help out where I can. I help to make decisions on new programs and how the programs are going, and how to optimize their capabilities for people with disabilities.


SH: Your motivational speaking career is growing a lot. Who is your audience right now? How do you see that continuing to grow in the future?

Brian: I will talk to anybody that wants to listen – businesses, schools, churches, Parkinson’s groups, the nursing school in Lancaster. I’d like to expand my speaking audience to other places, beyond South Central Pennsylvania.

I would love to be able to do something like webinars to share my story – it would be a lot easier than driving all over. To be able to share my story and be able to reach out to people who are going through dark times — that’s what I want to do.


SH: Looking to the future, what are some things that you would like to accomplish?

Brian: Number one, I want to get out of my chair and walk. I am working toward that every day.

I want to learn to use more technology to become more independent. I would LOVE to drive. For the past three years I have been helping to coach my high school volleyball team. It would be awesome to be able to drive to that.

Potentially I would like to work with more spinal cord injury patients, when I make more of a recovery myself. Who better to work with them than me? I know what they are going through. [Brian’s college degree is in recreational management with a focus on therapy.]


SH: As you continue your recovery, what inspires you?

Brian: Probably what inspires me the most is the response I get from other people, telling me that I have helped them. I’ve always wanted to help people, and being told that I inspired them is really big. My family and friends inspire me because they are so supportive and with me on every step of this journey, pushing with me. And I have heard from people all over the world – the show aired in 139 different countries and people will reach out to say that I touched their lives and have been an inspiration to them.


Brian Keefer can be contacted regarding his motivational speaking through his website,

Watch the original episodes from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Season 9: Episode 6 and Episode 7.


SimplyHome Product Intake Forms

Ready for TechIf you are interested in exploring assistive technology to promote an individual’s independence, the first step is completing an online intake form. Once our customer service team receives the completed intake form, we will schedule a complimentary over-the-phone assessment. This 30-min. assessment is a casual conversation about the individual/family’s priorities, and how assistive technology may help achieve those goals. Based on the information shared in the assessment, we will then create a system recommendation and a quote, customized specifically for the individual/family. This is a starting point; the system recommendation and quote can always be updated to reflect the changing goals of an individual.


Intake Forms:

SimplyHome System Intake

Medication Dispenser Intake

TeleHealth Intake

Environmental Controls System Intake

(PERS) Personal Emergency Response System Intake


Below is a description of the devices we utilize to achieve outcomes, and some key points to review when considering technology for an individual.


What is a SimplyHome System?

Concerns Addressed: SimplyHome systems can address concerns for individuals who desire to learn independent living skills, such as cooking safety and meal preparation, hygiene routines, medication adherence, and completing other activities of daily living.

Custom Sensors and Alerts: Each SimplyHome system is tailored to the individual’s concerns and may include motion sensors, door/window sensors, chair/bed pressure pad sensors, stove sensors, smoke detectors, incontinence pads, panic pendants and water sensors. The system is programmed to alert responders of potential problems via email, texts, or phone calls.

Who Do We Consider?

  • Individuals who are being considered for independent living, supported settings, or transitional homes.
  • Individuals who have 24/7 staffing for “just in case” situations, but do not need constant supervision.
  • Individuals who have skills to live independently but need guidance on behavioral outcomes.
  • Individuals who have disabilities, joint/muscular difficulties, or visual issues that affect balance or mobility.
  • Individuals who desire to learn independence and safety in meal preparation and cooking.
  • Individuals who are at risk for falling, wandering, or egress, or who engage in unsafe behaviors at night.
  • Individuals who may need assistance while in the bathroom or need prompting with hygiene routines.
  • Watch This Video on Navigating the Website for Data and Trends
  • Click Here to Watch John’s Story


Medication Reminder System: Our medication dispenser is a tamper-proof, programmable unit that generates alerts to staff or caregivers about medication non-compliance or delays. Staff have access to a website that logs information about when the medication was accessed.

Who Do We Consider?


Telehealth: Managing Chronic Conditions: Our Telehealth program includes a base unit that is connected (via Bluetooth or a cord) to monitoring tools (blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter, glucometer, spirometer, weight scale). Telehealth promotes proactive health management by recording and documenting daily vital signs.

Who Do We Consider?

  • Individuals monitoring blood glucose, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, pulse oximetry.
  • Individuals with COPD, congestive heart failure, diabetes, asthma, and/or hypertension.


Environmental Controls: Environmental controls are created by pairing a tablet with other technology that allows the tablet to have access to home features such as lighting, thermostat, television, and door openers.

Who Do We Consider?

  • Individuals with physical disabilities or paralysis who can activate a screen/switch by touch, eyes, or voice.
  • Individuals with fine motor difficulties due to joint/muscular issues.
  • Click Here to Watch Johnathan’s Story


Personal Emergency Response System (PERS): The PERS is our entry level system that uses a wireless pendant to activate a notification to a call center or a responder of your choice. The pendant can be pressed at any time.

Who Do We Consider?

  • Individuals who are capable of pressing a button to call for help.
  • Individuals who may be at risk for falling.
  • Individuals who have visual perception issues that impact balance and mobility.


Arc of NC State Conference Features David Maennle and SimplyHome

“Enabling technology empowers individuals to dream of new possibilities where every person can live a life of their choosing. It should be less about a person’s needs and more about their abilities, capabilities, and potential for success through natural supports.”

- Allen Ray, SimplyHome


This year’s ARC of NC State Conference will feature key presentations by SimplyHome and a Western North Carolina family who uses SimplyHome technology on a daily basis to support more independent living. This year’s conference takes place September 8-9, in Charlotte, NC, and brings together self-advocates, families of people with disabilities, and I/DD professionals to create an informative and inspiring experience aimed at supporting people with disabilities as they pursue their personal goals for work, home, and community.

SimplyHome’s conference presentation will engage families to discuss the life-changing effects of assistive technology and smart home options for people with disabilities. SimplyHome will also partner in a panel on Assistive Technology. David Maennle, an individual who uses SimplyHome technology, and his mother, Becky Garland Hopper, will both participate in this panel, discussing how David’s use of assistive technology supports his vision for his life.

David's VisionDavid Maennle’s story (“David’s Vision”) is a great example of how technology can promote independence and create customized outcomes for people with disabilities. David Maennle is an accomplished young man who won’t take no for an answer. Diagnosed with down syndrome as an infant, David has established very specific goals for his home, workplace, and community. He has graduated from Western Carolina University’s University Participant program, formed friendships with people with and without disabilities, successfully completed internships related to emergency medical care and athletic injuries, obtained a job with the Graham County EMS, and frequently volunteers in his community. David’s coworkers attest that he is a valued member of his workplace and his larger community. David also serves in leadership for the advocacy organization NC-TASH.

David’s mother Becky, an outspoken advocate for inclusion, also has a unique perspective on the use of technology to promote independence for people with disabilities. Becky not only functions as Treasurer for the North Carolina TASH, but also works as Finance Officer of Graham County, NC. Because of her position in finance, Becky is keenly aware that David’s chosen lifestyle not only promotes his desired goals for his life, but ends up being a cost-effective way to support people with disabilities.

David uses a SimplyHome system (a customized integration of assistive technology) to promote residential safety, to adhere to a daily schedule, and to enable his family members to provide a natural level of support without intruding on his independence and privacy. David utilizes customized verbal prompts and various sensors throughout his home to reach outcomes related to cooking his own meals, completing a morning routine of self-care before he heads to work, ensuring he meets his health needs every day, and accessing help quickly if needed.

Comparing North Carolina’s typical costs for providing group home or institution-based support services to someone with disabilities similar to David’s, Becky has calculated that David’s chosen, independent lifestyle, supported by assistive technology, saves the state almost $100,000 annually.


“Beyond cost, the big factor is his quality of life, and his ability to navigate life himself, which is priceless.”

- Becky Garland Hopper


David continues to set and meet goals for his life, whether it be his goal of building his own log cabin, caring for his own bluetick hound, or continuing to work with area emergency services in Western North Carolina.

What can technology do for you and your family? Do you have the courage to change the way you and your loved ones live? Are you ready for technology to step in and provide the independence your family members long for? We’re on this journey together.

Thanks to the willingness of David and other individuals to share their stories, SimplyHome is engaging in thought-provoking discussions on customized technology solutions that promote independence, dignity, and person-centered planning in the lives of people with disabilities.

Sources & Additional Resources:

VA Awards $200,000 Assistive Technology Grant to SimplyHome to Empower Independent Living for Veterans

SimplyHome will develop a platform bridging the gap between voice controls and a wide range of assistive technology in the home

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Aug. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — SimplyHome, LLC, a leader in the field of customized assistive technology, is pleased to announce that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded them a $200,000 Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology (SAHAT) Grant to develop a new platform simplifying the user experience of voice commands to control assistive technology in the home environment of Veterans and Servicemembers.

The purpose of the SAHAT Grant Program, authorized by Congress, is to expand home modification options for Veterans who apply for VA’s Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) benefit, and to augment their options for living independently in their own homes.

When using the new SimplyHome platform, Veterans and Servicemembers with physical disabilities will be able to issue single voice commands to accomplish complex sequences of pre-customized actions. A single command such as “time to go to bed” can lock doors, set the thermostat, and turn off lights in the home.

“Empowering our Veterans to control their home environments is important not only for the quality of life of the individual Veteran and his/her family, but also vital to maintaining the fabric of our communities that depend on these Servicemembers,” says Jason Ray, Vice President of Business Development at SimplyHome.

While the platform that will be developed through the VA Grant is new, SimplyHome has been providing innovative in-home assistive technology solutions since 2004. These solutions address a broad range of concerns, including the management of an individual’s medication, home environment, and health, and can provide immediate notifications to family members or caregivers of the individual.

North Carolina State Senator Thom Tillis and State Representative Mark Meadows recently expressed their support of the VA grant. Tillis attested, “As our communities face an increasing demand for this technology, I believe that SimplyHome will help meet the technological advancements needed.”

In a recent Benefits and Services report published by the VA, more than 4,000,000 Veterans received Disability Compensation in 2015. The SAHAT Grant project, totaling $783,421, will be in effect through September 30, 2017.

About SimplyHome:

SimplyHome designs and installs wireless technology products and related care-focused services. The company is committed to providing affordable and dignified solutions for independent living – specifically to aging and disabled populations nationwide. SimplyHome is known for its highly customizable systems that are tailored to meet each individual’s specific needs.

To learn more about SimplyHome, visit our website or email

This article was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

Media Contact: Kristen Suttles, 1-828-684-8441,

SOURCE SimplyHome, LLC

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Get to Know: Enrique Pineda!



We’re very excited to welcome our newest employee, Enrique Pineda, to the SimplyHome family!  Enrique joins our Product Development team.


Tell us a little bit about your professional background and your new role at SimplyHome:

I’m here to solve software problems, regardless of the form factor of the application. What excites me about my role is the creative problem-solving. I get to choose the solution that best meets the needs of everyone involved.

Before SimplyHome, I was a freelance software developer and consultant. I was not always a software developer. Like many people, my work career has taken me on a diverse path. Although I knew at a very young age I would be involved with computers, I took on many jobs that were not related to computers. Every role I took on throughout my working career has helped shape my character and work ethic.


You’re new to Asheville. What are you looking forward to about Asheville culture?

Whenever I travel, it’s always about the local art, the food, and the people.


What’s your favorite place that you’ve lived?

I’d have to say it’s between Seattle and the Philippines.


Name one of your favorite books or films.

Only ONE?! Not possible.

Films on regular rotation: Pacific Rim, Aliens, Godzilla, Prometheus, The Three Amigos, Brain Candy, and Nacho Libre.

Books…highly influential were Object Orientation, Book of Five Rings, Tao Te Ching, Elric of Melnibone, The Ice Schooner.


When you aren’t working, how do you like to spend your time?

Riding my bike, spending time in my hammock, catching up on movies, reading, or going to the sushi bar. All of these activities put a smile on my face.


If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be?

My family. We’re a riot together. And we will annoy other patrons.


What’s been the best thing about your first week at SimplyHome?

Doing what I love most in my career: Solving important problems that make me feel I’m contributing something meaningful to someone else’s life.


New Employee Welcome – Hannah Kaminer!

We’re very excited to welcome our newest employee, Hannah Kaminer, to the SimplyHome family!  Hannah joins SimplyHome’s Customer Service and Marketing team.

HannahHow long have you lived in Asheville?  

I grew up here and then moved back here in 2011, after living in Texas for a few years. The only things I really miss about Texas, other than the people of course, are the beef brisket and the ubiquitous cowboy boots.

What do you like best about Asheville?

I love that people know how to slow down. They take time to enjoy nature and live music. And I like living in a small enough city that I run into neighbors and friends all the time. It’s nice to feel known.

When you aren’t working, how do you like to spend your time?

I like to play music, rollerblade and hike, and explore Asheville’s food scene with friends.

What’s been the best thing about your first week at SimplyHome?

The best thing about my first week at SimplyHome was that I felt very welcomed! And I also liked that people were trying to help me “learn by doing” from Day 1 – that made me feel like I was going to be part of the team, to already get practice on doing some of my job! Also, I really enjoyed the tour of all snack locations in the office.

What’s been the most surprising thing?

The most surprising thing so far has been getting my own office and computer to work on – and it makes me very happy that there are trees outside my windows!

Any favorite quotes?

“We are more the conduit than the creator of what we express…Art is an act of tuning in and dropping down the well.” – Julia Cameron

New York: Assistive Technology

NY state

How does assistive technology benefit individuals and providers?   Our partner Rick Bahr from Innovative Services, Inc. is addressing the question this week at the South Dakota 2016 Creating Possibilities Conference: Inspiring Creative Minds.  Joining Rick is a New York-based provider we serve, Innovative Resources for Independence (IRI).

IRI is one of 18 providers in NY already utilizing SimplyHome technology to support independence.  IRI opened their first supportive apartment in Brooklyn in 2012.  Today, close to 20 percent of their home residents are living in apartments. With use of the latest technology, staff is immediately alerted to any unusual activity, such as if a front door is left open in the middle of the night, or a stove is left on unattended.

This video demonstrates how SimplyHome technology has helped individuals at IRI live independently.

Wildwood Programs, also located in NY, has transitioned 16 people over the last four years to more independent living settings. On average each year, they have seen $39,000 savings per person. Annually, that is $624,000 in savings for 16 individuals.  By adding assistive technology where applicable, they have already begun expanding the savings and independence.

NY - 74 percent

United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, Inc. (UCP of NYC) are using staff at one location 21 hours per week, versus 24/7, saving them at least $3,000 per month.

Ability Beyond is seeing significant savings  - Their Clapboard program (serving eight individuals), is saving $3.99 for every $1 spent in their first year of using technology. After the first year, they are saving $11.23.  The overall savings after the first year is approximately $8,752.  

Their Liberty program (serving four individuals), is saving $9.05 for every $1 spent in the first year of using technology.  After the first year, they are saving $82.05 for every $1 spent. The below chart demonstrates their overall savings.

NY - Dollars Saved

Who is using the technology?

Jane is 57 years old and lives in a supportive apartment since February 2013.  Each day she demonstrates that she needs minimal supervision.  When she is not working, Jane enjoys cooking, spending time at church or going to the casino for a little escape.

Thomas longed for and even demanded an apartment of his own.  With some very simple supports for front door activity, cooking safety and medication supports, he has made a remarkable transition to his apartment that he shares with a roommate.

George has a history of unstable blood pressure. To help him monitor his health, a telehealth blood pressure cuff (which he operates himself), communicates readings to the nurse immediately if the readings are out of a specified range. The nurse can then analyze trends.

NY - Quote