Green House Blog

Green House in Wyoming: A Story of Firsts

In 2007, Doug Osborn and Charles Scott of the Wyoming legislature brought a bill up for consideration. The bill would authorize three pilot projects, in three different communities in Wyoming, to study alternative elderly care homes. 

The passage of the bill was a catalyst for radical change in eldercare in Wyoming. Prior to this bill, Osborn and others had traveled to Tupelo MS to study the Green House model of care. They decided to bring it back to the community of Sheridan. 

Two cottages finished construction at the end of 2011, while two more finished in early 2012. The four cottages at Green House Living for Sheridan opened to residents on January 31 of 2012.

But what is truly remarkable about Green House Living for Sheridan is that it was built not by an established religious organization or nursing home company. Instead, it was conceptualized, funded, and constructed from the ground up by the individuals living in Sheridan. 

When it was built, Sheridan held the audacious title of being the only grassroots Green House community in the nation. 

The Wyoming Life Resource Center 

For a state that set one record with the conception of its first Green House home, it’s no surprise that they’re on track to set another. 

The Wyoming Life Resource Center (WLRC) in Lander, Wyo., is a state-owned Green House community that has long served the needs of the Wyoming population and is being rebuilt as the first Green House home to be established as an Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) for people with intellectual disabilities, in addition to housing cottages established as a traditional skilled nursing facility (SNF). In accordance with federal Medicare and Medicaid regulations, this means that WLRC will serve people who have organic brain syndrome, high medical needs, and those who are “hard to place.”

Construction began in 2018 will host a total of 100 beds in 10 cottages, all built using the Green House model. There are four types of cottages in terms of licensure—ICF Medical Cottages, ICF Behavioral Cottages, SNF Medical Cottages, and SNF Behavioral Cottages. The campus also includes a recreation center with a pool, therapies and gym, an outpatient clinic with a pharmacy and lab, and a kitchen (existing) with a pharmacy and lab. 

Doug Osborn has since passed away, but his legacy lives on in the Green House community he helped to create.

The WLRC is an example of how best to meet the needs of diverse people with diverse needs, all under the Green House core values of Real Home, Meaningful Life, and Empowered Staff. The model of WLRC is innovation at its core. It sets an example that many residential care facilities across the U.S, Green House or not, are looking to replicate and learn from. 

What Is it About Wyoming? 

What is it about Wyoming that makes it such a hotspot for the sort of tenacious idealism demonstrated by Sheridan and WLRC? Former director of WLRC, Virginia Wright, describes it well: “Because we are a small state, we have a different mindset than some of the larger states. We still look at people as people and not just as numbers. I’ve worked in many states, and I have never seen as high of standards as I have seen here.” 

With Wyoming proving what’s possible in terms of diverse eldercare, it’ll be exciting to see how the eldercare landscape across the country shifts in response. 

Spring Has Sprung at the Green House Homes in Sheridan, Wyoming

The weather has warmed and melted away the white of winter.  We honor and love our elders while we welcome the new life of spring with open arms.  Spring can mean baby season around here!




lamb-turnedOur MDS Coordinator, Shelly Jelly, brought in two motherless day old lambs. You can see our Social Services coordinator holding them at her desk.
A Shahbaz from Whitney cottage came up on her time-off to bring her Clydesdale to meet the elders of GHL. Elders from all four cottages stood out in the sunshine to see and pet the gentle giant of a horse. elder-rubbing-nose-of-horse_cropped1
Our own Dietary Mentor, Emily, brought in her three new baby chicks of this spring.  They were a hit with their happy peeping that brought spring sounds indoors.

elder-and-baby-birdTwo brand new baby calves enjoyed the warm weather on the other side of our ranch neighbor’s fence.
walking-with-elder-in-wyomingOur elders enjoy walks outdoors with our Shahbazim, as can be see with elder Lois Brandjord and Shahbaz Itealya. They got to see the mother cows and the brand new babies.

People are even bringing their own babies into GHL.  You can see Harold Sethne from Scott cottage holding a newborn from his family.elder-and-new-baby_cropped1

It’s the energetic youth and new birth that brings such life to our Green House community.  There is so much joy to be shared when we all gather to nurture and love the babies of our spring.elder-and-staff-and-horse_cropped

We thank Lynnea for her story of Spring and the photos! Lynnea is the Guide and Educator, Green House Living for Sheridan.


Green House Living for Sheridan Opening Celebration

Remarks of Robert Jenkens, Director, The Green House Project at The Green House Living for Sheridan opening celebration on 2/27:

It is a real pleasure to be here today to offer congratulations to The Green House Living for Sheridan team and board, from The Green House Project, NCB Capital Impact, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Sheridan Green House project is the 29th to open in the United States. This is a significant accomplishment for any organization and it puts Sheridan’s efforts squarely in the pioneering group of Green House adopters.

It takes skill, hard work, and courage to be among the first of a radically new approach. But it takes audacity and vision to take on a transformative innovation as a start-up community led organization. The Green House team has talked to many citizen groups interested in bringing the Green House model of skilled nursing home care to their community. All of these groups have the passion for change, but very few are able to bring this model to fruition.

When I first met Doug, Carmen, and Keith at the Green House workshop in Tupelo, MS in 2006, I knew they represented a group who could succeed. The first sign I had was that they walked right up to the front of the room and took up positions directly across from the podium. Nobody has done this before or after.

The second sign was the questions they asked. Despite being surrounded by experienced nursing home CEOs, CFO’s, and DONs, they were not intimidated. Their questions were intense and smart.

The third sign was the emotion in their eyes. Their commitment to bringing a new long-term care choice to the people they cared passionately about, their friends and neighbors in Sheridan, was clear. It was obvious to me that very little was going to stand in their way. I assume that audacity is a Wyoming trait?

And so it is with the deepest gratitude that I thank The Green House Living for Sheridan Board, Team, and community for a culture of audacity that has made you such good partners to The Green House team, NCB capital Impact, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Congratulations again for the skill, perseverance, and sacrifice that were necessary to convert your passion into the first community-led skilled nursing Green House homes to open in the country.

Green House Living for Sheridan

Sheridan, WY

Operating: 0
In Development: 4
Square Feet per Home: 0

“Have you heard about The Green House Project?” This question was first asked several years ago by a caregiver at the Sheridan Senior Center in Sheridan, Wyoming. The Center later participated in the PBS documentary, “And Thou Shalt Honor,” a poignant film illustrating the many aspects of caregiving. Again, they were asked if they had heard of The Green House Project. After observing the Center’s passion for improving the lives of elders, the filmmaker commented, “Sheridan would be a great place to get this started!” Guided by an interdisciplinary team of community, industry, and government leaders, Green House Living for Sheridan will build four homes on more than two acres of land, conveniently located one mile west of the Sheridan Memorial Hospital.

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