FOREST CITY | Corbin Smith likes to say he's "king of the castle."
The 20-year-old was the first individual receiving support from Mosaic's Northern Iowa region to be placed in a host home through a program called Mosaic at Home.
October 8 of this year was the second anniversary of his coming to live with Terri and Ed Christopherson of Forest City.
"He's more in charge of his life than he was before," said Terri, worked for 13 years at Mosaic, which advocates for people with intellectual disabilities and provides opportunities for them.
When Corbin was living in one of Mosaic's residential group homes with 24/7 staff supervision, he had to get up at 6 a.m., but now he can sleep until 9 a.m.
He prefers that because he's a bit of a night owl.
"I don't go to bed until 11 p.m. sometimes," he said.
He also gets to choose his own clothes now.
Having more independence has made Corbin more responsible.
Terri said his bedroom used to be "a disaster area."
However, his room is now very clean, she said.
When Corbin got mad, he used to attack people, according to Terri. Now that he's living with her and Ed, "he doesn't do that anymore," she said.
The amount of medication he has to take has even been reduced.
Corbin enjoys teasing Terri and Ed, and they tease him right back.
Corbin said he gets along with Terri "sometimes, when she's good."
Terri laughed and said, "Same to you."
Kelly Meyer, independent contract program manager for Mosaic in Northern Iowa, said when she took the job in August 2017, the region had just 13 host homes.
As of Dec. 1 of this year, that number had grown to 25.
Most of the host homes in the Northern Iowa region are in Forest City, Clarion and Waukon, where Mosaic has offices.
There's also a few in communities like Fort Dodge and Spirit Lake, according to Meyer.
In Hancock County there's a host home in Kanawha and another in Garner.
The idea behind the host homes is to have individuals supported by Mosaic living in a more homelike environment.
"They have their own individual setting where they can really grow," Meyer said.
Corbin's mother, Heather Smith, said he's happier and more outgoing in his new home.
"Terri and Ed are great with him," she said.
Terri and Heather are very close and do a lot of things together with Corbin.
Corbin loves to go shopping and go out to eat. He's also a big fan of the Green Bay Packers and likes Monster Jam trucks.
Terri and Ed once took him to see Monster Jam in Des Moines and he met all the drivers.
When the warm weather months, Terri drives Corbin around town in a golf cart.
This summer they rode the cart in the Puckerbrush Parade and handed out candy and crayons.
"He loves his tablet," Terri said, noting he likes to look up information on carnival rides, superheroes and Monster Trucks.
The Christophersons have a dog, Chiquita, and a kitten named Stormy.
When they were looking for a kitten on Facebook, Corbin chose Stormy because "she's got a disability like I do."
Terri said when they first got Stormy, she couldn't move her leg because she had pulled a nerve in it, but she's better now.
Corbin eventually will lose the mobility in his leg.
Terri said she and Ed have a plan for when this happens. They will get a bed for him downstairs so he can be there during the day and install a lift so he can go up the stairs at night.
Individuals placed in host homes still need someone around during the day to take them to appointments and make sure they take their medications.
For this reason, host families receive money from Medicaid so one adult in the household doesn't have to work outside of the home.
Parents aren't permitted to host their own children through the Mosaic at Home program.
When Corbin went to live with the Christophersons, Heather was working at Winnebago Industries. Corbin went to stay with her every other weekend.
Heather said she was inspired by Corbin's great experience with the Christopherson's to leave her job at Winnebago and open her own home to another individual supported by Mosaic.
Brian Schimmels, 23, moved into her home on Nov. 28.
Heather said now that she's no longer working outside the home, Corbin can come see her more often.
"Brian is a good role model for Corbin," she said.
The two young men have a lot in common and are becoming great friends.
"They are already calling each other brothers," Terri said.