Frequently Asked Questions

Have some questions?

L’Arche is a pretty different place – different from many of our fast-paced lives and different from other facilities that provide services to people with disabilities. Find answers to frequently asked questions below. Don’t see the information you need? Email us at

What are three ways L’Arche Syracuse is different from other providers of services to people with developmental disabilities?

First, L’Arche Syracuse considers spirituality – our relationship to God and others, our search for meaning, and owning our vulnerabilities – as vital to nurturing home, a sense of belonging, and personal growth.

Second, L’Arche Syracuse seeks to create a family-like environment in each home by having family style meals together, and encouraging friendships among the core members and assistants.

Third, L’Arche Syracuse embraces the richness of the human family by being one of 18 L’Arche Communities in the U.S. and one of 160 L’Arche Communities in 37 countries around the world.

What does core member mean?

Core members are the adults with intellectual disabilities who have chosen to make L’Arche their home. They are called core members because they are at the core of our community, and because of the similarity to the French word “cœur” (heart) as they are at the heart of everything we do.

What is meant by intellectual disabilities?

People with intellectual disabilities, their life experiences, and their gifts, are diverse. But every person, with or without an intellectual disability, has something unique to them that the world needs. Here at L’Arche we recognize that we need each other’s support.

According to the World Health Organization, an intellectual disability means a “significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn and apply new skills (impaired intelligence). This results in a reduced ability to cope independently (impaired social functioning), and begins before adulthood, with a lasting effect on development.”

What does assistant mean?

An assistant is a trained caretaker who supports core members. They support core members with everything from brushing teeth, preparing food, taking medication, getting to and from places, and much more. They do not do things for core members, they do things with core members, with core members leading assistants in learning and growing as people.

How is L'Arche Syracuse governed?

L’Arche Syracuse is part of the L’Arche International Federation and a member of L’Arche USA. We work with these governing bodies but operate as an independent organization. We have a Board of Directors that oversees our operations as well as a Support Team which oversees the administration of the community. We are licensed service providers in Syracuse, NY where we follow all local, state, and national regulations for service provision.

How can I or my loved one with a disability come to L'Arche Syracuse?

L’Arche Syracuse seeks core members who resonate with our mission. A potential core member must be a resident of the state of NY and approved by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) for IRA Residential Habilitation Services. For more information, please contact the Executive Director at

How can I come to work or to volunteer at L'Arche Syracuse?

Check out our Get Involved page to see the many ways you can be part of L’Arche! We are often looking for new assistants to support core members in our homes.

Is L'Arche Syracuse a religious organization?

L’Arche Syracuse is an interdenominational Christian organization. We welcome people of all faiths and no faiths, and seek to support each person on their spiritual journey. Around the world, L’Arche communities embrace various faiths and philosophical traditions.

How is L'Arche Syracuse funded?

Our funding comes from state and federal government sources as well as individuals, foundations, churches, and others. Donations enable us to live full, community-based lives where everyone’s needs are supported and dreams realized. If you would like to contribute, check out our donation page.

How does a L'Arche community get started?

It takes a lot of effort and patience to start a L’Arche community, usually taking 5 years or more to find space, raise money, become licensed, etc. Contact L’Arche USA if you’re interested in starting a L’Arche community where you live.