- More and better housing options
- Fewer rules about meals, bedtimes, curfews
- The ability to make new friends and have pets
- Participation in decisions about where and with whom to live
Where Will I Live?
Like many of us when we search for housing, people with disabilities have a list of what they're looking for in a new place to live. They want more choices, better options, and the ability to live in their communities. That shouldn't be a tall order, but for many reasons--funding, lack of support staff, few housing options, lack of access to transportation--finding the right housing for adults with disabilities can be a challenge.
The Future: New Models, New Supports
Nationwide, there have been some new housing and community support model success stories. We'll provide links to some examples below. We'll also provide links to some Indiana housing resources, too.
States, parents, and individuals with disabilities around the country are exploring:
- integrated living-working housing arrangements, like urban farms;
- matching people with disabilities with direct support professionals who need housing or with families who provide care and support in their homes;
- smart home and universal design technologies that allow more folks to live independently with fewer supports; and
- individual apartments structured around a shared living space, which provides space for an on-site caregiver to either live in one of the apartments or space for a community provider to manage care.
Here in Indiana, Medicaid service administrators are currently looking toward the future by redesigning the state's Medicaid waivers. Medicaid Home-and-Community-Based-Service waivers provide the majority of residential funding and long-term services and supports for people with disabilities.
There are different types of waivers, so the type of housing you live in often depends on what waiver or other resources you have. The majority of adults with disabilities in the state continue to live with their families (although many would like to live in their own home or with a roommate); some live in group homes; and some live in supported living apartments, often with roommates who also have disabilities.
As you search for what works for you, remember that one size does not fit all. If you are a person with a disability, be sure to speak up about what you want. If you're supporting a person with a disability, be sure to involve that person in the research, planning, and decisions about housing.
Adria's Suggestions: Housing Options and Other Resources
These suggestions from Adria (read more about Adria, here) and other resources below may help you explore housing options or find supports. If you have Medicaid waiver supports, talk to your case manager about the possibilities. And whether or not you receive benefits, you'll also want to do some online research, look into roommate options, research ways to save for housing (e.g. Individual Savings Accounts or ABLE Accounts), and consult a Center for Independent Living in your area.
2019 Housing Study--information and results from the national Arc's survey of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
ABLE Accounts--special saving and investment accounts to help eligible people with disabilities save for qualified purchases, including rent or housing expenses. ABLE accounts of less that $100,000 do not impact an individual's Social Security or Medicaid benefits.
Autism Housing Network--a national website featuring information about housing models, networking, and funding. The site includes a searchable map with links to a variety of housing models throughout the U.S.
Cass Housing--a non-profit housing development group providing independent and family living models in northeast Indiana.
Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority--information about Section 8 Housing Vouchers, homebuyer programs, and energy assistance.
Indiana Centers for Independent Living--a list of the state's non-profit agencies that promote empowerment and an independent living philosophy. Each center's service and focus may vary, so ask questions! See also, the Indiana Resource Center for Autism's article, "What are Independent Living Centers?" which presents an overview of the types of services and programs that may be available through Indiana's 10 centers.
Individual Development Accounts--a special matched savings account for people with low incomes that could help them save toward a down payment or funds to help them with rehabbing a house.
Programs for Elderly and Persons with Disabilties--information from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (see above) on tax credits, rental assistance, and grants for local government that can be used to help residents improve the accessibility of their housing.