Shelter is one of life’s basic necessities. Yet simply because something is necessary, does not mean that it is easy to acquire.
Perhaps this sobering truth is best known by aging parents of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), who wonder where their adult child will live, and how he or she will be cared for, when they are no longer around.
Housing for individuals with I/DD is a complex mosaic with pieces uniquely shaped to each person’s particular needs and circumstances. In crafting this mosaic, there are three key questions that will help to guide you along the way:
- Where is Your Future Home?
The first piece of the mosaic is identifying where the individual would like to live. In the past, many individuals relied upon the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to provide a house for their loved one, often referred to as a group home. It is true that DDS still operates some group homes, as well as other types of living arrangements. For example, Governor Malloy’s proposed budget for 2018/2019 allocates $1 million in funding for Community Companion Homes, which are akin to foster homes for adults with I/DD. However, despite the fact that these housing options are still technically available, there is a long waiting list to access these locations. Most often, individuals on the waiting list are only served in an emergency situation, meaning that they have no living parent or alternative caregiver. As a result, families of individuals with I/DD are left to search for the brick and mortar location that their loved one will call home. This typically means independently finding a house, condominium, or apartment to purchase or rent.
- How to Pay for Your Future Home?
Of course, a necessary component of where an individual will live is how the housing expenses will be paid. Parents need to consider what public and private resources are available to cover the carrying costs of the home, as well as other living expenses. Public resources may include social security benefits, rental subsidies, energy assistance, food stamps, and more. In addition, parents may also consider whether roommates would be able to help defray living expenses, such as the cost of rent and utilities.
- How Are Services and Supports Provided in Your Future Home?
The last and most critical consideration is how the individual’s particular needs will be met within the living environment. This includes identifying the public benefit programs, such as Medicaid, that will provide the necessary supports and services in the home. If an individual’s service needs cannot be met, then the entire living arrangement will fall apart. Once again, roommates may help to reduce the costs of vital supports and services. For example, if two individuals with I/DD need an overnight caregiver, the roommates can split the cost of one caregiver, essentially doubling their overall service budgets.
While shelter is a basic necessity, finding appropriate and sustainable housing for individuals with I/DD is a complex mosaic that can be challenging to craft.
When you need a hand putting all the housing pieces in place for your child, give us a call. We can help guide you so that you are able to rest easy, knowing that your child will have a home and supports that are best tailored to his or her lifelong needs.