Susan's Blog

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Massachusetts Families: Terrific Opportunity

If you are a  Massachusetts resident living with a developmental disability, or if you are a Massachusetts family with a loved one with this diagnosis, pay heed! Especially if you are unlikely to qualify for a Priority One from the Department of Developmental Services at age 22. Priority One is for the most severe cases. Priority One is residential funding — home and staff. Most people in the DDS system do not qualify.

My favorite nonprofit in the entire world, Autism Housing Pathways has received a grant from the Mass. Developmental Disabilities Council. As part of the grant, Autism Housing Pathways will take a cohort of 12 individuals and families through a process that will enable them to identify housing options suited to their available supports, finances, and interests. They are currently seeking individuals and families to participate. There is no cost to participate. The preferred audience for this process are those not likely to qualify for residential services through the Dept. of Developmental Services at age 22.

What You Will Have to Do As a Participant:
1) Families will participate in a day-long housing workshop, to be held in Framingham, MA on Nov. 8th. Topics covered will include public funding streams, applying for benefits, asset development, calculating what the family can afford, possible ownership models, financing options, location, design, construction, and service providers.

2) Individuals will complete a workbook (either independently or with assistance from a trusted individual) touching on preferred activities, lifestyle and location, and being a good neighbor. The workbook will be available in three formats: one written at an 8th grade reading level; one written at an early elementary reading level; and one comprised of picture-based social stories and sticker activities.

3) Upon completion of the workshop and workbook, individuals and their families will engage in a person-centered planning process, using the PATH tool. While the primary focus will be to develop a housing vision, it will be necessary to include other parts of the personal vision to assure compatibility between housing goals and other personal goals. Each plan will include a pre-meeting with the individual and/or his/her family, as appropriate, to determine whom the individual would like present when the plan is created, and to help the individual begin to reflect on his or her vision; the main meeting, where the individual and those he or she has invited create the plan; and a follow-up meeting a few months later to check in on how things are going in implementing the plan. Person-centered planning meetings will be scheduled at the convenience of the individual and his/her family, but must take place before June 20, 2015.

4) 6 months after completion of the day-long workshop, a questionnaire will be sent to individuals and/or families to determine if a Sec. 8 voucher application has been completed, what benefits have been applied for, whether an asset development strategy has been adopted, and whether their living situation has changed.

Individuals and families MUST commit to the entire process in order to participate in any of it, including the day-long workshop and the workbook. Participants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please contact Cathy Boyle,, 617-893-8217, if interested.

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