Learn more about important items to consider when finding a home.
There are many options for where adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) could live. Some people with I/DD may live independently, with other family members after they leave their parents’ home, or in a community-based setting with support. It’s important to determine the level of support needed by the person with I/DD when exploring the housing options available in your community.
In a 2019 study that asked people with I/DD and family members about leaving their family home, people shared how important it is to find a home that fits the needs of a person with I/DD. However, this home also needs to support people to be independent, allow them the opportunity to see friends, engage in relationships, and be a valued and respected member of the home and community. People shared that it is important that people with I/DD are at the center of this decision-making process.
Start exploring housing options early to find a good match for the person with I/DD. One size doesn’t fit all and assessing support needs is critical. Housing is also in short supply in many communities. Determine eligibility for funding and services if you are seeking public funding through programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other community-based supports.
It’s never too early to get started. Take action - learn about residential options and available resources. Contact the state I/DD agency or a chapter of The Arc if you need help in navigating options in your state and local community.
Exploring Housing and Residential Options
In-person and virtual housing tours can provide the family and person with I/DD an opportunity to see a vision of what community living can look like in the future. Visits can also provide a sense of what the person likes and dislikes, and the pros and cons of different types of housing in your area.
A variety of housing exists for adults with I/DD to live in the community. Check in with your state and local community to see what options exist in your area. Here are some of the typical options for community living:
- With family
- In a home you own
- In a home or apartment you rent
- In someone else’s home (often called “shared living”)
- In housing owned by a service provider, such as a group home.
States and communities often use different names for different kinds of housing. Important items to consider when learning about different kinds of housing include:
- Do you have a lease?
- Does a person with I/DD have one or more roommate(s).
- How much privacy is available?
- How much control does a person have over living space and who comes and goes?
It is important to have a clear understanding of the available sources of funds. The following are some potential sources of funding to consider:
- A person’s own income, from employment, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance, or other sources
- I/DD agency or other state agency support
- Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) or other state or local housing assistance
- Medicaid Waiver – the waivers do not pay for rent or a mortgage, but can pay for in-home support and community-based services.
Finding a housing option that fits the needs of a person with I/DD can be a difficult and emotional task. Understand the limitations and eligibility of each funding program and its impact on eligibility for other services and supports.
Ask for help from a family member, friend, professional, or a chapter of The Arc. Please note that Chapters of The Arc vary in size and in the services they provide. If you need further assistance, please contact The Arc’s national office through our online form or by phone at 202-617-3268.