The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council has awarded $20,000 to Autism Housing Pathways (AHP) to provide housing training. The grant will fund a four-part project, the purpose of which is to help individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to develop a housing strategy, take concrete steps to implement it, understand how to maintain tenancy, and participate in advocating for their housing needs.
Three distinct cohorts will be involved in three activities: 1) 12 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families; 2) at least 6 family members of students with developmental disabilities who attend Boston Public Schools; and 3) at least 5 individuals with autism able to read at the 8th grade reading level. The first group will participate in a process comprising 4 steps: parents or other relevant family members participate in a daylong housing workshop; individuals complete a housing workbook; individuals (with family assistance, where necessary) complete applications for the Section 8 Centralized Waiting List and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) regional non-profit Section 8 list; and individuals and families participate in person-centered planning. The second group will participate in a 4 hour workshop that includes both a presentation focused on housing options for individuals whose families are unable to help them financially, and hands-on assistance in completing relevant housing applications, including the DHCD Universal Application. Materials will be developed for the workshop in six languages, in addition to English. The third group will complete an online multi-module curriculum on how to be a tenant.
In addition, AHP will reach out to families, including past participants in our programs, to enlist them in a fourth activity: testifying to the legislature about zoning reform that could increase the ability of families to create housing for their family members with developmental disabilities.
AHP will collaborate with Person-Centered Planning Partners to provide person-centered planning for participants in the first group.
This grant builds on previous support from the Mass. Developmental Disabilities Council, which made it possible for AHP to develop housing workbooks, fund daylong housing workshops, and to provide person-centered planning for 30 individuals and their families in 2015 and 2016.
Individuals and families interested in being considered for the first and third training cohorts should contact Catherine Boyle at AHPhousing@comcast.net. Those who meet criteria will be accepted on a first come-first serve basis. Participants in the first cohort should be 18 or older, and unlikely to be prioritized for 24/7 residential supports by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). Those in the third group should be individuals with autism reading at or above the 8th grade reading level who are willing and able to participate in a multi-part online course, and who have reliable internet access. Members of the second cohort will be recruited with the assistance of transition professionals in the Boston Public Schools. Those interested may contact Catherine Boyle, but final decisions on participation will be made in consultation with others. Participants in all cohorts must commit to completing the full training process.