Autism Housing Pathways has received a $20,000 grant from the Mass. Developmental Disabilities Council. The grant will fund a project called “Clearing a Path to Innovative Housing”. The purpose of the project is to educate families, other stakeholders, and the general public about the necessity and practicalities of creating alternative housing, and the elements necessary to facilitate such creation.
On a micro level, 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. Families will participate in a day-long housing workshop, and 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. Individuals and their families will then participate in a person-centered planning process, with the goal of developing a housing vision.
On a macro level, AHP, in collaboration with other housing and disability organizations and advocates, plans to develop a model zoning bylaw, that would make a two-bedroom accessory apartment for people with disabilities a by-right use in municipalities where it is adopted. A presentation about the bylaw will be developed and presented to multiple policy making bodies. In addition, AHP will, via traditional and social media, circulate articles and letters about the need for alternative housing options, and the importance of asset development, access to financing, and supportive zoning. The target audience for these will include individuals and families, stakeholders and the general public.
By the end of the project, individuals and families participating in training and person-centered planning should have a housing vision backed by a clear understanding of what benefits need to be a part of supporting it, and what they can afford to contribute. Other individuals and families, who are reached by the media campaign, should have a better understanding of the benefits and resources available, and the need to plan for alternative housing options.