Developing a housing strategy using AFC (our 2017 Autism Month housing Tweets)

In honor of Autism Month, Autism Housing Pathways described ways to develop a housing strategy based on MassHealth’s Adult Family Care/Adult Foster Care program. The outline was issued as a series of daily Tweets in April. Here they are, in a single post. Bear in mind, this strategy is specific to Massachusetts.

  1. It’s Autism Month. Let’s look at developing a housing plan, one Tweet at a time.
  2. The Adult Family Care (AFC) program can pay you to provide support to your adult child who lives with you.
  3. AFC is a program of MassHealth. MassHealth is Medicaid. Changes to Medicaid could endanger AFC.
  4. To qualify for AFC, your child must need prompting with 1 or more activities of daily living. You can’t be the guardian.
  5. Consider saving the AFC stipend (not in your child’s name). It’s yours, and it’s tax free.
  6. Get your child on the Section 8 waiting list at 18 (or NOW, if they’re over 18). Go to to learn how.
  7. It may be a 10 year wait to get a Section 8 voucher. Work on living skills while you wait.
  8. Are you saving the AFC stipend? If your family member waits 10 years for Sec. 8, that’s a $90K nest egg.
  9. Section 8 is a part of HUD. A 13% cut in the HUD budget is proposed. The wait for a voucher could get longer.
  10. Your child is at the top of the Sec. 8 list! What’s your plan? You’ve only got 60 days (120 w/extension) to use the voucher.
  11. One option: your child could rent a two bedroom apt. w/ Sec. 8. An Adult Foster Care provider could move in, too.
  12. You could add a 2 bedroom accessory unit to your house for your child and an Adult Foster Care provider.
  13. How to pay to add on the accessory unit? You saved the Adult Family Care stipend, right? It’s a start.
  14. You could supplement what you saved from AFC with up to $30K from the Home Modification Loan Program.
  15. Need some more? Consider a home equity loan. Assume construction costs of at least $200/sq. ft.
  16. Make sure local zoning permits accessory units (possibly via a special permit). Otherwise, you may need to move first.
  17. S. 729 would allow accessory units for a disabled family member as of right on lots of 5,000+ sq. ft.
  18. Or you could buy a condo for your child with space for an Adult Foster Care provider, using the AFC savings for a down payment.
  19. Need a mortgage? Fannie Mae lets you get a 5% down mortgage to buy a home for a disabled adult child.
  20. Your child uses Sec. 8 to pay you rent; you use the rent to pay the mortgage.
  21. Can’t carry (or qualify) for two mortgages? One option is to sell your house and buy a duplex.
  22. Or you could consider buying a three-family, and using the rent from the third unit for respite, maintenance, etc.
  23. Or you could buy that three family with another family; the kids live together with an Adult Foster Care provider.
  24. Whatever you do, try to get individual support hours from DDS to help your child work on skills and get into the community.
  25. Look into assistive technology to help increase your child’s independence.
  26. If eligible, apply for the DDS Adult Supports waiver, to help secure ongoing access to supports.
  27. For those on a DDS waiver, ½ of costs are paid by Medicaid. Does your child go to Day Hab? That’s Medicaid, too.
  28. If Congress block grants Medicaid, that could end the entitlement to AFC, PCA, and Day Hab.
  29. The Devil is in the details. Come to a daylong housing workshop.
  30. Consider individualized housing counseling.

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