Autism Housing Pathways (AHP) has released the results of its 2021-2022 housing survey. The survey focused on Massachusetts adults with autism, and updates the results of AHP’s 2011-2012 survey.
The data, elicited from 359 respondents, shine a light on gaps in the current menu of services, including:
- Half of the individuals represented in the survey have too many skills to qualify for 24/7 residential supports from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) or for MassHealth’s state plan services but lack the skills to live independently.
- There is no housing pipeline for individuals with intensive support needs who lack an intellectual disability.
- Residential staff need training to work with individuals with intensive support needs.
- Drop-in services for prompting through daily living activities are not available in most housing situations.
- Workforce shortages impact the ability of individuals to live with support in the community.
- Innovative approaches are needed to support those who have difficulty with initiating skills or who freeze when something goes wrong.
- Without adequate support for appointment, paperwork, and money management, individuals risk falling through the safety net.
- A lack of environmental modifications in rental housing puts individuals and families at risk of eviction.
- People lack awareness of existing benefits, and especially of affordable housing programs.
The results paint a detailed picture of housing needs. Some sense of the scale of the demand can be seen in AHPs previous extrapolation from special education data and the CDC’s autism incidence data. That calculation indicated that 625-650 adults with autism per year are likely to need affordable, supported housing beyond that provided through the Department of Developmental Services and MassHealth’s Adult Foster Care program.
The survey report also considers options for remedying the gaps. These measures would require legislative, regulatory, and procedural change. Examples include:
- Modifying the MassHealth Personal Care Attendant program to cover drop-in services for prompting.
- Making accessory dwelling units created to provide housing for persons with disabilities exempt from local zoning.
- Requiring a percentage of units in new multi-family rental housing to include the most commonly needed environmental modifications.
- Requiring that a percentage of housing funded through the Qualified Allocation Plan and/or the Facilities Consolidation Fund serve DDS clients who do not require an institutional level of care.
AHP is a Massachusetts non-profit dedicated to helping individuals and their families to identify or create sustainable, supportive housing options for adults with developmental disabilities. Founded in 2010, it is a membership organization run by and for families.
AHP presented the results of the survey on November 15th, 2022. The recording of the presentation is here:
For more information, contact Catherine Boyle, president of Autism Housing Pathways, at 617-893-8217, firstname.lastname@example.org.