Intensive Support • First Decisions • Goal 1:
Identify Appropriate Housing
Action step 1.
Assess your living situation and needs.
If you or an autistic family member needs support throughout the day for regular tasks, you may be looking for long-term supportive housing. If possible, a person with autism should evaluate with caregivers what supports they typically require, so that they remain engaged in the process to build a supportive lifestyle.
Assessing how a housing environment fits a person’s needs is known as a “scan.”
Every person is unique: One person’s needs may include intensive help with some tasks but not with others, and it’s important to know what is on that list of necessary support before finding housing options. Making a scan of needs – assisted by a clinical expert or trusted person if necessary - will help everyone to identify the balance of independence and support possible.
Words to know
Action step 2.
Select a style of supported housing that best fits your needs and wants.
Once you or a family member with autism has a list of needs and wants, you can begin to explore housing options more effectively. You can explore various housing options, including options that offer intensive structured supports available 24 hours a day, using key resources listed below. Our Resource Guide also can assist your search.
A person who needs support is entitled to have a home that meets their needs. Federal nondiscrimination laws require housing providers to make reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications for individuals with disabilities.
If you or a family member requires an accommodation to housing to make it liveable, discuss with a wider support network how best to raise this with a housing provider to find a tailored solution.
- From Autism Speaks, an overview of housing types and the levels of support available
- From the Autism Speaks Resource Guide on finding housing and residential supports near you
- From the Autism Speaks Housing and Residential Supports Tool Kit, on starting the search and planning needs
- From the department of Housing and Urban Development's outline of federal law on rights and reasonable accommodations in housing for people with disabilities
Words to know
Action step 3.
Continue to refine services and supports.
When you or someone with autism is planning for housing needs, it is key to consult early on with a support network to decide which HCBS services to apply for.
The term Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) refers to in-home and community assistance for people with autism, provided by state and local government and connected organizations. The federal HCBS waiver is a Medicaid program that helps states to provide assistance with services like day-to-day health and personal care, transportation, long-term and respite care and other means to help support the individual and their caregiver.
Applications for services take time to process. Eligibility for HCBS usually starts at 18, and may include housing provision for people on a low income.
Each person’s support network, including medical doctors, any caregivers and even a specialized needs planner can advise and support them in this decision.
- From Autism Speaks, an overview of the funding and models for housing options
- From Medicaid.gov on how states and federal agencies provide HCBS resources
- From Medicaid.gov on federal HCBS waiver programs by state
- From Medicaid on Home and Community Based Services
- From a blog post by Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty, mother of an autistic son, describing the challenges of seeking adult services
- From a blog post on eligibility for autistic people to Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income