As parents, we often dream of the day when our son or daughter will be able to move out of our home and begin to create a home of their own. But what happens when your child has autism? Will they be able to live on their own or will they need support? If so, how much support? And who pays for all this?
In Washington State there are several housing options depending on the needs of the person. Supports can vary from a few hours a month to 24-hour supervision. Obtaining these housing options can depend on many variables, such as how much support the person needs and what kind of benefits they are eligible for. Examples of some housing options are outlined below, but keep in mind that the individual you are supporting may or may not be eligible for each of these options. We recommend you talk with your service providers and case manager to determine your eligibility and discuss what options might be most appropriate.
Supported Living Services offer instruction and support to persons who live in their own homes in the community. Supports may vary from a few hours per month up to 24 hours per day of one-to-one support. Clients pay for their own rent, food, and other personal expenses. The Division of Developmental Disabilities(DDD) contracts with private agencies to provide Supported Living services.
State Operated Living Alternatives (SOLA)
SOLA programs offer Supported Living services. SOLA programs are operated by DDD with state employees providing instruction and support to clients.
Group Homes are community-based residences serving 2 or more adult clients and are licensed as either a boarding home or an adult family home. Group Homes contract with DDD to provide 24-hour instruction and support.
Alternative Living Services
Alternative Living Services are instructional services provided by an individual contractor. The service focuses on community-based individualized training to enable a client to live as independently as possible with minimal residential services.
Residential Habilitation Centers (RHC)
RHCs are state-operated residential settings that provide habilitation training, 24-hour supervision, and medical/nursing services for clients who meet Medicaid eligibility and need active treatment services.
Due to budget cuts there is limited availability of state-provided housing and residential supports for adults with developmental disabilities. Many individuals and families have found ways to create unique housing options that fits the needs of their son or daughter. This may involve connecting and networking with other individuals and families and combining resources. Some families have found ways to partner with government agencies, property owners, and communities to create new supportive living situations. Sherry McNary is the Project Manager of the ‘My Home, My Life’ Family Network Groups. Her group works with individuals and families who come together to discuss ideas on creative housing solutions in King County.
The ARC of King County recommends the following resources for those who are looking into housing options for their son or daughter.
- -Residential and In-home Support Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
- -Questions to Ask Providers when Making Decisions About Residential Supports for Family Members With Disabilities
- -Seattle/King County Contracted Residential Support Providers
Two additional resources that families may find helpful when looking into housing: