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Letter: Suitable homes are needed for adults with disabilities

Suitable homes are needed for adults with disabilities

Two courageous women were featured recently on a local TV news report on the crisis many families are experiencing in obtaining housing for their adult children with developmental disabilities. The New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities has continued its moratorium on expanding certified settings for those needing an out-of-the-family home. (The moratorium started in 2008).

As a result, more families are experiencing anxiety and desperation because of the uncertainty of when and where their loved one may find a future living situation. There are about 1,000 individuals in Western New York who are on the residential registry with the Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, and each has various levels of urgency for a move.

Importantly, there is an alternative to a certified placement in an individual residential alternative (aka group home). It is called self-directed services or self-determination; and the process can be accessed through one of the local voluntary agencies that provides developmental disabilities’ services. Families can contact their Medicaid service coordinator to find out about the various options.

It is important for families to plan, when not in crisis, for the future for a safe, affordable and appropriate living situation. Even if an individual cannot verbalize needs, family members can help the self-determination planning process. I applaud the women who shared their stories; maybe now more will be done to improve the process.

Max Donatelli