Specialized Housing, Inc.: A Successful Case Study
In Massachusetts, a group of parents have created a successful organization called Specialized Housing, Inc., to develop condominium housing for and provide support services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “My daughter is having a life that’s far richer than I ever imagined,” says one parent. “It’s impossible to put into words the feeling of having our youngster in a tremendously supportive environment.”
The Support Services
To live in one of the homes, the potential residents must be capable of self-care and occupied during regular business hours in work, training, or a school program. This way support staff, including a house manager, is only required on weekday evenings and weekends. A staff member is available at other times, however, for emergencies.
In addition to the house staff, a clinical supervisor works with each home, as a consultant to the house manager. He or she meets regularly with the residents of the home (without the staff) to discuss the group’s concerns and act as a liaison.
The staff facilitates independent living, serves as a resource to each resident for planning and decision-making, and provides monitoring and encouragement as needed.
Process to Obtain Housing with Specialized Housing, Inc.
- The parents form a group. Their children may work together or go to school together, or the group may have been formed from the Specialized Housing waiting list.
- The parents agree on a convenient location.
- Each family purchases a unit, with the resident, family member, or trust as the owner of record. The unit, purchased like a condominium and financed just like other real estate, includes personal living space for the individual as well as a share in the common areas of the home.
- The condominium association or trust manages the home, including property upkeep, handling financial issues, and managing support services.
- The owners of each unit elect the trustees of the association.
- The families involved help screen new residents and provide organizational and ongoing management support. Residents and their families maintain a high level of control, as well as enjoying the benefits of home ownership.
How Specialized Housing, Inc. Is Funded
- Specialized Housing, Inc. helps track and maximize resident entitlement programs
- Residents and their families meet the expenses of the home, including staff supports.
- Residents and families may enjoy tax benefits of home ownership.