The single largest component of our work is helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities find housing that suits their specific needs and priorities. Between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, our Housing Coordinators helped more than 1,400 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities create a housing plan and apply for affordable housing.
Each client has unique housing needs, constraints, and preferences. When a person is referred to Housing Choices by San Andreas Regional Center, a Housing Coordinator helps to create an individual housing plan with input from the client and everyone in that person’s Circle of Support.
Housing Coordinators help clients with their decision-making by discussing their finances, credit history, supportive service needs, household composition, and other background relevant to their housing choices. We help our clients identify and apply for rental properties for which they can income-qualify and that are in the right location. Depending on each person’s income and existing support network, this could involve applying for multiple waiting lists and monitoring waiting list status for several years.
When our clients are called for a housing interview, we also help them in submitting required supporting documentation and background verification. We assist them in understanding deadlines and responsibilities, and take care of the many individual obstacles that inevitably come up during the application process. We make sure property managers grant them any reasonable accommodations that may be warranted because of disabilities. We also help our clients get financial assistance for the security deposit and first month’s rent and have a successful move-in.
The entirety of this process is not easy, nor is it quick. In the words of one parent of an adult with intellectual and developmental disabilities, “The process of applying for and getting an affordable place to live is more daunting than the college application and financial aid process my other children have had to complete.” This is exactly why the work we do is so important and so necessary.