Housing

There is a variety of housing options for individuals with developmental disabilities that accommodate different levels of functioning and levels of support needed, from minimal supervision and support to 24-hour supervision and care.

Costs of housing, funding sources and availability are all factors that must be considered when choosing housing. Contact your child's county case manager for more detailed information on eligibility requirements and funding streams. There may be waiting lists.

Housing Options

Adult Foster Care – Adult foster care homes are a type of residential housing. Adult foster care homes can accommodate up to five people and provide meals, sleeping accommodations and supervision. The rooms may be private or shared, and there are common dining, bathing and other areas. They can be family owned (where the license holder lives on site), or corporate owned (where the license holder does not live on site and may not be the primary caregiver).

Board and Lodge – Board and Lodges offer sleeping accommodations and meals for five or more adults for a period of one week or more. Board and Lodges can vary greatly in size – from homes to apartment buildings. Rooms can be private or shared, and there are common areas for dining. Some Board and Lodges offer housekeeping services.

Boarding Care – Boarding Care homes offer personal or custodial care for individuals that need minimal nursing care. Homes serve five or more older adults or individuals with disabilities. Rooms are private or shared, with a common dining area.

Co-Housing – In a Co-Housing Situation, individuals rent or purchase units or homes clustered around a common courtyard area. Residents participate in decision making regarding housing design and all have some private space as well as some shared space. Common areas include kitchen and dining areas, open space, playgrounds and rec/leisure space.

Community Land Trust (CLT) – A Community Land Trust is newer, more affordable home ownership option for people with disabilities. A Community Land Trust acquires and holds an area of land permanently in a long-term agreement in a community. Homes can then be purchased less expensively, as they are buying only for the house and not the land.

Family Home – Some individuals choose to continue to living in the family home after they reach adulthood or may purchase a home of their own. There are a variety of possible services to support individuals who chose to stay in the family home.

Home Rental/Ownership – Owning or renting a home, including sharing a home with another individual(s) is an option for some people. Location, cost, accessibility and maintenance costs (for home owners) are some things to consider with this option.

Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (ICF/DD) – An intermediate care facility is a licensed residential facility that serves individuals with developmental disabilities or related conditions that require 24-hour care, including meals and supervision, and can serve anywhere from 4 to 64 persons. Services provided vary according to the treatment plan, but can include functional skill development and opportunities to participate in the community. Individuals must meet Medical Assistance income and asset requirements.

Respite Care – Is for families that care for their child in their home, but need temporary breaks from caregiving. Individuals may receive care in their own homes or at a respite care site.

Semi-Independent Living Services (SILS) – SILS is for individuals at least 18 years old who can function with only minimal supports and need less than 24-hour supervision. Some training service options are learning shopping and community living skills, learning appropriate social behavior, money management, self-care skills, recreation and leisure skills, and other skills to help individuals maintain or increase their ability to live in the community to lead self-directed lives.

Supervised Living Services (SLS) – A Supervised Living Services is a type of residential housing that can accommodate up to 5 people that require a 24-hour plan of care and daily supervision to assist with behavior, medical and developmental issues. A group home is one type of SLS.

Finding Housing

There are several resources to help with the process of finding housing

Craigslist

A list for housing and shared housing availability.

Housing Access Services – The Arc of Minnesota

Housing Access Services helps adult Minnesotans of all ages who have been assessed as eligible for Minnesota Medicaid home care or waiver services and who want to move to homes of their own.

Housing Project – PACER Center

The goal of PACER's Housing Project is to develop information and resources to help parents of children and young adults with disabilities understand their options for finding independent living and housing.

HousingLink

Search for affordable housing resources and information in Minnesota.

Low Rent Apartment Search

Offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Low Rent Apartment Search allows you to search for available apartments by zip code.

MN Openings

DHS and the Metro Crisis Coordination Program are announcing a new website, MNOpenings.org, where licensed residential providers can post openings for individuals with a developmental disability or related condition.  For those looking for residential openings, the site will help you narrow your search by area as well as types of homes, funding types, and home features.

Funding for Housing

There are government resources to help fund housing for people with disabilities.

Group Residential Housing Assistance

Group Residential Housing (GRH) pays for room and board for seniors and adults with disabilities who have low incomes. The program aims to reduce and prevent people from living in institutions or becoming homeless.

Housing Choice Vouchers Fact Sheet (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)

The housing choice voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting families that have low incomes, individuals who are elderly, and people with disabilities to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.

MSA Housing Assistance

The MSA Housing Assistance is a program that helps people with disabilities under age 65 have a choice about where they live.  The program provides money to help people move into affordable housing and have their own place, or they may share housing  expenses with another person.

DHS Eligibility:

  • Be eligible for Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA)
  • Be under age 65
  • Have total shelter costs that exceed 40% of your total income
  • Apply for rental assistance, if eligible

Budget Savers For Household Items and Furnishings

Arc's Value Village -  Arc's Value Village Thrift Stores provide a significant source of funding to The Arc Greater Twin Cities, an organization that helps adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  They have four locations:  Brooklyn Center, New Hope, Richfield and St. Paul with a fifth location coming soon in Bloomington.  You'll find everyday needs as well as treasures and collectibles.

Bridging - Bridging provides furniture and household goods to thousands of local families and individuals in need.  In order to receive services from Bridging, you must be referred by one of their partner agencies.  If you are currently working with a case worker or social worker, ask for a referral to Bridging or for assistance in getting a referral.  If you are not currently working with a case worker, check the website for a list of registered agencies that can provide a referral or contact the Health and Human Services division in your county (links to each county on website).  Note:  Bridging  provides a one-time gift of quality furniture and household items.

Twin Cities Free Market - The Twin Cities Free Market is an interactive internet-based program (with a newly designed website) that allows people to easily list or search for free items they want to get or give away as an effort to reduce the amount of goods being thrown away. Examples of items include:  appliances, children's items, electronics, furniture, home decor, home renovation, lawn and garden, musical instruments, pet equipment and recreation/exercise equipment.

Twin Cities Clothing & Household Resources/Thrift Stores - This listing of thrift stores in the Twin Cities is organized by county (Washington County page 21). It includes clothing and household items, areas served, and hours.  Most items are donated.

Need Help Paying Bills - This site offers information, inspiration and resources for today's challenging economy.  It lists a number of services offered by clothing closets, thrift stores and related non- profits.  In addition to receiving items such as clothing, household goods, school supplies, or more, some non-profits or churches may have vouchers or small amounts of cash for paying bills, Christmas assistance, or housing.

Financial Resources

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) - You may be able to get more money to help pay for rent, utilities or other basic needs.  Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) provides cash assistance to help adults who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pay for their basic needs. Some people who are blind, have a disability, or are older than 65 but do not get SSI because their other income is too high, may also be eligible for MSA if they meet the income limit. Most people eligible for SSI are also eligible for MSA.  Note:  This program is currently very underutilized by those who are eligible.You can apply for MSA, SNAP and GA using the same form. Complete the Combined Application Form and submit to the county or apply online.

MSA provides a basic monthly grant.  You can estimate this amount on the Minnesota's Disability Benefits 101 website.  There is also a special needs grant to help with medically prescribed special diets, representative payee services, guardian or conservator service fees, certain home repairs, certain household furniture and appliances and help paying for housing costs through MSA Housing Assistance. 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - Formerly known as Food Stamps, SNAP is a county run program funded by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA).  SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities.  Income limits are higher for households with a member who has a disability.

General Assistance (GA) Program - General Assistance (GA) is a state-funded program that is administered by each county.  GA provides cash grants monthly to adults without children to pay for basic needs.  There are 14 eligible categories related to illness, disability or injury that prevent an individual from working.  Note:  You may be able to receive GA while applying for SSI, but you will have to pay GA back if SSI is awarded.

Energy Assistance Program (EAP) - Federally funded by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, the Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households. Grants are available for homeowners or renters with income at or below 50% of the state median income.  Services may include payment of energy bills, help with utility disconnections, education on efficient and safe use of home heating energy, advocacy with energy suppliers on behalf of consumers and repair or replacement of homeowners' malfunctioning heating systems. 

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) - You can apply for the Energy Assistance Program and Weatherization Assistance Program using the same form. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is federally funded through the U.S. Dept. of Energy and enables income-qualified households to permanently reduce their energy bills by helping to make their homes more energy efficient while protecting the health and safety of family members.  Services may include:  energy audits, insulation, testing, repair or replacement of homeowner mechanical systems, and participant education. 

  • Learn more about the Weatherization Assistance Program or call 1-800-657-3710 or 651-296-2860 (TTY) for assistance.
    Note:  Priority is given to households with a member with a disability.

Telephone Service Discount and Loan Programs

  • Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers - Since1985,the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services.
  • Telephone Equipment Distribution (TED) Program  - The TED Program provides telephone equipment to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, speech impaired or have a physical disability and need adaptive equipment in order to use the phone.  The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) loans the equipment at no cost for as long as you need it. 

Need more information?

Individualized Housing Options - Video

Individualized Housing Options (IHO) asks people with disabilities to envision their lives living in the community. Created for Washington County Community Services in partnership with STAR Services this video reviews how IHO came to be, encourages case managers and shares success stories.

Individualized Housing Options Resource Guide for Persons with Disabilities

This comprehensive guide provides information on individualized housing options including types of housing, funding, finding roommates, moving and more.

My Home - A Guide to Understanding Housing Resources that Promote Community Supportd Living

The purpose of this manual is to provide information, examples, and resources for individuals with disabilities and their allies who are working to provide affordable housing choices to people with disabilities.

Group Residential Housing and MN Supplemental Aid Housing Assistance Reform

Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) group residential housing and Minnesota Supplemental Aid (MSA) housing assistance reform draft recommendations, August 13, 2014.  Includes:  big picture restructure, enhancements to support restructure, reforming framework and a proposed implementation timeline.

How to Select a Provider

This booklet provides suggestions, helpful hints, questions to ask, and guidelines on how to select a provider.  There are many considerations and each person needs to determine which provider best meets their needs.

Evaluation of Current and Potential Housing Options for Persons with Disabilities

This 2011 Legislative Report from the Department of Human Services is a comprehensive guide of current and future housing possibilities for individuals with disabilities.

Housing: Where Will Our Children Live When They Grow Up?

This book is available through PACER Center.

Housing Benefits 101

Explore your housing options.  Discover what works for you.  Make a plan to get there.

Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL)

MCIL is dedicated to the full promotion of the Independent Living (IL) philosophy by supporting individuals with disabilities in their personal efforts to pursue self-directed lives. MCIL provides housing referral services as well as independent living skills training.

Through Asking the Right Questions...You Can Reach Your Destination

The Institute on Community Integration developed a list of questions to ask providers when making decisions about residential supports for family members with disabilities.