Housing: A Significant Need

housing_550x100Traditionally, families have either taken care of their child with developmental disabilities at home, or have found external support by placing the child in an institution. However in spite of using a huge share of public funding, institutions provide a limited and rigid lifestyle which can often lead to isolation and exclusion from the community. As more and more people leave institutions, they are placed in group homes. While often a better choice than an institution, there they still do not have choices about how and where to live, and with whom to share their lives.

It has now been demonstrated that with the proper support, many people with developmental disabilities can live independently if they so wish. But, public policy and funding is lagging in serving people’s needs for adequate housing.

In general, there is a grave shortage of affordable housing available in the United States. People with intellectual/developmental disabilities who receive SSI are among the poorest in the nation. They are the lowest income group in North Carolina with the most unmet need for housing assistance.

The Facts:

Based on Wake County Human Services statistics, 2004.

  • There are over 130,000 people with developmental disabilities in NC.
  • Wake County Human Services estimates there are 14,053 persons in Wake County who are developmentally disabled. There is an estimated gap in units for this population of approximately 13,727 units of housing with supportive services needed in Wake County.
  • Almost 20,000 persons with developmental disabilities are living with an aging caregiver. As the caregivers become unable to care for their adult children, alternate living arrangements must be made.
  • North Carolina serves a greater proportion of people with developmental disabilities in large state operated institutions than other states (38th out of 50 states). There were about 2,500 people with developmental disabilities in homes with more than 16 residents in 2004.
  • From 2000-2002, there was an increase of 82% of people with developmental disabilities residing in nursing homes (where they don’t belong).
  • The problem is made worse by the fact that, under the law, people with developmental disabilities cannot use Medicaid funds (which provide most of the funds for services and support) for housing-related costs.

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Housing is an essential issue in everyone’s life. Right now, in Wake County alone, more than a 1,000 people with developmental disabilities are waiting for adequate housing, each of them with unique disabilities, needs, and dreams.

Currently there are 5 models of housing for people with developmental disabilities in North Carolina: intermediate care facilities, group homes, boarding homes, assisted family living, and apartments where you live on your own or with a roommate, with minimal support from the State. This situation means that thousands of the poorest people with developmental disabilities are forced to live in unbearable or inadequate situations.

Housing is a crucial and urgent issue for people with developmental disabilities in North Carolina. The Serving Cup’s Green Level Homes provides a great opportunity for 12 people to live independently, while receiving support.

Housing is a crucial and urgent issue for people with developmental disabilities in North Carolina, and around the world.

The Serving Cup’s Mission

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For the more than 8,000 adults with developmental disabilities living in Wake County, housing needs are frequently not met or are not optimal.

Aiming to provide opportunities that produce fulfillment and growth, The Serving Cup, in partnership with The Arc of North Carolina and Lutheran Services of the Carolinas, was awarded a grant from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in December 2005. As a result, six 2-bedroom apartments for twelve adults with developmental disabilities have been built in Cary, NC.

The Arc of North Carolina manages the property and Lutheran Services of the Carolinas provides programming to enhance supportive living.

Green Level Homes

Green Level Homes is a six-unit, two-bedroom apartment complex in Cary, North Carolina providing options for independent living for persons with developmental disabilities. The Serving Cup received a HUD 811 grant to undertake this project. Find out more about this exciting project here.

How to Help

The Serving Cup’s Green Level Homes provides a great opportunity for 12 people to live independently, while receiving the support they need. While this is a step in the right direction, more initiatives of this type need to be undertaken, as well as various housing options considered.

We can’t do it without your help! Please visit the How You Can Help page for ways to contribute to this important mission.