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Feds Call On States To Meet Disability Housing Obligations

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As states work to boost community-based housing options for people with developmental disabilities, federal officials say stronger ties are needed between health and housing agencies.

Under the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. L.C., people with disabilities have the right to live in the community whenever possible. At the federal level, Medicaid and housing officials say they are increasingly working together to ensure that community options are in place.

Now, they’re urging states to establish similar collaborations.

“As states continue to implement the Olmstead decision and reform and rebalance their long-term care systems, establishing and maintaining relationships with the housing community and leveraging the many housing opportunities available through HUD and state housing finance agencies will be critical to states’ success,” wrote Cindy Mann, who oversees Medicaid at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The comments were included in a bulletin sent to states this week with information about resources available for working with housing agencies.

Mann’s correspondence comes less than a month after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a new funding opportunity for states to provide rental assistance for people with disabilities living on extremely modest incomes. For the first time ever, the grants were contingent on local housing agencies having a partnership with their state Medicaid program. The requirement is intended to ensure that those placed in new housing receive appropriate assistance so that they can be successful, officials indicated.

Future housing funds are likely to have similar strings attached, Mann said.

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Comments (3 Responses)

  1. Mary A Miller says:

    What I don’t know is how they are going to do since I was told that in 2013 HUD was going to “do away with” HUD 202 prac and HUD 835 housing (disabled and elderly). This was according to a HUD administrator in Washington DC last year (Summer 2011) in a conversation following a housing consortium. What are they planning to do with less than 5% housing built since 1995 are disabled accessible? Many states have a penchant for building townhouses and not garden apartments, condos or any other housing…not to mention the older apartments that are not rehabbed to be disabled accessible (universal housing rehab is expensive and very ‘she-she’ right now. Anyone? Thanks.

  2. vmgillen says:

    Lets see if this works any better than the accessible housing mandate – here in Staten Island the ONLY wheelchair accessible federal housing is located in a senior citizen complex. Furthermore, while it’s great to expand housing options, be careful: a lot of the “community living” efforts aim to reduce supports to families by disengaging Agencies… supplying cash payments to relatives or family friends for direct care. This means, ultimately, that we are going to have ever-increasing numbers of elderly peopple living with even older parents – both with high needs. Brilliant. In New York State, rumour has it that IRA (community residential facilities) are now a “legacy” program: there will be no new facilities, ever. There is a HUGE population of people with ASD coming of age – parents, get ready.

  3. Carol Kulp says:

    With a waiting list of 12,000 people with Dev. Disabilities in New York State needing 24/7 care, someone needs to address this crisis. Right now they have no options.

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