Thousands of New York State citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities are waiting for their own homes, and many are in immediate need of residential opportunities. In addition, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families face an onerous placement process without clear access and understanding of the wait list.
The state has not provided a way for families to plan for the future when providing care at home becomes difficult or impossible, putting both families and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at risk. In recent years, a shortage of residential opportunities for all but emergency cases has grown. When the state offers housing almost solely on an emergency basis, the guarantee of a most appropriate, least restrictive home that incorporates choice is impossible. In response to this crisis, family members, concerned citizens, former government officials, and others formed the Keep the Promise Family Coalition.
We continue to advocate for increased residential development, especially with regard to aging caregivers living at home, and support the FAIR Act (Fair Access to Individualized Residences) proposed last legislative session that would give family caregivers the right to request a “caregiver assessment” from OPWDD, and depending on the outcome, an immediate out-of-home residential placement. We also propose the following be done to ensure there is sufficient residential development:
transparently assess the number of persons who have requested or need residential services and keep a wait list with a publicly available summary;
streamline the eligibility process so that persons on the wait list can have their eligibility rapidly assessed and established;
make other administrative enhancements necessary to more efficiently match people in need with existing vacancies; and
provide capital and operating funding to establish as many new residential opportunities as are necessary to meet the needs of New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.