Advocate for Housing
Thanks to the tireless efforts of advocates across the country, individuals with I/DD have access to free and appropriate education; they are protected from forced institutionalization; they can access supports in a home and community of their choice, and discrimination of any kind based on disability is illegal. How can we continue to make strides in the advocacy arena?
About the Issues
While we’ve made incredible strides, our work as advocates isn’t finished. There are several immediate issues that must be addressed in order to ensure the future of autistic adults and others with I/DD will be full of choices and opportunities:
- Policy must not limit where individuals can live or work by refusing access to their supports in certain settings the state deems not “home and community.”
- Waitlists for access to essential support services continue to grow, and advocates must urge their state to increase funding in order to meet the growing demand for adult services.
- States must offer flexible enough waiver options to meet the diverse needs of individuals with I/DD, including by way of consumer-directed or self-determination waivers.
- Housing lacks affordability. Therefore, advocating for more affordable housing funding is essential to ensure individuals with I/DD can afford homes and are not forced into the “next empty bed” when a crisis arises.
The Coalition for Community Choice
The Coalition for Community Choice (CCC), was created to promote and defend the rights of people with I/DD and autism to choose their residential settings from the broadest range of options. CCC advocates aim to educate federal and state governments on how policy can open or close doors to current or future opportunities. The CCC believes that access to essential, publicly funded supports and services must be based on an individual’s preferences and support needs as stated in his or her person-centered plan.
As you develop in your role as an advocate or self-advocate for effective housing solutions, you may find that the CCC becomes a helpful resource. Visit their website here.
Building Relationships With Your Legislators
It may seem intimidating at first, but calling and scheduling to meet with policymakers in your state is essential for ensuring that legislation and policy continue to create more opportunities for adults on with autism and other I/DD. It is especially important to form relationships with policymakers that represent the district where you may be creating housing solutions.
To locate your Member of Congress on-line go to:
- U.S. House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov
- U.S. Senate: http://www.senate.gov
- You can also get the phone number for your Member of Congress using the US Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
- The White House website also has a form where you can send the President a message: