housing demandIn May 2013, 25 experts from across the country joined a roundtable discussion on “A Spectrum of Possibilities: Decreasing Barriers and Increasing Options” sponsored by Madison House Autism Foundation and Purple Cherry Architects.

Housing and disability experts, parents, and non-profit leaders shared emerging innovative housing concepts and flourishing existing models. They also identified barriers limiting public sector and private enterprise initiatives working to meet the demand for housing for the half million adults with autism coming of age within the next few years.

According to JaLynn Prince, President of Madison House Autism Foundation, the vast majority of adults with autism will live at home, often in isolation, until their parents die or can no longer care for them.  “It doesn’t have to be this way,” she explains.  “Our goal for this conference was to walk away with a clear action plan addressing policy at state and federal levels, aimed at reducing barriers and increasing flexible, appropriate housing options.”

Round table participants developed a 10-point action plan to address barriers and leverage new opportunities: Housing Roundtable Follow Up and Action Items. Madison House shares this experience in hopes of inspiring others to host round-tables in their regions as well. Please share with us if you plan on organizing a round-table!

housing demandMHAF welcomes contributions of time, talent and money to continue to work with organizations and individuals across the country to break down barriers and support public/private partnerships to create housing for adults with autism and other disabilities.  No parent should have to live with the nightmare of not know where their child will call home when they are no longer able to care for them.

Cathy Purple Cherry, Principal of Purposeful Architecture /Purple Cherry Architects, noted “There are many innovative models being developed across the nation to offer these individuals choices in housing that best suits their needs and desires.  Our goal is to change federal and state policies to allow individuals to use their funding in any of these housing options.”

Thank you to all the participants (in alphabetical order):

About the Author

Desiree Kameka, Director of Housing

Desiree is the project lead for the Autism Housing Network. Her work for the Madison House Autism Foundation focuses on researching housing issues, advocating on issues of autism in adulthood, and presenting her work at local and national gatherings. She visits residential communities and social enterprises across the USA and highlights their unique victories and learning curves while sharing stories of individuals on the spectrum or who have other developmental disabilities. Her passion is empowering autistic adults and parents to create a future that is exciting and life affirming by offering small group consultations for forming projects.