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Webinar series on housing wraps up this month

Since September (well before the pandemic), our webinar series on housing set out to explore the benefits of person-centered living arrangements for people with disabilities. Parents and practitioners shared examples of the person-centered approach to creating living arrangements that empower adults with disabilities to live independently or on their own terms.

The examples demonstrate how families are imagining better in housing, seeking alternate solutions to congregate settings – involving years of planning, utilizing different sources of funding and even cultivating long-term relationships with direct support professionals.

Gaps in congregate living

The COVID-19 crisis has called attention to flaws in congregate living settings, where elderly and individuals with disabilities with underlying conditions have succumbed in greater numbers to the fast-spreading virus. As of the June 2 state dashboard, nearly 62 percent of the total 7,085 COVID-19-related deaths reported in Massachusetts came from long-term care facilities that house the elderly and the disabled. The crisis has also underscored the critical role of direct support professionals in the well-being of individuals with special needs, regardless of housing type.

“As we sort through these issues and develop new policies and programs to better position us for the future, expanding the ability to live independently should be among our top priorities. We now know that this is a life or death issue. And, it is an issue we can address through modifications to current regulations to create housing adaptable for use by seniors and people with disabilities,” say authors Patrick Downes and Carol Steinberg, in ‘COVID-19 poses unnecessary risk for people with disabilities,’ an article that appeared in Commonwealth Magazine last month.

June webinars on housing

There’s no better time than now to consider the person-centered approach to envision long-term housing options – and our upcoming webinars can help you imagine better for your loved one. This month, we wrap up the series on innovative approaches in housing for individuals with disabilities with:

HomeWorks: A model of independent living for individuals with disabilities through affordable home ownership

June 18 at 1 pm EST

This webinar will feature a conversation with guest Susan Tachau, Chief Executive Officer of Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation and mother of two adults with disabilities. Susan will share information about how she helped create HomeWorks, a model for how families can use tools such as limited equity partnership, mini-board and Tenancy-in-Common Agreement to create an affordable, accessible home for people with disabilities.

Parent panel discussion on person-centered living and lessons from the COVID-19 crisis

June 24 at 2 pm EST

In this concluding webinar, we check in with three parents – two based in Massachusetts and one in Pennsylvania – to find out how their person-centered living arrangements have fared during the COVID-19 crisis. In this interactive webinar, we will discuss each family’s living arrangement, their biggest concerns during the crisis, resources they have relied on and if the crisis has brought about changes in how they view person-centered planning for the long-term.

You can register for the webinars here.

Do you have examples of person-centered planning or inclusive living arrangements you’d like to share with us? Have comments? Send an email to hello @ massfamilies.org.