housing/ residential services for people with disabilities must be more inclusive

I could say this about all services for people with disabilities. But housing gets to me because well I’m a person with multiple disabilities seeking ideal services and I’m realizing there’s no such thing as even close to ideal. This takes some audience participation ready?

Google or use your favorite searching site. Type in “residential (or) housing services people with disabilities.”

Search the first couple pages.

If you found stuff where every site said “developmental disabilities.” Or “autism and developmental disabilities” you’ve basically seen it all. Even sites that say “people with disabilities.” You get all excited thinking it would be for any disability and then a paragraph down it says “developmental”

Ok next search. Type in “housing/ residential services for the blind.”

This is my favorite because I’ve been searching these terms literally for years. You’ll find two residential places for the blind. Two folks, in the whole US! Then you’ll find stuff about residential aspects of schools for the blind, or independent living centers with residential programs and that’s it.

I have to say I haven’t searched but it’s probably the same for the deaf. If not please correct me! That’s your homework LOL.

Lastly type in “residential/ housing services people with mental illness/ psychiatric”

You’ll find first a bunch of really interesting sounding/ looking private pay places. . With names like Healing center, Austin Rigs, Spirit of Geel. They’re ranch/ farm places believe it or not. For another post but am curious about such things.

Anyway keep scrolling. You’ll find a lot of community mental health center places describing residential services. A lot of it is for people who supposedly come out to your apartment and help you and then leave. The group homes even say this is for like, 15 people and you have to have a million hospitalizations to live here. Not really but ya know.

And again that’s it.

Are you exhausted and frustrating wondering about what happens to people with multiple disabilities, that don’t include developmental aspects? Yeah me too!

I honestly don’t know why this is. And I’m in no way dismissing that people with developmental disabilities need these services. I’m just scratching my head at why there are so many programs for that and almost nothing for anyone else. And why there seem to be the only multiple disability programs, for developmental and psychiatric. And even those are hard to find but there. If someone has developmental issues and psych issues they have a better chance of finding something that fits all their needs. Same with deaf mental health services though that number is way too small and from talking with an interpreter and other deaf friends it’s crazy that there isn’t more available.

If you’re blind and have mental illness. Have physical disabilities and mental illness, basically any other disability and mental illness as far as I can see you’re kinda screwed. You basically have to choose what issue you want/ need the most support with at the time. Offften places will tell you they’re more inclusive than they are. I moved all the way across the country being told that one of the places for the blind absolutely! Was fine with people with psych issues. In fact there were many residents with psych issues. They had a psychiatrist, psychologists social workers ETC. So I moved in. And while they were sure right there were residents with moderate to severe mh issues, the services were very lacking. They did have a psychiatrist. However he only saw people if they were put on his schedule each month. For example I saw the guy when I first moved in. I waited and waited til I found out about this “only if on the schedule thing” and that the nurses never got around to really looking at people on his caseload and seeing to it that you were seen. I didn’t see him til almost a year later! That is not med management.

The psychologists only came in to see medicare only people. Whicdh a lot of residents don’t have. The social worker was a very nice man. Blind himself, had a dog who was like an unifical therapy dog. Didn’t have a clue about severe mental illness. Not to sound arrogant but I probably taught him everything he knows regarding the local resources here. I wish I could say I told him everything he knows about mental illness but doubt it. I do know I informed him of all services because I had to do all the advocacy and basically case manage myself.

This is just one example of going into a situation and being lied to, that all your disabilities will be supported and then you’re not. And then the outside people you have to go to to get the support seriously question why the place you’re living at isn’t supporting these issues. And I’m like guys I would love to know that same thing!

One type of housing that really interests me is shared living/ housing. It’s a concept where a person with a disability ( 9.9 times out of 10 developmental) is matched by an agency to a trained care provider that is passionate empathetic too, and otherwise wants to open their homes to someone needing long term support day to day. It’s often called adult foster care because the concept is similar. You work with this agency and they get everything they’d want to know about you and your needs on every level. They then put out a profile of you to their providers. They come back with a list of potential matches. You sit down and talk about/ interview each provider. You have visits. A match isn’t made until the two are comfortable and there is much oversight through the process.

This is what it looks like on paper. I’ve talked to one friend who has done it and she says it’s pretty solid. Can go either way. If there has to be another roommate they try really hard to find compatible matches. She said she’s had some not so good experiences. But nothing she couldn’t get herself out of and it really depends on the agency.

This friend doesn’t have developmental disavilities. She’s blind and has mental illness. And was living in MA at the time. Which is the only state I can find that accepts people who have mental illness sensory issues and other disabilities along with/ besides developmental. I looked into it for a short time. But the thing is you have to get funding which is a long process that might not even happen based on the “level of functioning” talked about in my last post. And then for good reason the whole agency getting to know you, matching process takes a year or more. Well of course I thought I’d be getting everything I would need out here. And honestly didn’t have the mental health energy to stay at my family’s house and had no one else to turn to. Looking back I don’t regret moving out here. I had an awesome time. I loved the concept of having your own apartment, and having meals, housekeeping taken care of as well as companionship and security from other residents and staff. If the facility had even bothered to at least network with outside providers I might have been able to stay there.

There is one facility locally that serves all disabilitys. They do incourage those that are blind to go to the blind facility of course. But even there they say the same that, yes they do have psychiatric disabled residents. They are thankfully honest that you’d need to have all supports for that set up before moving in. At least they’re honest.

In conclusion, why are psychiatric disabilities in their own mutually exclusive it seems, category? Why can’t services be provided in house for all disabilities? Why arent’ those without developmental disabilities offered the equal amount and types of services? If a facility/ program can’t accomidate one disability or another is it too much to ask that they at least network with outside services? I don’t know how or if there will ever be developed such programs that are truly inclusive to those with multiple disabilities. And I don’t know the answers. Probably a huge percent of the problem is money what gets funded what doesn’t. What type of care is allowed under the policies of a facility. That still doesn’t excuse lack of networking among providers. So yeah Sam’s rant number ten thousand on this topic I know. The more posts I write I hope the more people I’ll connect with who get it, or providers who can give a clue as to this frustrating and emotionally draining mystery.

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2 thoughts on “housing/ residential services for people with disabilities must be more inclusive

  1. I did the homework years ago, sammy, do I really need to do it again or can you just give me my participation cookie now. LOL! hey! You used a sighty word! scrolling! LOL! I shared this one on a few housing groups on facebook

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