Throughout these stories the following public resources, accommodations and ideas have been used to create unique housing and personal support solutions.
King County Developmental Disabilities Division
These stories begin with the King County Developmental Disabilities Division’s (KCDDD) desire to help families develop unique housing solutions for their family member with developmental disabilities. In 2002, KCDDD hired a housing coordinator to lead this effort. KCDDD’s focus was to address a variety of housing needs while also ensuring individuals had appropriate supports to live safely and as independently as possible. This housing effort promotes the ability of citizens with disabilities to live in neighborhoods of their choice where they know people, have supports of family, friends, and neighbors, and have transportation to their jobs. KCDDD champions partnerships with families and the creative use of both private and public resources to develop innovative housing solutions for people with developmental disabilities.
The Housing Access and Services Program
The Housing Access and Services Program (HASP) is a partnership between King County’s major human service and behavioral health systems and the King County Housing Authority (KCHA). KCHA allocates Section 8 vouchers for low-income adults who have disabilities and the service agencies provide supportive services. In the years prior to HASP, people with disabilities often waited up to five years to be eligible for a Section 8 voucher. HASP gives people with disabilities better access to vouchers and the opportunity for affordable housing in communities of their choice. The YWCA coordinates the consortium of agencies and provides support to clients as they access and maintain their housing. Referrals to HASP are made directly by each service system. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DSHS/DDD) and KCDDD participate in this program. For more information about HASP, contact your DDD case manager or the KCDDD housing coordinator.
Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers
KCDDD and Region 4 DSHS/DDD participate in KCHA’s HASP to secure Section 8 vouchers for the individuals they serve. Section 8 vouchers provide a rental subsidy whereby the recipient pays approximately 30% of his or her income toward rent and utilities and KCHA pays the remainder up to a limit set by HUD. These vouchers can be used to rent private market housing as long as it falls within the rent limits set by HUD and passes an annual Section 8 inspection.
The KCDDD housing coordinator or DDD case manager can help applicants request reasonable accommodations based on a disability, which allow people with disabilities greater accessibility to the Section 8 program, based on their particular needs. Some common accommodation requests include:
An extra bedroom for a live-in aide: provides a higher rental subsidy to cover a bedroom for the live-in aide, yet does not include any of the live in aide’s income in determining the tenant portion of the rent
Shared housing:can be used when an individual with a voucher wishes to live with either, another person or persons who is assisted by a Section 8, or another person or persons who is not assisted by Section 8
Additional time to lease up (extension):typically vouchers come with a 120-day period in which to find housing, and requesting an extension can provide 60 days or more in which to locate suitable housing
Porting (transferring) the voucher to another housing authority: Relevant to applicants who apply from outside the issuing housing authority’s jurisdiction, who would otherwise be required to live for the initial 12 months in the jurisdiction of the housing authority where the voucher was issued
Increased payment standard: If a unit is found that rents for higher than the allocated payment standard but would meet the individual’s particular needs as related to his/her disability, in a way that another similar unit renting for less would not, this accommodation request may be considered
Renting from a relative: Typically a household with a voucher is not allowed unable to use their voucher to rent a unit owned by a relative, so requesting accommodation based on a household member’s disability is needed to allow for this.
Non-Profit Owned Affordable Housing: KCDDD works with housing developers to create accessible, subsidized housing units in desirable neighborhoods. Non-profit housing developers can apply to King County’s Housing Finance Program for capital funding to design and build units within an apartment complex that are set aside for people with developmental disabilities. This program is called Housing Innovations for People with Developmental Disabilities (HIPDD). KCDDD participates in the application review process to match funds with developments that have a variety of accessible unit sizes, are close to public transit, community services and are affordable to households they serve who are in need of housing. DSHS/DDD then enters into a referral agreement with the housing provider in order to refer households with members who have a developmental disability to these units.
Personal supports and Medicaid Personal Care (MPC): Secure and affordable housing is one piece of the puzzle. Having the right supports to live in your own home is what makes each housing situation successful. KCDDD works with DSHS/DDD Region 4 (King County) to make sure each person has adequate supports to live in their own home. In most of these stories, individuals qualified for Medicaid Personal Care and depending on his or her need for support, they receive varying amounts of personal care hours from someone who comes into the home to provide this help. Depending on the need, this could include someone paid to live with the person or someone who comes by the house a few hours a day or week to help with specified activities of daily living.
Glossary of Terms
KCDDD: King County Developmental Disabilities Division
DSHS/DDD: Washington State Department of Social and Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities
KCHA: King County Housing Authority
SHA: Seattle Housing Authority
Section 8 Voucher: Otherwise known as a Housing Choice Voucher, Section 8 is a rental subsidy funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and administered locally by Public Housing Agencies (PHA). Households pay between 30% and 40% of their monthly income towards rent and utilities, and the remainder is subsidized by the PHA that issued the voucher, up to a payment standard based on the local Fair Market Rent (FMR) established by HUD. Section 8 vouchers allow eligible households afford to live in private-market rental housing.
Project-Based Section 8: One specific type of rental subsidy under the Housing Choice Voucher Program, whereby the rental subsidy is tied to the rental unit and not issued directly to an individual household. Eligible families who live at the subsidized property pay approximately 30% of their income towards the rent and utilities while living in the unit.
Reasonable Accommodation: A reasonable accommodation is a change, adaptation or modification to a policy, program, service, or workplace which will allow a qualified person with a disability to participate fully in a program such as an affordable/subsidized housing program.
(Detached/Attached) Accessory Dwelling Unit or (D)ADU: A room or set of rooms in a single family home (ADU), or located in a separate structure that shares a lot with a single family home (DADU) that has been designed or configured to be used as a separate dwelling unit. These types of units are often referred to as ‘mother-in-law’ units (ADU) or ‘backyard cottages’ (DADU).
Co-housing: Cohousing is a type of collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods. Private homes contain all the features of conventional homes, but residents also have access to extensive common facilities such as open space, courtyards, a playground and a common house.
Adult Family Home: Residential homes licensed to care for up to six non-related residents. They provide room, board, laundry, necessary supervision, and necessary help with activities of daily living, personal care, and social services.
Medicaid Personal Care (MPC): MPC is a state plan entitlement program that provides assistance with activities of daily living to individuals. An assessment is done by a case manager, nurse or social worker from DDD (or other DSHS divisions such as Home and Community Services or the Area Agency on Aging). Clients must meet the functional criteria based on a social service assessment as well as financial eligibility.
Universal Design: Universal Design is a framework for the design of places, things, information, communication and policy to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design. Most simply, Universal Design is human-centered design of everything with everyone in mind. –Institute for Human-Centered Design