It had been four years since I last saw Deborah Chin, now the Coordinator of Adult and Transition Services, and our meeting was as if we had not skipped a beat.
The following is some of the information Deborah
shared about housing in south Florida and is eager to know if these trends are also present in other states:
Its most recent findings in 2012 include an estimated total of 3,835 people with developmental disabilities (including autism) on a waitlist for residential services in Florida and that almost a 25% increase is needed to meet the current need. (Note: This does not include those who can try to find affordable housing vouchers and use their HCBS waivers for services.) Deborah
confirmed this finding.
also believes that there are many more individuals with an autism spectrum diagnosis who are in need of housing and are not be eligible for the residential services or HCBS of which thousands are already wait-listed!
Keeping in mind current the waitlist for needed housing, Deborah
said that although many residential providers have empty beds, funding is unavailable.
I decided to investigate exactly how much funding is being allotted to meet the increasing need for lifelong services and according to another government sponsored report produced by a UCEDD called the State of States in Developmental Disabilities came to find out since 2007 funding in Florida has decreased.
Some autistic adults who desire to live independently could do so if transitional housing options were more readily available or if they could be paired with neurotypical roommates who could offer support and assistance when needed.
had tried to contact Mental Health services for those individuals who are also diagnosed with a mental health disorder to see if mental health service providers had availability in transitional housing opportunities.
Apparently, if an individual has an autism diagnosis, he
(or she) needs to be served by developmental disability service providers.
also described the plight of boredom and frustration for autistic adults as lack of opportunity and support makes it difficult to secure jobs, find friendship, and navigate the world outside of their family unit.