Housing for Young Autistic Adults
I’ve worked in and around affordable and market rate housing for my entire career.
Most of the focus with affordable housing has been income based. Some projects have focused on seniors and disabled (mobility mostly). I have come in contact with some projects that had a focus on persons living with AIDS, but not many. Veterans and homeless projects also.
Thinking about it, whether it’s income or ability…. the root is needing housing for folks with an extraordinary need not being met by the “market”.
In the past few weeks an opportunity to sit at the table to discuss housing opportunities for young Autistic adults came to me. I’ve not thought about this need until now basically.
The night of my life is still fairly young, so I’m happy to have this opportunity as I have some time horizon to do something.
The key issue is that there is a lack of paths to independence for young people largely from the age of 21 on. Housing is critical to independence.
Many persons with Autism need additional support in their lives, like seniors, those with other disabilities, persons that have life challenges that have led to homelessness.
Thinking, I wonder how much of our homeless population are Autistic persons lacking the support they need who have ended up becoming homeless?
As I stated, this is a new topic for me, so I’m not going to expertly lay the problem out. The intent here is not a well crafted experts opinion. Mostly I’m writing this for my own thinking, and maybe others pick up on the thought and share what they know.
There are some bridge services and resources between 18 and 21. This exists because in most states there is the ability for young people to continue working toward a high school education up to age 21; meaning there is funding.
There are also services for young people that are accepted into post secondary learning (community colleges and universities).
There are some examples of supportive and transitional housing. Some tied to services. A lot of what I’ve seen is housing that serves disabled persons and Autism is on the list. I suspect this is so because it’s easier to build the capital stack and get the units built with a general focus on housing disabled persons. I am very well aware that much of the federal and state funding has thorns in it. And it won’t cleanly serve the needs of these young people as a stand-alone population.
What are the private market solutions? Well, seemingly parents of young people, with means, self developing and funding the housing projects.
I’ve walked to the rabbit whole that many parents of these young people have, as well as those with a caring interest. Have not yet taken the slide. That’s likely my best value to the issue.
So where from here? Like many things, I see initially only problems (many of them again because I’m not an “expert” in this):
- Misaligned funding to need
- Lack of a well crafted and researched problem statement
- Lack of connections between the externalities of one issue to another (I.e. Autism and homeless, Autism in communities of color)
So where to?
Forward and Up!
In my reading of Steven Pressfield’s “Do the Work” he rants (I love him by the way and don’t demean when I say rant) to dive in and don’t get hamstrung by the research. Write the end first. Set the theme. And what’s not in the theme doesn’t make it into the work.
I’ve already started to fill my notebook with ideas. And I’ve got a network to float some RFIs to.
Something will come of this.
Stay tuned for my reporting.
In the mean time, feel free to respond to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with thoughts I could use.
Thanks for reading.