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Learning About Housing

In 2016 WIHD published the Housing Resource Guide. The material below is taken from the Guide, which is designed to help people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, their families, their service coordinators and provider agency staff and advocates to negotiate the housing process from beginning to closing. The full report is linked in our Resources section. 

Housing Resource Guide The Housing Resource Guide begins with an overview of housing options in the state and how those have been shaped. We then set out paths and options that may be available to an individual and their family. The Guide also lists the “system based” resources that will affect an individual’s housing options. These refer to governmental subsidies and incentives to home builders that will lead to the creation of more housing stock. The guide describes the housing options in the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) certified system and other state systems. Click Here to Download the WIHD - Housing Resource Guide 

REPORT: What Happens When I'm Gone?: Understanding new Service and Support systems for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in housing and services. Understanding the relevance of Intentional Communities. Click Here to Download the Report

New York Alliance (formerly NYSACRA) Shared Living: 
Most definitions share common elements:
Persons with and without disabilities share their lives, especially in their domiciliary arrangements. Typically, the person without a disability provides supports to the person with a disability, although the extent and nature of those supports vary widely. Shared living is not a “placement” of one person into another’s home. It is a mutually agreed upon arrangement. For purposes of this Tool Kit, shared living encompasses both persons who live together in the same four walls and those who live quite near to one another (e.g. in adjacent apartments). These are referred to as live-with and live-near support arrangements. Click Here to Download the Shared Living Toolkit

UPDATE: Our Shared Living Toolkit Now Addresses Tax Treatment of Wages

In January, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2014-7, which addressed what the IRS has for decades called Difficulty of Care (DoC) Payments. Under Section 131 of the IRS Code, a DoC was (and still is) “compensation to a foster care provider for the additional care required because the qualified foster individual has a physical, mental or emotional handicap.” This compensation is excludable from the taxable wage income of the provider for federal income tax purposes.

The 2014 Notice expanded the definition of foster care providers and individuals and DoC payments. The result is that wages paid to providers of Shared Living supports who meet certain criteria will be treated as DoC payments. Therefore, they are excludable from providers’ taxable wage income for both federal and New York State income tax purposes. That is, they do not have to pay income taxes on those wages. While it’s unclear what the passage of tax reform legislation will mean to shared living, the New York Alliance is committed to informing our members as to any impact.

The New York Alliance has recorded a 4-minute webinar which addresses these changes.

Financial Resources

Eligibility & Entitlement. The more resources that can be used to support a person seeking a home, the more successful and sustainable the home is likely to be. These resources include Public benefits based on income, housing status or disability, and private resources including employment and support from family. Managing these resources can be demanding but there are professionals who provide help. The Housing Resource Guide contains detailed information on how you can connect to the resources listed.

Supplemental Security Income,(SSI), benefits paid to someone whose disability limits their ability to work. In New York State this also entitles the recipient to support from Medicaid. Once someone has been working, even in a limited way, for several years they may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Income, or SSDI. If a person qualifies for SSDI they become eligible for Medicare after two years.

The NY State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) provides some residential services directly and funds nonprofit agencies to provide day and residential services.  OPWDD will provide a listing of agencies that provide Service Coordination/Care Coordination. The Service/Care Coordinator will help to ensure that the individual is receiving and managing the benefits for which they qualify, and will help with planning the person’s services including housing. If a person seeks Self Directed Services OPWDD will provide a list of Self Direction Brokers who will guide budgeting and planning.

Individual Resources.  Too often it is assumed that people with I/DD have no economic power. Since the advent of “Money Follows the Person” people who choose Self Directed Services have a significant say in their own budget as approved by OPWDD. Their Personal Resource Account (“PRA”), as approved by OPWDD allows for flexibility in choosing services and support staff. With incentive plans such as Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) or Impairment Related Work Expenses (“IRWE”) they can increase income without reducing SSI, and with Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts they can protect earnings and receive family support. Understanding how to optimize and manage these resources is essential to a robust housing plan.   The Housing Resource can provide contact information for benefit specialists and financial planners throughout the state.

Decision - Own Vs Rent:

Rent or Buy Calculation: New York Times - Is It Better to Rent or Buy?   //   Trulia - Rent vs. Buy Calculator

New York Times Article: Four Not-So-Obvious Things to Consider When Deciding to Buy or Rent

Financial Counseling: Free Financial Advisement Organizations

HUD Counseling  //  CASH Coalition

Spreadsheet of New York State Coalitions

Credit Reports (How to Create / Obtain)

Experian Renter Credit

USDA: Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans