CPSH attended the January, 2015 Texas Intellectual and Developmental Disability System Redesign Advisory Committee and heard Commissioner Traylor's suggestion that the Committee address housing for this population. Here is a suggestion from CPSH that we sent to Clay Boatright (Committee Chair) and Kay Carlson (Housing Subcommittee Chair).
"Texas should support both choice of living options and have available the full array of services to meet each individuals needs. The Olmstead Act warns against forcing people into settings that are inadequate and emphasizes the need for states to provide an array of services to meet the needs of a population with widely diverse needs.
"There are already many different housing options in Texas that will meet the needs of most people living with these disabilities, provided services are available. Minor modifications to existing structures may be required. Of course there may be people who require unique living situations where current brick and mortar doesn’t exist, however with the variety of options currently available modification may be possible, for these individuals as well. Building unique housing for this population should be the last resort.
"Housing preferences and services need to be viewed from the perspective of the individuals and their families. Then the community needs to provide those preferences. We should not fit the needs to what is available. This will take time, but we need to change the way this is approached sooner rather than later.
"In all cases the needs of the individual must be determined without consideration for what housing and services currently exists, but rather what housing and services need to exist to provide access and integration in the community. This will take time, but we need to change the way this is approached sooner rather than later. The community needs to address the desires of its citizens. (City Planners do this frequently for the general public. CPSH is working to include people with IDD in the general public.)
"The HCBS rule (CMS) does not restrict the number of people living in the same home or neighborhood, but it does say that the setting has to provide "access" to "integration" in the "community". These terms are not sufficiently defined in the rule so that we know exactly what this means. Unfortunately the rule encourages Texas to consider policies that are even more restrictive than the HCBS rule, defining “community” and “integration” so narrowly that it deprives people of specialized services and residential options that they need for their comfort and survival. Why does Texas take this approach? Why doesn’t Texas intreprent this rule so that it encourages integration and services to save money - improve services and steer people with IDD to live in community. (Yes, the effort is at work for those in the State Living Centers, with challenges and stalls.)
"I would like to suggest the the IDD System Redesign Committee suggest specific changes to rules, regs, and laws in Texas to allow people to live where they want to live and streamline the service model so people have access to services so they can live successfully without their parents of desired. In the long run this will redirect funds to services and improve our community.
"It can be done."
If you would like to contact Clay and Kay regarding this or other ideas, you can do so here.