We Work with You to Understand the Many Options You Have Regarding Neurodiverse Housing and Housing Resources
Housing is not only a major transition in someone’s life, but it is related to some of the most important decisions each of us will make in our entire lives. Many individuals and families we talk to are looking toward independent housing in the future but do not know how to get there. Finding the right path to independent housing takes time, which is why we encourage people to explore all options available to them. This starts with asking basic but vital questions such as whether a young person is likely to be able to manage the needs of a home on their own, with all that entails (including paying bills, contacting different people when needed, analyzing utility usage, housekeeping, grocery shopping, and cooking) or whether they need support in one or more of the many elements of running a home. We've seen it all and understand that independence comes in many forms and is a crucial piece of empowering of clients to live their best lives in whatever form that takes. We have seen the life-changing opportunities that come from a supported individual taking steps towards independence and have seen how their successes impact their families for the better. At Planning Across the Spectrum, we work to find and support these opportunities for independence. A lot of these opportunities relate to housing, so we talk about it often.
When reviewing housing options easier is not always better or best. We review gifting and estate plans for housing with a close eye, making sure you have all you need to make a good decision on whether a house is owned in a trust, by an individual outright, or be left available for rental to others for use by caregivers or other individuals with support needs. We assess whether or not the home is the best option lifestyle-wise for your loved one, or if it’s just what they’re already used to. The most straightforward way we do this is by discussing budgeting as it relates to paying rent, mortgage, utilities, and other typical household expenses. There are many programs run by the government and nonprofit organizations that can help with these costs. There are also less obvious discussions that are equally worth having when it comes to finances and housing. We ask questions like are their neighbors, grocery stores, and beloved activities that the neurodivergent individual would have access to? Reviewing public transportation in the area and how much a taxi or uber to work would cost is also valuable for assessing how viable a living situation is. These are important resources and require discussions that we often see overlooked. They can play a huge role in setting neurodivergent individuals up for success when exploring their options for housing.
We also think there are discussions that need to be had about how practical it is for a neurodivergent individual to live with family. While this is an easy option, it is not the only option, and there are many times when neurodiverse people benefit from more living independence. In this case, we discuss options that can be accessed through asset and estate plans which could provide an individual more opportunities to make their own personal connections. We have seen these opportunities be major agents of positive change for many autistic and intellectually disabled individuals we work with, regardless of their support needs. Providing independence and more options to live outside of the family space can also lead to the family and individual actually growing closer. We believe this is emblematic of how we use financial planning expertise for the neurodiverse to empower individuals to live their best lives.
At the same time, there are many other factors that need to be given the same level of consideration. We need to consider if the individual needs greater services throughout their lifetime or if they will stay consistent or diminish. We also need to discuss whether they expect to have medical needs that require professional monitoring, or if they just need to have their medical care monitored periodically. If support staff or a team is needed there are options to have in-home health care wherever they are living. This includes a home, an apartment, or shared community living options. Some care arrangements are completely or partially provided for by state Medicaid resources, whether through a self-designed budget or working with a specific agency. Other arrangements require the financial stability of a special needs trust to make ongoing house payments. By having these discussions, we can use them to find opportunities to strive toward the long-term goals of all involved.