Success Stories and Videos
Success Stories: Stories are a powerful way to learn about the impact of integrated, independent housing on the lives of people with developmental disabilities. In addition, stories can convey obstacles individuals face as they access housing programs and rental housing in Northern Virginia and creative strategies they employ to overcome these challenges. Finally, stories help us realize we are not alone: other individuals and families have had similar worries, questions, and frustrations about integrated, independent housing. The difference is, these individuals with disabilities have gone on to live in their own homes with support. We can learn from the experiences these individuals and their families share with us and make better decisions about our own paths forward. Check back to see more success stories!
Success Story #1: Corey. Corey, a young adult on the Autism spectrum, made the transition to his own apartment using a housing voucher! His mom, Robin, shares the story of his journey.
Success Story #2: Rogan. Rogan, a young adult with intellectual disabilities, made the transition to a parent-sponsored residential home with a family caregiver. His dad, Mike, reflects on the success of Rogan's transition. Note that we also feature a video on Rogan!
Success Videos: The NoVA HSS RIT received a grant from Virginia Housing Development Authority to produce a series of educational videos to introduce individuals to different housing options that separate housing from services. The Arc of Northern Virginia managed this grant and coordinated the production of these videos.
Video #1: Brian. Brian lives in a 2 bedroom apartment he leases with assistance from a housing choice voucher. He receives a reasonable accommodation for a two bedroom apartment in the housing choice voucher program so he can have a live-in caregiver to provide support. A live-in caregiver stays rent free. In addition, he receives personal assistance services from an agency funded by the DD Waiver.
Video #2: Gail & Esther. Gail and Esther both live in Buchanan Gardens Apartments, each in their own 1 bedroom unit. They lease their units with assistance from housing choice vouchers and receive in-home supports from Community Residences, a local Medicaid Waiver provider. Their landlord, Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), has set aside a cluster of supportive housing units that are scattered throughout the property, and has an agreement with Community Residences to provide supportive services to individuals in these units. Community Residences refers individuals for the supportive housing units and APAH has more flexible tenant selection criteria for supportive housing applicants.
Video #3: David & Rory. David and Rory live with third roommate in a high-rise condominium unit that Community Havens owns. They moved there from institutional settings and now lease their unit with assistance from housing choice vouchers. Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority approved the use of their vouchers in “shared housing,” which is a special housing type in which a single unit is occupied by an assisted family and another resident or residents. The shared unit consists of both common space for use by the occupants of the unit and separate private space for each assisted family. Community Residences provides supportive services to each gentleman funded by the Medicaid Waiver.
Video #4: Rogan. Rogan lives in a single family home that his parents purchased with a low interest mortgage loan from Virginia Housing Development Authority. Rogan lives with his caregiver, Rachel, and her two children. Both Rogan and Rachel have leases and pay rent to Rogan’s parents. Rachel provides sponsored residential services to Rogan that are funded by the Medicaid Waiver. The rent is affordable for Rogan and Rachel’s family, yet covers the mortgage and taxes for Rogan’s parents.
Video #5: Theresa. Theresa lives in an accessible one bedroom, garden style apartment. She rents her unit with assistance from a housing choice voucher and received a reasonable accommodation for an exception to the maximum subsidy allowed by the voucher for a one bedroom unit in Fairfax County. Theresa receives consumer-directed personal assistance services funded by the Medicaid Waiver. She uses different kinds of assistive technology to increase her independence.
Vidoe #6: Robert. Robert lives in a one bedroom, garden style apartment. He rents his unit with assistance from a housing choice voucher. He received a reasonable accommodation for an exception to the denial criteria for admission to the voucher program. Robert is on the Medicaid Waiver waitlist, so he receives privately funded support through The Arc’s Special Needs Trust program to help with his budget, finances and the housing search, and assistance from his family to help with the move.
Support coordinators and contract agencies can use the videos as a tool to educate individuals and families (and authorized representatives or guardians as appropriate) about integrated, independent housing options available in Virginia. The videos expose individuals and families to different approaches for organizing housing and support services. Some approaches utilize both rent assistance and Medicaid Waiver funded services, while others rely on family-driven housing options or alternative sources of support.
Support coordinators and the person-centered planning team can use videos as “conversation starters” to discuss a variety of issues, such as:
- What did the individuals in the videos like about living in their own place?
- What did the individuals in the videos say was hard about moving to their own place?
- Some individuals have a roommate or a person who stays overnight to provide support. What do you think about having a roommate or an overnight support person?
- Some individuals live in small buildings and some individuals live in big, tall buildings? What kind of building do you prefer?
- What kinds of financial assistance, support services, technology and community resources are helping the individuals in the videos live in their own place? What support, technology and community resources might you need?