Our Housing Journey - Robin and Corey
Corey is very systematic in his approach to life. His plan: graduate high school, go to college, get a job, start to date, move in to his own apartment. As his mother, and because he has Autism Spectrum Disorder, I wasn’t sure if this was going to come to fruition.
So, when he graduated high school, I sold my house, and bought a smaller condo in a planned community with access to shops and services and proximity to a bus line. I thought in doing so that he would be able to eventually own and live in the condo.
Then it dawned on me. How could Corey possibly pay the mortgage, and the condo fees, and the upkeep? His income is from a part time job and social security. Corey graduated college, kept his part-time job and secured an unpaid internship. He began dating! He achieved everything on his plan, except the apartment. Having received the Developmental Disability waiver a few months after graduation, he had a provider who could help him achieve independence. He was ready to live on his own.
Corey was ready - But how could he afford it?
I couldn’t afford to support him living on his own. We read about the housing voucher program, and learned that the list in Loudoun County had been closed since 2010 with 600 names on the list at the time it was closed. Housing wasn’t looking promising.
In the spring of 2015, Corey’s case manager suggested he complete a request for housing. She mentioned that there might be an opportunity later that year. She told us she didn’t know much about it but encouraged applying and so we did. I put it out of my mind. Corey continued working on his skills.
Corey gets a housing voucher!
Later that spring, we found out that there would be housing vouchers released for people who met criteria from the DOJ settlement, and that there would be housing workshops to explain what this would mean. I attended one and remember feeling that Corey probably didn’t have a chance. However, I looked at the information and started to prepare Corey for what he would need to live independently. He was excited at the possibility, but also scared. I convinced him we had plenty of time……as it turned out, at the end of August, we learned he received a housing voucher. When it happened, I was driving. I pulled over multiple times because I was crying so hard.
We immediately obtained the list of apartments that accepted the voucher, and identified possibilities. We then attended the information session, competed paperwork, applied, and Corey moved into his own apartment on October 1, 2015!
In the time since, I have watched Corey grow and mature in a way I never anticipated. Although his waiver provider assists him, he has taken on more ownership. His independence has given him new found confidence. While he didn’t have all the skills he needed to live on his own, who does? So, when a new situation comes up, we teach him. We check in every day, and we see him regularly.
He made it!
I guess the most revelatory moment in our housing journey happened a few days after he moved in. After eating dinner at our house, Corey went to get his coat and backpack, kissed us and said, “That was great, but I really need to get back to my house now”.
-- Corey's Mother, Robin