Michigan’s Centers for Independent Living

Position Statement:
Housing Policy for People with Disabilities

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Summary:

Michigan’s communities thrive when people with disabilities are contributing to all sectors of their community. We encourage legislators to support policies that continue the momentum of individuals with disabilities living in their own homes in the community versus institutionalized settings..

Issues:

  • Most people with disabilities and seniors in nursing and group homes still have little awareness of their rights and options, including the right to move to more independent living situations.
  • There is a growing trend of mini-institutions, where clusters of smaller group homes are assembled on a single site. This is not inclusion, but another method of segregation.
  • There is an on-going, long-standing issue of not having a sufficient supply of accessible, affordable housing across the state.
  • There is limited funding available to help individuals move from an institutional setting (like adult foster care, nursing or group home residence) to an independent inclusive community, while still having funding available for personal care.
  • While the person-centered planning process does help people plan to be independent, it rarely includes the necessary information and resources to get and maintain residential independence.

Recommendations:

  • Increase funding, tax credits, and other incentives to increase the supply of affordable, accessible housing for individuals with disabilities that are truly located in the community and not a part of a mini-institution.
  • Incorporate universal design standards as permissible in state model building codes, allowing for aging in place and increasing accessibility and visitability in all homes.
  • Provide for additional transition coordinators, modeled on the Medicaid program, for those coming out of nursing homes or other institutional settings.
  • Enact state-level Medicaid/Medicare policy that provides for home and community-based services (HCBS) first, allowing the state to spend half as much for services per recipient.
  • Ensure that Michigan State Housing Development Authority funding allocations and requirements do not allow for “redlining” or other segregation in funding accessible housing.
  • Increase the supply of well-trained, in-home care services across the state by setting standards through Medicaid/Medicare reimbursement and contracting mechanisms.
  • Enact legislation allowing for property tax credits for home renovations or modifications to allow for disability accommodation, such as those proposed in SB184.
  • Increase the number of housing vouchers available for individuals with disabilities.

Closing:

Michigan will be at its best when individuals with disabilities are able to live independently with well-trained and paid services and supports to create an inclusive community that values diversity.

Michigan’s Centers for Independent Living encourage our Legislature to support a variety of home and community-based living options that supports people with disabilities to remain independent and for Michigan’s citizens to age in place.