ADAPT’s Family Support Services Program is helping to provide housing opportunities to people with disabilities and helping them to get acclimated to their new normal amid COVID-19 outbreak.
During the COVID-19 shutdown, three new people have been fully enrolled in Individualized Supports and Services (ISS), which is a rental subsidy program that provides permanent housing subsidies for those eligible through the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). ADAPT assists with helping to find and secure an affordable apartment and can assist with any needed home modifications. In addition, ISS can help with developing a support system required to achieve independence. The subsidy also allows for start-up costs, which can be used to move, pay your security deposit, and furnish your apartment. Adapt currently provides supports to 37 people with their ISS Rental Subsidy and continues to look for ways to help support people with disabilities in helping to attain housing.
Brooke O. has been one person who has benefited from ISS in recent weeks during the COVID-19 outbreak. Brooke had applied to the ISS program and was working closely with Melissa Wilcox, Director of ISS at ADAPT, to meet all eligibility requirements and was accepted into the program. Brooke also has been working closely with Community Habilitation, another program within the Family Supports and Services Department, over the past several months to learn a plethora of new skills based on her personal goals. Community Habilitation is a service that is tailored to the participant’s needs, wants, and preferences and provides supports to help them meet their personal goals. For Brooke, these skills include independent living skills, effective communication, and coping skills, as well as strengthening body positivity and self-confidence through self-expression.
Through the help of Community Habilitation, Brooke was able to strengthen her communication skills by teaching her how to effectively communicate with landlords and brokers as well as helping her to find an apartment that would be suitable for her needs. All of Brooke’s hard work finally paid off, and she signed the lease to her new apartment in Brooklyn last month! Brooke was mid-move once the social distancing rules took effect in New York City. Fortunately, ADAPT was able to help this challenging situation by providing some additional assistance moving. Since many moving companies were shut down during the pandemic, a U-Hal was rented through start-up costs from ISS to move Brooke.
Victoria Lindner, Vy Kaplan and Maria Perullo from Community Habilitation were able to help by giving tutorials catered to Brookes’s needs and preference to help get Brooke acclimated to her new apartment. Some of the areas of focus include budgeting, cooking, and even finding her own personal style through learning about makeup, fashion trends and design. Community Habilitation Staff taught Brooke how to safely apply makeup from foundation to bronzer. Brooke will be using these skills to find her own look that empowers her self-image and self-expression.
Brooke is also learning how to cook through the help of Community Habilitation workers. She has learned how to safely use kitchen appliances and is working with staff to make shopping list and find recipes so she can cook in her new kitchen. Community Habilitation staff gives direction and feedback through video conferencing technology. They are also providing emotional support to assist her through this transition in her life as well as helping her to navigate through current roadblocks caused by COVID-19.
Brooke is very happy with her new apartment and all the benefits that come with it. She stated, “I like the independence. I feel more comfortable. I am able to watch TV when I want too. I cook what I want too. She continued, “I feel Community Habilitation cuts down my frustration and a feeling of being overwhelmed, apartment searches would not happen without Com Hab, and I feel comfortable with them.”
Family Support Services is taking applications for all of our supports and services, including home modification, family reimbursement, housing advocacy, Community Habilitation, Independent Living, and Rent Subsidy Service (ISS). If you are interested in learning more, please contact Project Connect by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (877-827-2666).