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A news magazine created to connect, inform & inspire
Issue: September 2023, News for the Journey Home
Sep 01, 2023
Lisa Pemberton
Lisa Pemberton - DSHS Media Relations Manager

Three Washington State agencies are coming together to fulfill $19 million in affordable and accessible housing contracts, meaning some new options are on the horizon for the IDD community.

A Note from Partners4Housing: You may have heard about Partners4Housing’s generous grant from the DDA’s Dan Thompson Memorial Developmental Disabilities Community Account. These funds are helping us provide free Benefits and Housing Reviews to thousands of families and people with IDD in Washington State. In related news, the state recently announced an important partnership that will help build more affordable and accessible housing. This article originally appeared on Medium.com and is reprinted here with permission from the DSHS. 

More affordable and accessible housing will be available soon for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Washington state. 

The Department of Social and Health Services, the Department of Commerce, and the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council are working together to fulfill about $19 million worth of affordable and accessible housing contracts. The contracts were awarded to community organizations and will be funded through the Dan Thompson Memorial Developmental Disabilities Community Services Account, which is managed by DSHS, along with the Housing Trust Fund, which is managed by [the WA State Department of] Commerce. 

The partnership will result in the development of approximately 14 affordable housing units, significant accessibility renovations on three single-family homes to promote independence, substantial facility modifications to create a six-bed stabilization program for adults, and 22 fully furnished multi-family units in a newly established apartment complex. Each of the housing options is specifically designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and includes accessibility features such as ramps, roll-in showers, lowered countertops, Hoyer lift tracks, and widening of doorways. 

“This partnership is the first of its kind in Washington, and we are thrilled to be part of it,” said DSHS Interim Assistant Secretary Tonik Joseph, who oversees the DSHS Developmental Disabilities Administration. “Many people dream of having a home of their own, in a community where they want to live. It’s the ultimate form of independence, and we’re excited to help make those dreams come true for our clients.” 

It’s estimated that 37,000 people (that’s about twice the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden) with intellectual and developmental disabilities face housing insecurity in the state, according to a recent DSHS report. Those who live with aging caregivers may struggle to find alternatives when a caregiver dies or is unable to continue providing support. Without affordable and accessible housing options, people who seek community-based living may turn to settings that are less independent than desired, not accessible, or more expensive than they can afford. 

As part of the partnership, DSHS, Commerce, and the DDC are collaborating with organizations and developers across the state to create more accessible and affordable housing options. 

“From the inception of this partnership, we knew that individuals with lived experience participated in the program design. We are grateful for the trust placed in us to carry forward the vision by investing in housing solutions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Commerce Assistant Director Corina Grigoras, who leads the department’s Housing Division. “Already we’re seeing a positive impact in communities across the state by increasing the pool of developers with the desire and capacity to take on these much-needed projects.” 

View DDA’s video on the affordable and accessible homes partnership. 


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