What we’ve learned so far about finding an apartment for a young adult with disabilities

Every state has a housing development authority. In Michigan, it’s the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Start with MSHDA here: webapp.mshda.cgi-bps.com/Default.aspx For help finding an apartment, start here: michiganhousinglocator.com/Portals/mshda/Default.aspx (but not sure this listing service show correct information about Spectran paratransit in Lansing.)

Word of mouth–It could take as long as 3 years to get to the top of the waiting list. When/if you do get to the top, you have to take what is offered anywhere in the county or else go to the bottom and wait again.

Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) are the most desirable subsidy because, as the name implies, you can choose to live anywhere (in theory). The government reimburses the landlord for what you cannot pay. You can find out more at MSHDA.

Lansing Housing Commission (lanshc.org; 517-487-6550) is another portal to some of the same opportunities. Do you own property? Would you like help to turn it into a low-rent opportunity? Lansing Housing Commission, or any local housing commission, is probably your best bet to speak to a human being rather that only view a website.

Affordable Housing Online has quite a bit of information about different kinds of subsidized housing, but I wondered if some spam I got was because of them. Two unsubscribes and the spam was over, so I think it’s worth spending time there and maybe signing up for their info. You can sign up for email alerts for the state you live in. These folks also have some “guides” that tell more about housing options, if you scroll to the bottom of the screen. (affordablehousingonline.com) You’ll be shocked by some info, such as “This county’s waiting list was last opened in March 2014, and it’s not known when the waiting list will be open again.” It’s clear there’s a housing shortage for people with disabilities who need reduced rent.

Intentional communities are a throwback to the 60s commune lifestyle, but designed so that families and friends can encircle and support individuals who need extra help to live independently. Check out these in Michigan: Lansing Intentional Communities (LINCS; http://linc2linc.org ), Intentional Communities of Washtenaw (intentcom.org), Saline Maple Oaks (www.salinemapleoaks.com)

A good basic question when exploring housing is this: How do you feel about having a roommate? This is a crucial piece of information when searching for housing.

Good luck and post your tips. Forward this to others who might want to get some help on the journey. You can email Lydia at lschuck51@edentransition.org.

 

Meeting Thursday 3/1 in Mason

We’ll be meeting for the Girls’ Social Group on March 1 and 15, and then every first and third Thursday through May. We meet at 1981 Eden Road in Mason. We meet from 6:30 to 8. Put a comment below if you want to ask questions.

Is there someone you’d think might like to know about our social opportunities for girls and young women with autism or other social issues? Send them the link to this webpage, and encourage them to join our list. Helpful resources only go as far as our mailing list members!

Next time: What we’re finding out about housing, summer opportunities for blind youth, and other useful thoughts about transition to adulthood.

Got Transition?

Have you visited GotTransition.org? Got Transition aims to improve transition from pediatric to adult health care through the use of new and innovative strategies for health professionals and youth and families.

For many young people with disabilities or other health care related issues, the transition to adult health care systems can be quite a challenge. Our daughter, at 25, just saw her behavioral pediatrician for the last time! She’d already successfully been managing her doctor visits for everything else, but it’s hard to part with the doctor who has walked through autism with us!

Our next group meeting for young women is on Thursday, February 15.

Younger girls, too — Meeting in 2018

Our girls’ group has become a fairly steady little group, but it is mostly girls who are out of high school. Sometimes we meet someone with a younger daughter or friend, and maybe they don’t want to bring a 12 year old to our group with older young ladies.

In February, we’ll start a monthly group for girls ages 12 to 17. Of course this is flexible, since girls develop at different rates. Generally, older girls are talking about living, learning, and playing in settings away from family. Younger girls are still very much thinking of themselves within family and school building contexts.

Older girls will enjoy goal-setting for adult life, while younger girls would rather talk about getting through high school. Which girl is your daughter, granddaughter, or friend? Watch this space for announcements of meetings in 2018.

If you aren’t following us yet, sign up. You may be receiving our occasional emails, but those who follow the blog get all of the announcements and resources we have to offer.

 

First Steps into Adult Life

It can be very challenging to take your first steps into adult life.

If you are a young adult with a disability that makes it difficult or impossible to find work, you might try going to college. But if you also find it difficult or impossible to attend college right now, there’s probably very few options of things to do to fill your days. It’s not that you don’t want to do something productive, it is just not working out right now.

Your parents long for you to be fulfilled, to be happy, to be living the life you want to live. Sometimes it’s hard to even figure out what life you want to live.

So what are you doing with your time?  One thing you can do is join the Girls’ Social Group on December 5th and 14th for a time of learning and fun.

Another thing you can do is form a network of friends who will encourage you. In the past, young women who attend the Girls’ Social Group have made friends and followed each other on social media, kept in touch by text, did things together, and were really happy to see each other at every meeting of the group.

On December 5, we’ll meet again in Mason, 1981 Eden Road, from 6:30 to 8 PM. We’ll be talking about making those first steps into adult life. We’ll be planning some new activities for the new year. Come join us!IMG_2286

 

 

 

 

June 6 Girls and Young Women meet for social time

Girls and young women who have autism or other social challenges, disabilities, or just needing to make a new friend can join us on June 6 at 6:30 PM in Mason (near Lansing), Michigan. Lydia Schuck, a transition-to-adulthood specialist, facilitates this group. Our goal is for every girl or young woman to be able to say, “I am going to hang out with my friends tonight.”

Girls join in a short social skills activity and then have time to talk together. Any girl can bring their own craft to do, drawing, whatever, but we also have crafts available, so that girls don’t have to talk a lot if they don’t want to.

Moms and Dads can stay or go, drop off or stay to talk with other parents. We have a good setup for parents to talk in a space that is just far enough to talk freely, but close enough for you to be sure your daughter is thriving at the meeting.

Over the years, we find that the group members are very kind to each other and that they form lasting friendships. You can see our contact information at the side. Please follow the site to get announcements and helpful resources.

 

Celebrating Together? Growing Adults

In our family, celebrating the birth of Christ is part of our faith tradition. Most families have traditions, but ours are changing as our children reach adulthood. First of all, the three girls in our family (ages 24, 21, and 15) are busier, with their own social commitments. We just aren’t together as much as we used to be!

Along the same lines, our kids are all older, and we just don’t get as excited about everything the way we did when they were little. On the other hand, they all like getting each other gifts, and our youngest did the work of putting up decorations. (She also managed to destroy the plastic mistletoe that I had overlooked from last year!)

What will life will be like for our

adult children

when we are gone?

Sometimes the changing of seasons is a bit bittersweet as we reflect on our oldest daughter’s adult life.  We wonder if she will marry, live on her own, be able to manage money well, and to be happy when we are not in the picture anymore.  Now there’s a thought that will dampen the celebrations!  At those moments, I try not to think about all the people who asked me if I think about how she will get along without her parents some day.

Well, really, how could  I NOT be thinking about it? I don’t talk about it that often, but I certainly think about it every single day. My strategy for now is to keep teaching her about adult living. We continue our transition-to-adulthood conversation all year long, and I am celebrating that our daughter is more grown-up at the end of 2016 than she was at the end of 2015!  Is anybody else celebrating?

What is transition to adulthood?

It’s just what you might think.  Every child makes a transition to becoming an adult.  This journey to adulthood is different for every person.  We all faced obstacles in reaching adult life goals, but kids with disabilities may face more barriers than others.  Eden Transition Alliance is run by some folks who recognize that youth with disabilities might need to make friends in a setting other than the school building, and might want to talk to adults who know what extra resources and supports are available to them.  We define the time of transition to adulthood as ages 14 to 24 for our girls groups, but there are no hard and fast numbers.  Reaching age 29 or 39 or 49 is no guarantee of a smooth journey, and everyone faces bumps along the way.  Our goal is to support youth as they make the journey to adulthood.

Girls Social Groups meet on the the second Monday evening of every month in Mason, and the 2nd and 4th Tuesday evenings in Lansing.  Check our Event Calendar for more information.  And follow our site for updates (below right).