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HUD tips for People with Disabilities| Part 3

no time - 97/365
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HUD Tips for Parents and Guardians of People with Disabilities| Part 3

Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on HUD. I am sharing my personal experience. Please check with your local HUD.gov office.

In the last two posts, I’ve been documenting our journey toward moving Aaron, our son with the label of autism and developmental disabilities, to a new county with his HUD “housing choice voucher program” and Medicaid Waiver.

Here’s the recent status report:

1. On June 29th, Tom (my husband) and I met with two administrators from the residential provider and toured a prospective house for Aaron, recommended by the County Board of Developmental Disabilities. (This is our third different home to visit; the first two roommates were not good matches.)

The two administrators, residential providers, seemed competent and ask the right questions. The one administrator had a sister with a disability.

We shared Aaron’s ISP (Individualized Service Plan) and talked about Aaron’s needs.

Of course, the critical deciding factor will be Aaron’s compatibility with the other two roommates.

The ranch house was only a mile from where we lived. Aaron’s bedroom and most of the house were structurally sound, but there were some issues with the bathrooms needing to be remodeled, a sunken living room (which would be dangerous for Aaron who has a movement disorder and lots of balance issues) and the biggie, would the private landlord take a HUD voucher?

2. We filed with HUD for a 30 day notice to PORT to another county on June 30th. (Had to be in by the 1st of the month.)

3. We signed the physical paperwork with HUD (and the wonderful counselor) on July 5th.

4. Almost immediately, we got a nasty call from Aaron’s current residential company because they were so “shocked” we were unhappy. (Duh, if they had listened at even one of the meetings, they would have known this, clueless is not even close.)

5. Paperwork arrived in new county on July 5th. I called to set up an appointment only to be told they would send me a letter, and they set the appointments–not the consumer. (Okay, power struggle). Plus, the office was getting new carpet so the woman in charge wouldn’t be able to call me back. (Power power struggle). Lots of sighs at our house.

6. On July 5th, Aaron, Tom and I went to revisit the proposed home. We had a cookout with about 20 people including the two roommates and their families. The head of the residential company went into labor and couldn’t attend. The case worker who is in charge of this house (everyone in the house has the same caseworker) also couldn’t attend because she was on vacation until July 12.

7. We’ve been waiting and waiting… so the clock is ticking…the sand is shifting through the hourglass, the … every other cliché you can think of…we only have two more weeks left in July and the 30 days will be up.

Question:

Wonder if there is any loophole in HUD regulations that says, “The thirty day notice is for thirty days, unless the staff person is on vacation, having a baby, or is getting new carpeting in the office.”

What are the chances Aaron will find great roommates and happiness and quality care?

Another month from now will I be sending you all “HUD Tips… Part 25″?

“Will there be enough cliche pictures for all these parts?”

Can’t wait to tell you what happens next.

Comments

Please share your thoughts. Do you have any tips for housing for people with disabilities? If you rented houses, would you consider accepting the HUD rent subsidy voucher? What other cliches can I use? (Up the creek, cat up the tree… “Like the sands of an hourglass, so are the days of our lives….???????)

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward,

All my best,

Mary

Other Related Posts You Might Find Interesting:

HUD Tips for Parents and Guardians of People with Disabilities| Part 1.

HUD Tips for People with Disabilities| Part 2

Forgetting Spells, Inclusion and Happy Endings

HUD tips for People with Disabilities| Part 2

Time
Creative Commons License photo credit: John-Morgan

HUD Tips for Parents and Guardians of People with Disabilities| Part 2

Disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on HUD. I am sharing my personal experience to the best of my ability. Please check with your local HUD.gov office.

Parents and Guardians of People with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities often feel helpless, surrounded in myths.

We are told we have no choice in our lives: we should just “live with” our conditions; and even worse, we should be thankful for the services we have—no matter how awful.

HUD Myth #1: HUD rent vouchers CAN be transferred to another county.

For many years I was told we would not be able to transfer the HUD voucher for Aaron, our son with the label of autism.

Now, maybe some regulation just changed, or maybe the truth was buried in the millions of words on the most complicated website I know (HUD.gov) but until recently this was the common myth everyone used. NOT TRUE.

Aaron is the “head of household” and his “housing choice voucher” (HCV) is “portable.” This means Aaron could move to another county– and even another state if they have a HUD program. The giving and receiving counties have to agree on some things, but it can work.

This is amazing news for us:

1. It means Aaron will be able to live close to his family.

2. And after his parents die, Aaron will be able to live close to his brother Tommy, who will become his guardian. Tommy is a radio frequency engineer and gets transferred around the country.

3. It means Aaron can move to a place which offers him better program options.

This week I met with a HUD counselor and had the best experience. She was knowledgeable, friendly and cared. She took a personal interest in helping us. I can’t say enough good things about her. She is our blessing of the week.

The request for a transfer is quite simple. I sent this email and then met with the counselor to sign the official forms the following day.

Request to PORT

June 30, 2011

I , (name) at (address) am giving my 30 day notice to move my HUD voucher to (name) County.

Thank you,

Signature

Additional Information:

• As I understand it, the deadline to file for the transfer is the first of each month. This was a little tricky because I learned of this at 4:55 pm on June 30th. So, I had to make a decision in the 5 minutes before the office closed for the month. If I would have filed on July 3rd, the 30 days would have started on July 31. So we would have lost a month.

• If you are the guardian, you will need to provide proof with your official guardianship paperwork.

• The next working day (after the holiday) I met with the counselor from the “sending” county to sign the official paperwork.

• The counselor then faxed the paperwork to the new “receiving” county and gave notice to the owner of Aaron’s house. This was a shock to the residential company and the owner contacted me before I could even catch my breath. Which was an unpleasant experience I knew would come eventually, but I didn’t expect it that day.

• Aaron’s housemate will no longer have the rent subsidy, but he can apply to HUD. The county has an emergency “bridge” rent fund until he gets one, so he will be okay.

• I am to contact the new county and make an appointment with the HUD counselor.

• If this was a normal HUD family rental situation, the new counselor would hand me a list of available HUD houses or apartments to rent, and then I would begin a selection process with potential landlords.

Because we are part of “Disability World” we have another whole set of issues (next article).

Timelines: The sand is shifting in the hourglass

Aaron’s rent will stop on his current residence on July 31. If we still don’t have a new place for him to live, then we can petition HUD to get another 30 days extension but will need a letter from his landlord saying that is okay.

If we can’t find anything by August 1st we can ask for up to a 60 day extension from the local housing authority in the new county.

If we do not use the voucher by 120 days, then it is GONE—Poof! And we would need to apply again, if and when they open the window on new applications.

Change is possible, but not easy

So, the die is cast. The decision is made to move. And while there is relief, there is hope for a better life…I’m trying hard not dwell on my fears. I know this is a step in the right direction, but geez… I do keep getting the image of Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, looking into the hourglass with panic in her eyes.

Next article, I’ll talk about how Disability World complicates “just find a place to rent.”

Comments

Please share your thoughts. Do you have any tips for housing for people with disabilities? Have you ever just taken the leap of faith that all will work out? Am I nuts? Should I just have sucked it all up and stayed where we were? Do you ever experience a “counselor” in a government agency who is so helpful, you just want to give them a hug?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward,

All my best,

Mary

Other Posts You Might Find Interesting:

HUD Tips for Parents and Guardians of People with Disabilities| Part 1.

What would you do? Case of Trash vs. Treasure or Staff vs. Person with Disabilities

Drinking Beer and the Dignity of Risk