Housing options: as limited as I think they are?
I have optimistically included “Housing” as a category in this blog, even though I don’t have much information on it. I am hoping that YOU, Dear Readers, will be able to share housing options I haven’t stumbled across yet. Or are the options really as limited as they seem?
A little background on our situation: our son Nathan has a unique combination of chronic severe depression, Asperger’s, and AD/HD, with some other disorders thrown in. He is smart and in some sense capable of either going to college or holding a job – but he is also incapable of doing either of those, even with ongoing meds and therapy. Maybe it’ll take more time, or maybe he will never get there – that’s the reality. But in the meantime, …?
He could have lived with us indefinitely, which is a choice many families make. In our case, Nathan’s continued presence in our house after turning 18 would have been toxic to the family overall. I felt he also needed to experience more independence – not to have his parents take care of his every need.
Part of the benefit of going off to college is living away from your parents, right? The dorms, fraternities/sororities, co-ops etc. provide valuable life lessons (not always pleasant ones) for young adults, apart from what they learn in the classrooms. And although I don’t have first-hand experience with the armed forces, I’ll bet part of what shapes our young military personnel into adults is their experience of living away from home. College and the military provide a transition stage of living arrangements, where many needs are taken care of – but not by parents. In a few more years, these young adults will be on their own, searching for places to live, dealing with utilities, figuring out where their hot meals are coming from. In other words, they’ll be dealing with adult issues, as adults.
But what about our kids? Where are the facilities that give our kids that away-from-home transition to independent living? Hmmm.
One family I know bought a mobile home for their son in a quiet mobile home park. He has a scooter to get around, and the other (mostly senior citizen) park residents kind of keep an eye out for him.
Our family counselor once heard of a ranch somewhere near Temecula, CA that is run by young adults with Asperger’s. Neither she nor I has been able to find it – and we’re pretty good at scoping things out. This ranch sounds like an urban legend, doesn’t it?
I’ve also been told of an apartment complex in Redlands, CA that caters to people with mental health challenges. The tenants live independently, but the apartment manager keeps an eye out and is familiar with the issues the tenants face. I haven’t been able to find this complex yet, but need to keep trying.
There are some facilities that provide housing, job counseling, life skills training etc. to young adults on the autism spectrum and/or with other mental health challenges. In a later post I’ll list a few. The catch is that they are VERY EXPENSIVE unless the young adult is, say, a client of a Regional Center (which will be the subject of later posts.)
Your local County Department of Mental Health (or Behavioral Health, or whatever they call it in your county) should have some resources to suggest. You can also check with your local NAMI chapter. (I’ll be doing posts on these organizations later also.) And there may be other local non-profits that help the disabled with housing options. Mostly what I have heard is that the board and care places run the gamut from “sort-of-okay” to “I wouldn’t put my dog in one.”
I’ll discuss what we did for Nathan in a later post.