A unique housing program
It has been a while since my first post on housing. A look back at that post revealed I promised follow-up discussions of several topics. It’s important to keep promises, isn’t it? So here goes, with a look at a facility that offers housing and other services.
I had to dig deep in the file box to find the name of this place in Concord California (which is sort of in the Bay Area): The Center for Adaptive Learning (CAL.) I first found it on a Google search when Nathan was 16 or 17. They provide housing, counseling, employment support, life skills training, social events, etc. Their clients are 19 years old and older and have ADD, learning disabilities, obsessive/compulsive disorder, Asperger’s, are on the autism spectrum, or some combination of these. Please follow the link and click around. It sounds just about ideal, no?
So what’s the catch? Here’s one that will stop many of us. I’ve pasted the following from CAL’s FAQ page:
Q: How much does our program cost?
A: The Annual Program Fee for CAL is $38,520.00*. The Program Fee does not include the client’s living expenses (rent, groceries and utilities). *Fees are subject to change without notice.
Elsewhere, the website says that the fees may be funded privately, through Regional Center membership, or through school district eligibility.
I don’t know how one would become eligible through a school district; I’m guessing one would have had extensive dealings with the special education department, with maybe a lawsuit or two in the mix? As for Regional Center, we tried and failed to get Nathan accepted as a client (and yes, that will be the subject of a future post. There’s a link to the Inland Regional Center on the Resources page of this blog.) Since we don’t really have $40,000+ per year to spare, the Center for Adaptive Learning was not an option for us.
I’m not suggesting that the fee is unreasonable, given what is being offered. Possibly, these days, some of it would be covered by health insurance. One year at college can run about the same amount of money. I just think you’d have to be convinced of a likely positive outcome before going down this road.
For us, a couple of factors made Nathan’s success at CAL a long shot. Like most people on the spectrum, Nathan is not a fan of change, and going to live at CAL would have amounted to total upheaval in his life. He has had big problems with much smaller changes in his routine. He never would have consented to go there, and if forced would have been totally uncooperative. (Wouldn’t that be the case with most of their potential autism-spectrum clients?) Secondly, Nathan’s refusal to work and his intense dislike of almost everyone he meets would not have gone well in this employment-oriented group setting. So, I have a wistful, nose-pressed-against-the-glass attitude toward CAL: “if only…”
If there are other facilities like CAL out there, I haven’t come across them in several searches over the years, except for one in England. Please share if you know of any.
I once met a representative of a housing facility that serves people with developmental disabilities. He heard my brief description of Nathan’s diagnoses and situation, and indicated that Nathan potentially qualified to live in their community care facility. Individuals who live there are pretty self-sufficient, but need prompting for some daily routine activities or guidance in social situations. When I asked how we’d go about starting the process, he said, “Well first, get Nathan into the Regional Center….” Gah!
This facility and others like it may sort of meet some of the needs of some of our CinderCone people, but they are far from a perfect fit. If some philanthropy or millionaire is looking for a worthy cause to spend its/his/her money on, I humbly submit that creating housing for young adults with mental health challenges is an excellent one. Not much competition to worry about – the field is all yours!