A mixed use housing and medical destination for people with intellectual disabilities and seniors
Because housing and services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are underfunded and scarce, family members may end up never relinquishing their caregiver roles, even as they age into needing services themselves. Aging parents may remain in housing that no longer fits their needs or provides the safety they require. Because this is also often the case for seniors generally who remain the community, a suburban-Chicago building developer saw a potential market demand for housing that would accommodate all three populations. Smart Policy Works served as a disability policy and services consultant on this project.
The firm, a local development group and housing provider, based its plans on our data analysis and strategic consultation. The company is seeking to convert a former hospital site into a mixed use development that will include housing for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, and seniors, as well as on-site medical care and ancillary services in a setting well integrated into the community. The multi-acre project will also feature community amenities such as a neighborhood park and playground, and green space.
We expect that, if successful, the approach taken here could have wide-ranging applications. As the population continues to age, there is growing potential and market opportunity for housing that meets these kinds of needs, allows people to age in place, and allows families to live together. Such projects can incorporate lessons from new models that attempt to integrate smaller settings with innovative approaches to services. While these early, limited experiments have tended to be high-priced, they reflect experience gained from the growing demand for services and supports that offer a way for seniors to age in place. The nation has swung sharply away in recent years from institutionalization – a shift that is reflect in the fact that more than half of Medicaid spending is now for home and community based services. Providing services in the community is both more cost-effective and a more person-centered approach, we expect that swelling demand and federal participation will gradually act to lower prices for housing created along these models.
We are meanwhile also engaged in data and policy analysis to determine the scope and scale of potential demand for long-term services and supports in Illinois.
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