It was only a few decades ago that people with A/I/DD were, more often than not, hidden behind closed doors, not allowed to go to school, and banned from having a typical life. Fortunately, this attitude has largely changed, yet systemic barriers to opportunities for meaningful community inclusion are still prominent. Although a friend, family member or neighbor with A/I/DD may not be intentionally hidden away and excluded, the experience of isolation and loneliness for themselves and their families is not uncommon. The Autism Housing Network (a project of Madison House Autism Foundation) and Neuro-Inclusive Housing Solutions created a unique process to collect market data in order to identify the barriers and opportunities to meet the unique local demand for neuro-inclusive housing options in communities across the country.
Using the model illustrated, participants of the market study will first learn about the benefits and considerations of the broad array of residential options available to those in Utah and also in other states. After being meaningfully informed, participants will complete a Needs & Preferences Survey to collect this important market data. The data is then presented to key local leaders in an interactive Local Leaders Neuro-Inclusive Housing workshop designed to identify critical factors for housing industry leaders, community-based organizations, policymakers and service providers to meet demand demonstrated by the data collected. From this gathering, a list of barriers, opportunities and data gaps are documented. Analysis is conducted and a report will be published that provides this missing research and economic data which in turn helps influence housing development, financial institutions, as well as state and federal policy. It is the beginning of fostering public, private, not-for-profit and philanthropic partnerships to develop a roadmap to increase housing options and improve quality of life for all of Utah’s neurodiverse citizens.