Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Housing Options and Supports


OPWDD offers residential supports and services based on each person’s needs, goals and preferences. Our goal is to support you to live in the most integrated community setting possible. While it is often seen as more common for people with milder disabilities to live independently in the community, people with moderate to very severe disabilities have also been successful at living independently in apartments and their own homes.

Living at Home with Family or Living Independently: 

OPWDD provides staff and other supports and services you need to help you live successfully with people you choose in your family home or in your own place:

  • Community Habilitation is a service you can get at home and in the community that provides staff to help you learn and keep the skills you need to live safely and more independently, meet people and make and keep friends, take part in community activities, and be part of your community. Community habilitation can be either self-directed or run by an agency.
  • Environmental Modifications include physical changes made to your home that can help you live safely in your home and get out into the community.  Live-in Caregiver: If you live independently and share your home with another person who supports you to live independently, you may qualify for Live-in Caregiver services. Live-in Caregiver services: Provide for the room and board costs for the Live-in Caregiver, who: Must be unrelated to you (the person with I/DD). Stays with you in your home, or goes out with you and makes sure you stay safe and well. Paid Neighbor: If you self-direct your services, OPWDD will support you to live independently and to choose a neighbor who is paid to be “on-call” and help you if you need help once in a while because of a problem or to do some certain task. 

Certified Residential Opportunities:

Certified homes offer different levels of support to people who have greater needs. The Certified Residential Opportunities (CRO) protocol is used to determine need for certified homes.

Family Care: OPWDD supports you to live in a family’s home. This family care home is certified and the family care provider will make sure that you have the help you need to be safe and active, and to do the things that families do, like eating together and spending time together. 

Individualized Residential Alternatives (IRAs): In an IRA, OPWDD supports you to live in a certified home in the community with a small number of other people with developmental disabilities. The agency that runs the home will make sure that there are staff there to meet your needs and the needs of the other people living in the home.

Managing Housing Costs

OPWDD supports people with developmental disabilities to live as independently in the community as possible by helping with housing costs. This help comes in the form of a housing subsidy. If you ask for a housing subsidy, the amount of your housing subsidy will be decided using a formula that takes into account the county you live in, the number of people who will be living in your home, the number of bedrooms in your home and some other things. You are expected to contribute a percentage of your income towards your housing costs. 

You may choose:

Market Rate Home/Apartment: You may use your housing subsidy toward any eligible house or apartment that is for sale or rent that you like and choose. You are responsible for paying the part of the cost that is more than your housing subsidy.

Subsidized Apartment: You may get limited housing support to use toward a Housing Choice  (Section 8) subsidized apartment [established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), cost and availability are different in different parts of NYS]. 

Public Housing: You may get a housing subsidy to live in public housing that is affordable rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and people with all types of disabilities. 

Customized Residential Option: You may use your housing subsidy toward the cost of a noncertified, single family home or apartment owned or managed by a not-for-profit agency who rents the house to people with  developmental disabilities. Each person who lives in the house has his or her own lease and tenants work together to decide the rules of the house. 

Home Ownership: OPWDD’s Home of Your Own (HOYO) Program allows income-eligible, first-time homebuyers who have an intellectual or developmental disability (ID/DD) to purchase their own homes. The individual may apply his/her housing subsidy toward the expenses of their home, including the mortgage, taxes and utilities. To learn more about the Home of Your Own program or to request housing counseling, contact OPWDD’s Office of Home and Community Living at (518) 473-1973, or at [email protected].

Residential Schools may also be an option for students.

For information about housing supports and residential opportunities, contact:

  • DDRO
  • Office of Home and Community Living 

More Resources To Help You Select the Housing Option Right for You:

See Housing Information and Resource Links for more information and resources.