Housing Options

OPWDD and provider agencies offer residential opportunities to people with developmental disabilities that help them live as independently as possible in the community.

By offering supports including Community Habilitation, Environmental Modifications, Live-in Caregivers or Paid Neighbors, people can live at home with family or living independently in their own home or apartment.

Agencies can offer residential opportunities for people in certified homes that give them a different level of support that may be suitable for their needs. The Certified Residential Opportunities protocol is used to determine which level is most appropriate. 

Providers can offer people the option 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 is adequate staffing to meet the needs of the other people living in the home.


Family Care

OPWDD and provider agencies may offer people with developmental disabilities an opportunity to live in a family's home that has been certified. The family care provider has received extensive training, and will provide the person with a safe home where the person can be active and enjoy all the things families enjoy, like eating together and spending time together. 

Visit the Family Care section of this website for more information.


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. The amount of your housing subsidy will be decided using a formula that takes into account the county the person lives in, the number of people who will be living in the home, the number of bedrooms in the home and some other things. The person is expected to contribute a percentage of your income towards your housing costs. 

For information about housing supports and residential opportunities, agencies should contact the local DDRO or the Office of Home and Community Living by email at [email protected]

Residential Support Categories

The Residential Support Categories provide guidance for determining a person's need for residential support. They describe how a person’s circumstances, and/or the circumstances of their family or caregivers, are considered when there is a need for residential support. The categories define when an individual or family’s situation is considered to be an emergency need, a substantial need or a current need.

These categories are applied when an individual who needs residential support, or the family/caregiver, is ready to actively seek this opportunity. Categories are determined when referral information, provided by a care manager or other referral source, is received and reviewed by the Residential Support team at one of OPWDD’s regional offices.

Emergency Need

  1. Homelessness or Immediate Risk to Safety:  The person has no permanent place to live or is at imminent risk of having no permanent place to live. He or she is at imminent risk to health and safety of self or others.
  2. Individuals Living with Family/Caregivers:  The person's family/caregiver has an emergency situation where the primary caregiver is incapacitated for example due to long term illness and/or permanent injury and there is no other available caregiver.
  3. Individuals Living in Other Settings:  The person is ready for discharge from a hospital or psychiatric facility; ready for release from incarceration; in a temporary setting such as a shelter, hotel, or hospital emergency department.

Substantial Need
Individuals Living With Family/Caregivers:  The person has increasing risk of having no permanent place to live. This includes someone whose family or other caregivers are becoming increasingly unable to continue to provide care to manage the individual’s needs, including behavioral needs.

The person is at increasing risk to their health and safety, or presents an increasing risk to the safety of self or others.

Individuals Living In Other Settings
The person otherwise presents a substantial need for residential placement because they are: transitioning from a residential school or Children’s Residential Program (CRP); residing in a developmental center and ready to move to the community; or residing in a skilled nursing facility and ready to move to the community.

Current Need
The person has a need for residential placement, has requested and is ready to actively seek a residential opportunity, but the need is not an emergency nor substantial as defined above.

Money Follows the Person

If a person you support in an Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) or Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) wants or needs to transition to a smaller setting in the community, or an ICF is transitioning to an IRA, the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program may provide the person(s) support pre- and post-transition to the community setting. The MFP’s Transition Specialist (TS) may facilitate linkage to resources for a smooth transition. You can make a referral to the Money Follows the Person program for someone receiving or is interested in supports through your agency, or someone else may make the referral on the person’s behalf. As a provider you need to be aware of and ready to assist with these transitions. Referrals can be made to OPWDD’s Community Transition mailbox, [email protected].

The New York State Department of Health's (NYSDOH) Money Follows the Person (MFP) program contracts with the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) to provide transition assistance through the Open Doors program. When NYAIL/Open Doors receives a referral from OPWDD or other referral sources about a possible transition, they may contact the provider agency and/or the CCO, if applicable, to assist in planning with the person or their guardian/family advocate to obtain the required informed consent and to complete the Quality of Life (QOL) Survey.  

As a provider, you may be asked for assistance with providing information on guardian status, providing guardian/advocate contact information, making introduction calls to guardians/advocates, assisting with the facilitation of initial meetings or meeting with NYAIL and/or with the person to conduct the QOL surveys, etc. Your cooperation is vital to ensuring the people we support live in the most integrated setting possible that best reflects their wants and needs.

Integrated Supportive Housing

OPWDD’s Integrated Supportive Housing program combines affordable housing opportunities with supportive services to assist a person with living independently. Projects usually feature a partnership between a housing developer and an OPWDD service provider and are typically financed through low-income housing tax credits and other public funding streams. Providers interested in participating in a supportive housing project should contact OPWDD’s Housing Office at [email protected]

2023-24 Integrated Supportive Housing (ISH) Application

The OPWDD Integrated Supportive Housing (ISH) program aligns with New York State’s initiatives to increase the number of affordable/supportive housing statewide. This program encourages and supports the development of new housing opportunities for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) who can benefit from an independent, non-certified community-integrated residential setting. The OPWDD ISH program support includes either: (1) solely rental subsidies and supportive services once in operation; or (2) rental subsidies and capital funding (or financial development source)

The ISH program began in 2012 through a partnership with NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). Through this partnership, developers of affordable housing opportunities receive application scoring incentives for partnering with an OPWDD provider agency (also known as the housing “Support Agency”) and giving tenant preference for people served by OPWDD (see the section later in this document, entitled “Role of the Provider as the Housing Support Agency” for more information).

Under this program, OPWDD will provide funding for up to 25% of the total number of units which offer preference in tenant selection to individuals eligible to receive OPWDD services.

Each applicant will be required to demonstrate that their proposal is consistent with OPWDD service provision expectations as well as any fiscal expectations of the primary capital funding entity. As part of this requirement, each project team is required to have a Technical Assistance session with OPWDD Home and Community Living staff before submitting an application for their project.”

List of Integrated Supportive Housing Projects

Below is a compiled list of all of the Integrated Supportive Housing projects that OPWDD has supported since 2012.  The projects at the bottom of the list were supported in OPWDD’s most recent Request for Applications round. 

View the list of Integrated Supportive Housing Projects


2020 ESSHI RFP Data

The Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative RFP Data is developed from time-limited real-time data collection conducted by OPWDD’s regional offices. 

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OPWDD Integrated Supportive Housing Program Overview
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Video of OPWDD Integrated Supportive Housing Program Overview

Housing Brochure