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 his or her 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, the Money Follows the Person program can provide assistance pre- and post-transition assistance and 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.

The New York State Department of Health's (NYSDOH) Money Follows the Person (MFP) program contracts with the NY 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 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 NYAIL and with /or the individual 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 typically 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]

View the 2022 Integrated Supportive Housing Application

Memo: Announcement of a new winter funding round for OPWDD Integrated Supportive Housing projects seeking capital funding from NYS Homes and Community Renewal

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. 

Review Data

OPWDD Integrated Supportive Housing Program Overview