To quote the philosopher John Locke, “men can determine themselves” by the choices they make.
According to Real Life Quality Standards (volume IV, 1st edition, December 2005, Center for Self-Determination), Self-Determination for citizens with disabilities is about five principles:
- Freedom to decide how one wants to live their life
- Authority over a targeted amount of dollars
- Support to organize resources that are life enhancing and meaningful
- Responsibility for the wise use of public dollars and recognition of the contributions individuals with disabilities can make in their communities.
- Confirmation of the important role that individuals with disabilities must play in a newly redesigned system.
The tools used for self-determination are individual budgets, independent support brokering, and independent fiscal management.
Public funding comes from tax dollars. For too long, public dollars have been funding things that promote less than desirable lives. These things are congregate settings, clinically-based programs, segregated home-like environments, and rules and regulations that actually result in and require poverty. If a group home is described as “home-like” then the people that live their may not be calling it home.
Self-determined people live in places they call home, places they have chose after reviewing their personal needs and preferences, and comparing those to all the community options and one’s own budget. Self-determined people call apartments, condos, houses, and town housing “home”. This is where people use Community Housing Network’s team of housing scholars to:
- understand one’s needs and preferences
- create a housing budget
- brainstorm the housing possibilities
- create a housing goal
- understand the housing opportunities available in their communities
- know where housing subsidies are
- know how to use resources and professionals to accomplish housing goals
Some of the housing tools used by the Community Housing Network team include:
- Subsidized apartments
- Section 8
- Housing Planning Library
- Roommate Database
- Oakland HOME Program
- Other non-profits and for profits
- Fair Housing
- Special Needs/Exempt Asset Trusts
- Core providers
- Individualized budgets
The people at Community Housing Network use their many years of experience working with Community Mental Health, living in the community they are serving, and the housing study they do every day to assist people in reaching their self-determined housing goals.