Dear Friends & Colleagues,
The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) provides housing supports to more than 41,000 people with developmental disabilities, helping the individuals we serve to live full and active lives in the community. As part of the Transformation Panel listening sessions and other opportunities for public comment, I have heard repeated concerns from families and self-advocates seeking residential services, particularly where the family caregiver is aging or experiencing significant difficulty caring for their loved one at home. One of the key recommendations of the Transformation Panel was the implementation of a multi-year housing strategy designed to ensure that sufficient new opportunities can be developed so that families can assist their loved ones in moving into a housing opportunity before a crisis arises.
In furtherance of that recommendation, I am pleased to announce that OPWDD’s Regional Offices have issued five regional Requests for Services (RFS’) for the creation of 455 new certified residential opportunities. In addition to these 455 opportunities, more new development of certified opportunities is expected in the future to further meet demand as we continue to evaluate need. Each of these new opportunities will provide certified housing with person-centered supports tailored to each person’s needs. These additional residential services are being created primarily to assist people living at home who need to transition to OPWDD residential services in the community.
As you may know, OPWDD has reached out to people with developmental disabilities, their families, providers and advocates as partners in transforming the OPWDD system. We have done this by holding public forums, offering opportunities for public comment on key policy initiatives, and implementing the recommendations of the Transformation Panel. The multi-year housing strategy reflects these conversations and recommendations, as well as work conducted through our Residential Request List review initiative. As we put the multi-year housing strategy into action, we will be able to provide even more possibilities for people with developmental disabilities to find a place to call home.
Providers are encouraged to respond to the RFS’ and begin working with families who may be interested in and need certified residential services, in cooperation with OPWDD’s Regional Offices. OPWDD also has resources to support additional non-certified residential opportunities. We encourage providers to come forward to their Regional Offices to develop additional non-certified opportunities.
Thank you for your continued support as we work to provide residential supports that maximize independence and meet people’s needs.
Kerry A. Delaney, Acting Commissioner