Across the U.S., over 715,000 people with developmental disabilities live with aging parents. In our community, less than 100 of the 838 adults is receiving supportive living services and a mere 1.7% are benefiting from the State Housing Trust Fund. That is less than 25% of the state average of DDD clients served. The majority of adults living in our community reside with family members.
Additionally, state funding of vocational and employment programs looks dismal for graduating students. Typically Benton and Franklin Counties are able to serve about 10 in 70 graduating students from the local high schools. Families are being told that graduates will not be able to be serviced due to budget and program cuts.
Our organization is founded on the principal that just like non-disabled adult, DD adults have unique needs and that growth of that individual creates an evolution and changing needs in housing and other basic needs. While some people may do well living independently, some may need a roommate, and some may need more of a family environment to be successful at independence. We believe that “choice” for the individual and families is important and that there needs to be a variety of housing alternatives to best serve our community.
Modern Living Services (MLS) was founded in 2009 by a group of concerned parents that were worried about the future of their adult children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), especially in the area of housing. MLS began seeking property that was zoned multi-family with access to public transportation, banking, shopping, medical facilities and pharmacies. MLS enlisted the help of a commercial realtor who was also a mother of an adult daughter with IDD.
She found in her research only five properties that were over one acre and zoned for multi-family use. MLS was surprised by the shortage of property that is appropriately zoned for multi-family purposes. That shortage continues today.
Fortunately, an appropriate property was obtained and, with the tireless efforts of our community supporters, the Kennewick Perry Suites (KPS) housing project was built. KPS has 14 subsidized adult units for people with intellectual and other disabilities.