Autism Communities FAQ

  1. How does Autism Communities help people with Autism find a home?
    Autism Communities facilitates an innovative person centered process which helps people with Autism use their self-directed funds to move into a home of their own.  This could include finding a compatible housemate to identifying the right living arrangement within the community.
  2. How is SMILE (Support My Independent Life) affiliated with Autism Communities?
    After initial contact with someone from Autism Communities, if the applicant meets the criteria and is ready to start a transition process to independent living, they will be contacted by SMILE to map out a person-centered housing plan.
  3. What is the criteria for someone to live in an Autism Communities home?
    While we plan to be able to assist all people with an Autism Diagnosis seeking a community living arrangement, presently we are working with people between the ages of 20-35. Each applicant must also be “Self-Directed” through New York State’s Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.
  4. What is the staffing pattern in an Autism Communities supported home?
    In keeping with the self direction model, support staff for our residents will follow pre- apartment levels plus any additional requirements for overnight coverage. All personnel will be provided for and supplied for through each individual’s self-direction budget.
  5. Is there an out-of-pocket cost to the person for this model?
    Yes. Autism Communities will work closely with a person’s Self-Directed Broker to ensure their Self-Directed Budget is being utilized in the best way possible to meet the needs of living more independently in the community.  However, the Self-Directed Budget will not cover every expense for this model and a monthly expense will be incurred by each person. It is important to note that Autism Communities is a Not-for-Profit organization and does not charge any person for the purpose of making a profit.
  6. How is an Autism Communities home different from an OPWDD Residential home?
    An Autism Communities home is an alternative residential model that is not governed by OPWDD regulation. The home utilizes each person’s comprehensive and person-centered Life Plan which incorporate OPWDD mandated safeguards to ensure the safety and well-being of each person. Each home will have additional safeguards to establish a safe and healthy living environment for each person. Autism Communities embraces the involvement and support of each person’s family in the home.
  7. How are housemates chosen?
    Each Autism Communities home will have individualized bedrooms and offer the opportunity for people to choose friends they may wish to live with. If a person is seeking to make new friends in a new home, a housemate may be selected based upon compatibility, common interests, and similar capabilities.
  8. Where are Autism Communities homes located?
    The first Autism Communities homes will be in Suffolk County, New York, where we have established relationships with existing community developments. It is the goal of Autism Communities to offer a variety of locations across Long Island in the future.
  9. Whose name is on the lease of an Autism Communities home?
    While Autism Communities plays a major role in arranging for a home, it is truly the home of the person living there, and so, each person will have their name on the lease. The housing stipend of their Self-Directed Budget will be applied to the monthly rental fee. Each person’s parent/guardian will be asked to sign the lease as a co-signer or financial guarantor.
  10. Do housing candidates have to be residents of New York State?
    Yes, under the model that Autism Communities is currently employing, potential housing candidates must be a resident of New York State. Additionally, they must be enrolled in the Self-Direction Program through New York State’s Office For People With Developmental Disabilities.