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Autism Speaks Launches Housing and Residential Supports Portal to Help Families Make Informed Decisions about Housing and Residential Services for Adults with Autism

New Online Tool to Provide Information and Insight to Navigate a Key Challenge Facing Adults with Autism

NEW YORK, N.Y. (January 12, 2012) – Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, today launched the Housing and Residential Supports Portal, a new online tool offering reliable, actionable information to help secure appropriate residential supports and services, a critical aspect of an individual with autism’s adult life. The Portal allows individuals and families to search for local housing opportunities – including houses under development – connect with local, state and federal resources for technical assistance, access a database of service agencies, and highlights of homes that support adults with autism around the country.

“The new Housing and Residential Supports Portal is Autism Speaks’ first significant foray into the area of housing services, which is a central issue to adults with autism and their families,” said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president of programs and services. “Working collaboratively, the public and private sectors can and must rise to the occasion and meet the housing needs of current and future adults with autism.”

In addition to Housing and Residential Supports Portal, there is a free Housing and Residential Supports Guide that includes insights and resources families need as they explore housing and residential services for an adult with autism. It seeks to demystify complicated issues, such as housing finance and rental subsidies. The Guide provides an overview of housing options and the supports and services often needed by adults living with autism. It also describes options for funding capital costs, operating costs and residential services and supports. The Housing and Residential Supports Guide creates a structure to help individuals and families consider and plan for the types of residential services and supports adults with autism need.

“The process of determining the best residential services and supports can be confusing and overwhelming,” said Leslie Long, Autism Speaks director, housing and adult services. “Adults with autism and their families now have more say in planning housing and supports, as well as identifying funding sources. This poses challenges, but can also present exciting opportunities. The Housing and Residential Supports Portal and Guide will empower them to make informed decisions as they navigate this important life transition.”

Among the key features of the Housing and Residential Supports Guide:

  • Tips on how to begin the housing search;
  • Descriptions of housing options and models of residential supports;
  • Information on funding options, including low-income, self-funded and agency-owned options;
  • A summary of funding sources for operational expenses (room and board) and residential support services;
  • Planning tools for determining needs and priorities and researching funding options;
  • A list of valuable outside resources.

Please visit our link to review Autism Speaks’ Position Statement on Housing and Residential Supports.

In addition, Autism Speaks is taking a leadership role in a national consortium of organizations working together to develop public and private sector support that improve the lives of adults living with autism. Please visit Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism for more information.

About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 110 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 600 percent increase in the past two decades that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research and developing innovative resources for families. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks’ Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which Autism Speaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign with the Ad Council has received over $300 million in donated media. Autism Speaks’ family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit, a Grandparent’s Guide to Autism, and a community grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government’s response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 29 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 10 states. Each year Walk Now for Autism Speaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit

About the Co-Founders
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism.  Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association. He served as Vice Chairman of General Electric; and as the Chief Executive Officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the board of directors of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, Mission Product, EMI Group Global Ltd., and AMC Networks Inc., and is a Trustee of the New York Presbyterian hospital. Suzanne Wright is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards, the Women of Distinction Award from Palm Beach Atlantic University, the CHILD Magazine Children’s Champions Award, Luella Bennack Volunteer Award, Spirit of Achievement award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's National Women’s Division and The Women of Vision Award from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 Heroes and Pioneers category, a list of the most influential people in the world, for their commitment to global autism advocacy.  They have also received the first ever Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the NYU Child Advocacy Award, the Castle Connolly National Health Leadership Award and the American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award.  In the past couple of years the Wrights have received honorary doctorate degrees from St. John’s University, St. Joseph’s University and UMass Medical School.