Date: Nov. 13, 2013
Today Autism Speaks announced the results of the National Housing and Residential Supports Survey. The first-of-its-kind survey is a snapshot of the current housing and support needs of the rapidly growing number of young adults and adults with autism. The survey, which received over 10,000 responses, including close to 400 from individuals on the spectrum, was distributed via the Autism Speaks website, various social media outlets, partner organizations and emails to the Autism Speaks community including tool kit recipients, walkers, volunteers and more. Autism Speaks collaborated with SIS International Research to develop and execute the survey. The National Housing and Residential Supports Survey was funded by a gift from the Boler Family Foundation.
There were two separate online surveys, one for people with autism, and the other for caregivers, to provide input about the needs of those with autism who may not be able to respond for themselves. . The surveys consisted of a broad range of questions on the current state of housing and residential support opportunities for individuals with autism, as well as the future needs and preferences of this population. The survey was intended to identify the most important and commonly recurring housing needs within this community and highlight the concerns of their caregivers when it comes to providing for these needs.
Despite the extraordinary need for housing and support services, only 24% of caregivers reported that the individual is currently on a waiting list to receive these services. Just one in four caregivers is currently saving for the future housing needs of the individual. These statistics highlight the drastic need for funding for these families to help connect individuals with the housing and residential support services that will allow them to thrive as adults. The results from the survey clearly indicate there must be greater awareness and better education of families of individuals with autism regarding the steps to take at an early age to ensure access to housing and residential supports for when they reach adulthood.
The needs of adults with autism continue to far exceed the available resources, leaving a generation of people with autism and their families in a programmatic, financial and personal limbo. In order for adults with autism to have the services they need, resources must be available and policy must be amended to ensure that individuals on the spectrum have access to services and supports to meet their needs. It is our hope that the survey’s results which demonstrate an overwhelming need for housing and residential support services will encourage more options and new and innovative models to provide appropriate housing and supports so that adults with autism can live fulfilling and independent lives to the best of their abilities.