Terms and Definitions
Additional barriers to choice for persons with disabilities are the jargon and acronyms around housing and housing services. Persons with disabilities and their families tell us that they are frequently confused by the verbiage around funding options, housing types, services, and service providers. They report difficulties in aligning their needs and desires with housing options in our state. When a common language is shared, options and choices are clearer. Persons with disabilities can make better choices for themselves, and advocate to close gaps in housing and services.
Please read below the terms and definitions for housing types and services. These terms are being established nationwide, through efforts by our partners at the Madison House Autism Housing Network. With each term is information about availability in our service areas. For more information, contact our Housing Case Manager ([email protected]).
Target Population: Persons with autism and intellectual disabilities whose support needs are “none,” “drop-in” or low.
Description: A small- or large-scale property, intentionally planned to meet the needs of a target population, with multiple residential units (such as apartments, condos and/or single-family homes), that also has recreational amenities. This type is often found in suburban settings.
Funding: Planning and construction are often pursued by a developer, like SOS Care, which utilizes private and public funds. Low-income tenants may be eligible for subsidized rent payments and/or utility assistance, via Housing Choice Waivers, Mainstream, rental assistance, and other public and private programs.
Services: Property management helps maintain housing and common spaces. A planned community may offer physical and supportive amenities, for a fee, that cater to neurodiverse residents. In these communities, residents may access other services, like health, mental health and behavioral services, through their own efforts. Sometimes, the communities make access easier, by offering providers space in community facilities, or by providing access to transportation from local providers.
- SOS Care’s Oak Tree Farm in Conway, S.C. will rent at completion 130 rental units to persons with autism and intellectual disabilities, based on tenant income and/or availability of housing vouchers through the Myrtle Beach Housing Authority. Through agreements with funders, many of the units must be rented to low-income residents with disabilities. Select “Oak Tree Farm” on the previous menu to learn more.
- SOS’s second planned community, Village Vision, is slated for development in the Charleston area in 5-10 years. Details are pending.
SOS’s Planned Community efforts are a result of surveys of persons with disabilities in its service areas, which show exceptionally high preferences for Planned Communities.
Target Population: Varies greatly, but residents typically share common interests and characteristics, such as culture, age, income, education and other factors.
Description: An intentionally planned housing community created by its residents. Residents typically own their own homes. Cohousing communities typically feature private residential units (single-family homes, townhouses, etc.), a large community center or common house with amenities and pedestrian-oriented design. The property is designed and managed by residents.
Funding: Typically private funds pay for planning, development, housing, fees and services.
Services: These depend on the population, but many communities host weekly common meals and events prepared/organized by residents.
Availability: Contact your local association of realtors for information.
SOS has no plans for a co-housing community at this time. Please note that SOS’s Oak Tree Farm is managed by SOS, not by its residents.
Target Population: All residents, including persons with autism and intellectual disabilities whose support needs are “none,” “drop-in” or low.
Description: A property (residential unit or development) that is located within the general housing fabric of a community. It is not part of a housing development that serves a specific residential market, ie. designed for persons with disabilities. The property can be in urban, suburban and rural areas.
Funding: Planning and construction are often pursued by a developer. Many housing developers seek low-income housing tax credits, and plan for units to be housed by low-income residents including those with disabilities. Tenants may be eligible for down payment assistance, subsidized rent payments, and/or utility assistance, via Housing Choice Waivers, Mainstream, rental assistance, and other private and public programs.
Services: Any services are provided through the efforts of the resident or person with a disability.
- SOS Care is assisting persons with disabilities in living in scattered housing sites, typically apartments, across the Grand Strand. Horry County Community Development, the Myrtle Beach Housing Authority and the Eastern Carolina Housing Organization are key partners in this effort. Please contact SOS Care’s Housing Case Manager for more information.
- For those from areas outside the Grand Strand, contact your local Housing Authority for more info.
SOS’s Scattered Site efforts are a result of surveys of persons with disabilities in its service areas, which show moderate to low preferences for this housing type.
Target Population: All residents in a community, including those with disabilities.
Description: A real estate development that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional and/or (if appropriate) industrial uses. The development may highlight a consistent theme, such as “arts,” or a specific city district, or a cultural characteristic. Often, these developments are pursued to revitalize urban areas, and allow for greater housing density. Housing types (single-family homes, condos, apartments) typically vary in this setting. Benefits for residents include easy access to shopping, health care, employment, entertainment and recreation. Transportation costs and environmental impacts are reduced as well. This approach is considered highly desirable for low-income residents, who experience improved access to work, shopping, education, transportation and more in these settings.
Funding: Developers typically utilize both private and public funds, and are supported through local government tax incentives and other programs. Involvement of nonprofits and service organizations in the development are often highly encouraged as well, ie. “business incubators,” or “workforce development hubs.” Residents use private funds for rent and services, or utilize public programs for rent and services, as in “scattered site” developments.
Services: While service providers are encouraged to take residence in the mixed-use development, residents must identify and access services via their own efforts.
Availability: Contact your local government and housing authorities to identify mixed-use development projects in your area. In the Grand Strand, one such development in progress is Myrtle Beach’s “Arts & Innovation” district. Housing plans in the new district are not yet available.
SOS is researching opportunities to join mixed-used development projects across South Carolina, with emphasis on housing and services for individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities who have no, “drop-in” or low support needs.
Target Population: Students with intellectual or developmental disabilities with no, “drop-in” or low support needs.
Description: A type of residential development, often located at universities and colleges. Student housing is typically a dormitory or apartment community. This development type is unique in that it typically rents on a per-bed basis; is fully furnished; offers roommate-matching services; offers leases that align with the academic calendar; and provides student-oriented amenities. The property may be managed by an institution of higher learning or by a private company.
Funding: Residents can pay rent and service fees with private financial resources, student loans and/or scholarships.
Services: Many universities and colleges in South Carolina offer specialized “Life” programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in addition to on-campus disability resource centers, and health and mental health services.
Availability: Student housing, specialized “Life” programs, and on-campus disability resource centers are available at multiple universities and colleges in our state, including Coastal Carolina University, the University of South Carolina, and Clemson University. SOS staff has collaborated with multiple university and college programs statewide to place students who have participated in SOS programs. Contact SOS’s Housing Case Manager for more info.
SOS has no plans to develop student housing.
Target Population: Persons with disabilities whose support needs are moderate to “24/7” in scope.
Description: A provider-controlled setting where two to six unrelated persons with disabilities share a home. Residents pay to live in this development type via private funds or Medicaid funds (waivers). Group homes are located in urban, suburban and rural areas. This is the most prevalent housing type in South Carolina at this time for persons with disabilities. Most are licensed and regulated by state agencies.
Funding: More than 25,000 persons with disabilities in South Carolina await Medicaid funding, also known as ID/DD or Community Supports waivers. For those with funding, rooms (beds) are made available on an emergency basis only at this time, ie. when another resident transitions or expires. Residents must agree to live in the next available bed, regardless of location in the state. Many in emergency situations wait in hospitals until beds are available. For more information, contact SOS’s Housing Case Manager or the state Dept. of Disabilities and Special Needs.
Services: Most group homes “bundle” services with housing, and residents must use services through the home’s provider at this time. This can limit residents’ choices for who, how and when services are provided to them.
Availability: As mentioned, available units/beds are extremely limited. According to state advocates, the wait time to access funds (waivers) that enable persons to reside in group homes are now more than 10 years. The recommendation is to ensure you or your loved one is placed on a wait list as soon as possible (as early as age 5). For more information, contact our Housing Case Manager or the state Dept. of Disabilities and Special Needs.
SOS is leading no efforts to develop group homes at this time, as surveys indicate that the preference is low among persons with autism and intellectual disabilities in our service areas. SOS is researching new housing approaches, which would enable persons with moderate needs to live in units in Planned Communities with 24/7 support through new services and funding models.
Target Population: Residents with intellectual or developmental disabilities who have 24/7 support needs, and/or medical needs, and/or significant behavioral issues.
Description: Typically a provider-controlled setting that serves six or more residents. These facilities are licensed and regulated by state agencies. Some are state operated; others are operated under state contract with private providers. Housing types, settings and locations vary across the state.
Funding: More than 25,000 persons with disabilities in South Carolina await Medicaid funding, also known as ID/DD or Community Supports waivers. For those with funding, rooms (beds) in these facilities are made available on an emergency basis only at this time, ie. when another resident transitions or expires. Residents must agree to live in the next available bed, regardless of location in the state. Many in emergency situations wait in hospitals until beds are available. For more information, contact SOS’s Housing Case Manager or the state Dept. of Disabilities and Special Needs.
Services: All residents in these facilities must use services provided through the state or state housing provider at this time. This can limit residents’ choices for who, how and when services are provided to them.
Availability: As with group homes, availability is limited in our state. For more info, contact SOS’s Housing Case Manager or the state Dept. of Disabilities and Special Needs.
SOS is leading no efforts to develop other residential facilities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities at this time.
Target Population: Individuals with a variety of needs, including personal care, memory care, support for physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities, medical care, rehabilitation, mental health conditions and more. These facilities typically do not serve adults with autism and intellectual disabilities with moderate to 24/7 support needs, medical issues or significant behavioral needs, due to lack of expertise.
Description: Typically a provider-controlled residential community where 25 or more residents live in a private room or apartment, share common areas and receive assistance with various activities of daily living. The development is designed to support a general population with similar daily support needs. Some communities offer social and recreational activities.
Funding: Funding for housing and services is typically provided via private pay, private insurance or Medicaid/Medicare.
Services: Services are provided on site or via third-parties in the community. Transportation often is provided to off-site services. Services range from personal care to medical to recreational.
Availability: Multiple assisted living communities exist across SOS Care’s service areas. Your private health insurance provider or Medicaid provider can provide info on eligibility.
SOS Care has no plans to develop assisted living options.
Target Population: Individuals with a variety of needs, typically more medical in nature, requiring monitoring and support from medical staff.
Description: Typically a licensed private facility that offers both housing and long-term services to residents. Some residents stay for a short time, but others live in nursing homes on a permanent basis due to ongoing medical or cognitive conditions.
Funding: Funding for housing and services is typically provided via private pay, private insurance or Medicaid/Medicare.
Services: Services are a range of medical and personal care services, with greater emphasis on medical care. Services may include nursing care, rehabilitation services, 24-hour supervision, and assistance with daily activities. These facilities typically do not provide housing or services to persons with autism and intellectual disabilities, unless they have significant medical needs.
Availability: Multiple facilities exist across SOS Care’s service areas. Your private health insurance provider or Medicaid provider can provide info on eligibility.
SOS has no plans to develop a skilled nursing facility or nursing home.