Housing Navigator • Health Education Specialist
Housing Navigation Services for People with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
Housing navigation allows people with I/DD to realize their housing goals and receive support in navigating the journey. While self-determination and person-centered planning are key philosophies in I/DD services and supports, there are often barriers, both real and perceived, that prevent these philosophies from guiding the process to determine how a person with I/DD wants to live. My goal is to work past those barriers and elevate the voice of the person through a thorough housing planning process.
As a certified housing navigator who works in developing self-directed housing options, I am committed to building opportunities for people with I/DD to live successfully where they want and with whom they want. I will work with the person and his or her team to:
Assess goals related to housing, and develop a plan to get there;
Examine every facet of the plan, including financial preparation, services and supports, industry housing options, and ownership models;
Locate appropriate housing options that allow for the right amount of support services and financial stability;
Ensure a smooth transition through the moving process and long-term sustainability in the new home.
I currently work as the master housing navigator in OPWDD Region 1 (Western New York & Finger Lakes), which is a three-year position funded by the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) through the New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation. In this role, I am working across the region to build capacity and collaboration among key housing stakeholders in order to support the development, creation, and implementation of individualized housing options for individuals with I/DD.
I have experience across a broad range of service options that is critical for my role as a housing navigator. As a former fiscal intermediary and non-certified housing specialist, I have extensive experience in utilizing self-direction services to support people with living in their own home. In this role, I worked with a self-direction team to develop housing plans and budgets for people seeking non-certified and shared living arrangements, including housing plans that incorporated shared staffing models and pooled budget resources. Many of the individuals I have supported left certified settings to live independently in a variety of non-certified settings, including affordable apartments and at home with a live-in caregiver.
I will graduate in the spring with a Master's in Community Health Education where I have focused on how social determinants of health, including housing, impact the health and well-being of people and their communities.