Autism Housing Report Announced Same Day as CDC Announces 2.2% of Adults Are Autistic

Autism Housing Report Announced Same Day as CDC Announces 2.2% of Adults Are Autistic
Gaithersburg, MD, May 15, 2020 --( The release of new CDC estimates that 1 in 45 adults are on the autism spectrum coincides with the announcement of a groundbreaking report to define and segment housing opportunities for autistic adults and others with neurodiversities called A Place in the World. Madison House Autism Foundation's Autism Housing Network, First Place AZ and its Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Center for Public Policy, and Arizona State University Morrison Institute on Public Policy are collaborating with an international Leadership Advisory Board to identify barriers and discuss opportunities for major expansion of a supportive housing marketplace needed to meet the ever-increasing and broad demand for more neuro-inclusive housing options.

“As an adult autism advocate for over 15 years, I am thrilled to see the CDC complete a survey that for the first time provides an estimate based on data,” stated Jalynn Prince, co-founder of MHAF, the first autism awareness and advocacy organization dedicated to autism in adulthood in the United States. Prince went on to say, “this historic announcement means we can effectively advocate for policy in support of over 5.4 million adults with autism in the US based on scientific data and in need of appropriate support.”

Despite investment of billions of dollars in research, early diagnosis, interventions and education, autistic adults graduate high school “onto the couch.” Most live with family, are unemployed or underemployed, and socially isolated. Thus, this new data from the CDC underscores the number of adults on the spectrum whom research shows are extremely low income and can not afford housing. Additionally, because autistic adults do not necessarily have an intellectual disability, many are often deemed “not disabled enough” and disqualified from getting Medicaid-funded support services like supported employment to maintain a job or direct support from people who can help them live independently.

Time is running out on many of the 5.4 million autistic adults who live in their family home and have been largely supported by their aging parent caregivers. Without access to affordable housing in their community, or the support to live in their own home, autistic adults are at high risk of homelessness and/or displacement from their community and will most likely be “placed in the next empty bed” of a group home or adult foster care that could be hundreds of miles away from their hometown.

Desiree Kameka, Director of the Autism Housing Network, stated, “We know from the contacts made through our website that there is a large percentage of autistic adults already experiencing homelessness. Due to social and communication impairments, many can’t get past an in-person job interview and thus they can’t afford housing. They experience crisis when their parents pass away as they are left without support with the upkeep of everyday life. They often fall victim to mate-crime or predatory/abusive relationships.” The A Place in the World study does however lay the groundwork for a very hopeful outlook for the future, “Local innovators, largely stemming from concerned families, are creating amazing supportive housing solutions by combining smart-home technology, intentional sensory-friendly design strategies, and built-in supports with rent. Residential opportunities are evolving. It is time to update the language to reflect the wide array of options emerging so we can measure outcomes effectively and people can find their Place in the World,” stated Kameka.

Find more information about the A Place in the World project including an introductory video in this Autism Housing Network blog post:

About Madison House Autism Foundation:
Madison House Autism Foundation (MHAF), established in 2007, is nationally recognized as one of the first organizations to focus on the needs of adults on the autism spectrum and other intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). Once individuals reach the age of 21, their services fall off; often referred to as the "cliff," resulting in unmet needs for support services, employment opportunities, and friendship. MHAF creates awareness and solutions for the lifespan challenges faced by autistic adults to live as independently as possible, make their own life choices, hold jobs, feel connected to their communities, and become participating members of society.

About the Autism Housing Network:
The Autism Housing Network (AHN) is a project of the Madison House Autism Foundation that brings together the best ideas on housing for the neurodiverse population. It is an online, national hub of information about housing and support services for individuals with autism and other intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). The AHN strives to inspire, empower and provide technical assistance to the development of local solutions responding to the national housing and support crisis.

About First Place Global Leadership Institute:
The First Place Global Leadership Institute represents a faculty of experts from around the world focused on pressing concerns for accessibility to more housing and independent living options for individuals with autism and other neurodiversities. It serves as an international education and training center for professionals, support staff and medical personnel, as well as a robust site for research and advancements in public policy. Since 2017, the Global Leadership Institute has hosted semi-annual symposia (spring and fall), attracting pioneers in the field from across the country and around the world. Attendees gather to share ideas for advancing a new wave of home and community solutions through replicable, sustainable models and public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic collaboration. The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Center for Public Policy, represents one of the Institute’s five centers, leading its policy agenda and advocacy.
Autism Housing Network
Desiree Kameka
(240) 246-7140