Please read the following letter from ACAA cofounders Gene Bensinger and Vicki Obee to HUD. This letter is a time sensitive response to a recommendation to HUD from the National Council on Disability (NCD), a federal agency, which HUD apparently did not solicit. It isn’t a formal comment on any HUD proposal. The purpose of our letter is to offset a terrible policy initiative from the NCD, and hopefully stimulate some future dialogue with HUD (and perhaps the NCD).
Contact Gene (email@example.com) or Vicki (firstname.lastname@example.org) with comments or concerns.
ACAA HUD (Final)
You can read Gene’s comments on the Illinois HCBS Transition Plan in the link below.
Illinois HCBS Transition Comment ACAA
January 26, 2015 – Congressman Bob Latta and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur led a letter, which included other members of the Ohio delegation, to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell expressing concern about guidance released by CMS that describes the types of settings in which states may use federal Medicaid funds to pay for home and community based services (HCBS). Under this guidance, a “farmstead or disability-specific farm community” is listed as an example of a residential setting that has the effect of isolating individuals receiving HCBS from the broader community. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Agricultural Communities for Adults with Autism (ACAA) is a consortium of existing and in-formation organizations focused on sharing best practices and advocating for holistic, agricultural based employment and housing models for adults with autism.
Our consortium was created to provide information to adults with autism, their families, academics, professionals, legislators, policy makers and others and as a portal to link to our member’s sites and other relevant resources. We want to educate people about the common characteristics and differences in agricultural communities in the United States. Our website also exists to dispel the incorrect notion that agricultural communities are institutional, segregated congregate care models when, in fact, our members, residents, and day program participants are strongly woven into the fabric of their respective communities. We are non-urban, low density community based integrated models.
Agricultural communities are a terrific option for adults with autism in our community who prefer the choice of a non-urban, community based, active lifestyle that typically combines a variety of rewarding employment opportunities with quality, affordable housing and a wealth of activities in their local communities.
All of our communities report no openings and long waiting lists. Turnover is rare because we offer lifespan models. We are contacted daily by people from all over the world who want to have the choice of an agricultural model like one of ours. We give dozens of tours a year to interested adults and their families. We think the only way they will be able to access an agricultural model is to come together with others to create a model in their own area.
Creating a community is difficult but not impossible. Some of us are in formation but many have already created communities. Some have been in place for decades so the models are “time-tested” and successful.