The MFOFC Housing Connector Tool upgrade was funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Federal Award No. 93.630.
For questions about Housing Connections or using the Housing Connector, please contact Chris Williams, Housing Connections Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q1: What happens if I change my email address?
A: It is very important that you update your account when you change your email address, otherwise other members will not be able to contact you, nor will you receive MFOFC News Alerts. You will need to log in using your old address. Then you can go to the My Account page where you will be able to update your account with your new email address.
Q2: What is a .csv file and how can I view it?
A: Matches from the Housing Connector will be compiled in a .csv file that should be opened in Excel or another spreadsheet program such as OpenOffice. For those unfamiliar with Excel, here is a basic tutorial:
[YouTube Video] Excel 2013 Tutorial For Noobs Part 1: The Excel Ribbon, Tabs, Commands and Buttons 2007, 2010, 2013
Q3: What is Housing Connections?
A: Housing Connections is a web-based tool designed to help families communicate with other families with similar interests to find or create a home for their loved one with a disability
Q4: Will Housing Connections find me a home?
A: Housing Connections is not a service or a service provider; it can help families find other families with similar housing interests. Members w ill be able to contact other Members so that they can communicate further. Members can communicate (privately) by email.
Q5: Who sponsors Housing Connections?
A: Housing Connections is sponsored by Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC), a state-wide organization with 23+ year history that provides sustained advocacy and leadership training in pursuit of high quality, individualized community support and service options, including family support, for people with disabilities and their families.
Q6: How do I join?
A: Start with creating a Housing Connections account by registering here. Registration will initiate membership in MFOFC and Housing Connections and create a Profile.
Q7: Is there a cost to join Housing Connections?
A: There is no charge to join Housing Connections. MFOFC welcomes all people interested in the issues we pursue. If you are not currently a member of MFOFC, registration to MFOFC Housing Connections will automatically initiate membership.
MFOFC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and we welcome private donations. To donate, click here.
Q8: What can I expect after I join? How does it work?
Once you've registered, you will be taken to a short questionnaire. Some of the questions include where your family member would like to live, whether you're looking for male or female roommates, what type of public transportation access you need, how much time you wish to contribute, and the level of support your family member will need. There is also a comment section where you can include other information if you wish.
As soon as you save your answers to the questionnaire, you will be directed to the Housing Connector Tool. The Housing Connector Tool will help you find possible matches based on the Key Factors, which are: (1) the region where desired housing would be located, (2) transition date, (3) age group, and (4) gender of housemates.
The Key Factors are designed to filter your search to help find the most compatible matches. You can select one or more of these factors. At that point, you will receive your potential matches and can either download or email the file to yourself.
Q9: How do I read the results?
A: The results will be in a format called "a CSV file", which means it can be opened in any spreadsheet program. Once you open the file (which you can either download or email) in a spreadsheet, you will see the headings across the first row (one or more for each question) and individual responses in each of the rows below. The first column contains each respondent's masked email address. Although this looks like a bunch of unrelated characters with an @mfofc-hc.org email address, it is a valid email address.
Q10: Hmm, I see some possible matches, what do I do?
A: Send an email to these HC Members by pasting the masked email address in the left-most column into the "To" field in your email program. In that email, you might introduce yourself, let the recipient know that you obtained their information through Housing Connections, tell them a little bit about what you're looking for, and then ask them if they'd like to talk over the phone or meet for coffee.
Q11: I don't see any matches, what did I do wrong?
Currently, Housing Connections has a few hundred members, so it may make sense to broaden your search. Consider using only one or two Key Factors. Do keep in mind that there are many families who may be unsure of their responses, or whose perspective has shifted over time. If a response is close, it might be worth reaching out.
Q12: This is a lot of information. What are the security measures?
A: First, only families who are seeking housing may join. We ask everyone to register with MFOFC to prevent others from accessing this information. Second, your information will be identified only by a masked email address. Once you email someone from Housing Connections, your email address will be displayed for them, but at that point, you can decide how much information you want to share.
Q13: What if I can't answer all the questions?
A: Answer the questions that you can answer; you don't need to complete them all, although the more you can complete the more accurate your response will be. Please do use the comments to describe what you are looking for; that information is often very helpful.
Home and Community Based Settings Policy. Background of the Policy: Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) represent important opportunities for states to utilize Medicaid funding to provide person-centered services and supports which enable individuals with developmental disability to live fully integrated lives in the community. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) issued new requirements for community service settings, both residential and day, which became effective on March 17, 2014. The CMS requirements are intended to align with both the integration mandate of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999). Guidance has been issued by CMS specific to 24-hour residential service settings and further direction relative to Day Services is expected in the near future. Further information.
Home Modification Loan Program (HMLP) - The Home Modification Loan Program provides no- and low-interest loans to modify the homes of adults and children with disabilities, and elders. A program of the US Department of Health and Human Services.
US Department of Housing and Urban Development
MFOFC Housing Connections Brochure
MFOFC: A Full Life Ahead Series – a series of monthly workshops for parents and guardians of young adults with a disability. The series focuses on transition, employment, housing, friendships and other topics that will lead to interdependent, full lives in the community for young adults with disabilities.
Building a Future, a Handbook for Families - strategies on supported housing written by The Arc of Massachusetts.
Moving Out: A Family Guide to Residential Planning for Adults with Disabilities - A guide to creating housing with numerous real-life examples, written by Dafna Krouk-Gordon (co-founder and president of TILL), and Barbara Jackins, Attorney. Available on Amazon.
The Road Forward - a DDS guide for transition planning.
Special Needs Financial Planning – Housing and Transition Resources.
Unlocking the Door to Community Living - a guidebook to help families of individuals with disabilities, written by Jewish Family and Children's Service.
The MassAccess Housing Registry helps people to find affordable rental and homeownership opportunities in Massachusetts. A key feature of the Registry is to highlight homes for people with disabilities who need accessible or barrier-free housing.
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Adaptive Housing Program - MRC's Adaptive Housing Program's goal is to provide accessible housing to individuals with disabilities in their primary, permanent residence to enhance their ability to participate in vocational services, and to return to work.
Autism Housing Pathways will support families in forming a variety of housing models by providing a clearinghouse of information on such topics as cooperative bylaws, building plans for modular housing that conforms to legal criteria, real estate trusts, and affordable housing options.