Supportive housing aims to empower adults with disabilities in Kansas City

Nearly 600,000 adults in Kansas have a disability. Kansans with a disability are more likely to report fair or poor health and to report that their physical or mental health affects their ability to complete day-to-day activities.1 While young people with disabilities receive education and support in school, they and their families can experience challenges navigating resources after they leave school.2,3 People with a disability experience loneliness and social isolation at significantly higher rates compared to people without a disability.4

44% of working-age adults with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) are in the labor force, and 28% have never held a job. However, once adults with IDD become employed, many experience job stability: 62% of adults with IDD have been at their current job for at least three years, with even higher rates for those employed in a setting where most people have a disability.1.3 million people with IDD live with a caregiver who is over the age of 60, and many adults with IDD will outlive their family caregiver.6,7 Altogether, these factors create challenges for adults with IDD who strive to work, have active social lives and to live independently.

Inclusion Connections is changing the way adults with IDD are able to access resources and live independently with the support of a caring community. UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas is supporting that mission with a $300,000 community grant to Inclusion Connections’ BelongKC project. The BelongKC project is combatting the lack of affordable, supportive housing options by creating a campus in Kansas City to serve adults with IDD.

The new supportive living campus will include residential apartments, employment and job training, transportation, continuing education and activities designed to foster independence and social connections. The lower level of the campus will provide space for organizations or retailers with a disability mission , while a transportation hub will coordinate rides for those who work off-site. To support adults transitioning to independent or supportive housing, BelongKC is offering a Transition Academy that focuses on preparing individuals to live independently with supports.

The BelongKC project aims to further Inclusion Connections and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas’ shared mission to empower people with disabilities to live fulfilling, engaged and healthy lives. Investing in inclusive communities is one step to closing disparities in employment, social isolation and access to innovative, supportive housing for adults with IDD.

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