SDS Guidelines for Household Size

Many Brokers and Providers have asked for clarification regarding the number of people with disabilities who can share a home and how this impacts their SDS budget and CIP funding. In Dane County commissioned a survey of people with developmental disabilities and their guardians. They expressed a strong preference for people to live alone or with 1-2 house-mate. Tight fiscal times and the subsequent shrinking of people’s individual budgets are resulting in people making compromises around the number of house-mate they live with. At the same time, some people with specialized support needs, such as dementia or Prader-Willi, have requested to live with groups of individuals who have the same disability or support needs. For people considering additional house-mate or agencies contemplating the development of new homes we offer the following guidelines:

  • Over 78% survey respondents with disabilities opposed living with more than three people. Consequently, the DD system will not fund the development of any new Community-Based Residential Facilities (CBRFs). A CBRF is a licensed facility shared by 5-8 people.
  • People may choose to live in an existing CBRF. For example, some individuals with aging issues have chosen to reside in group homes specifically designed to meet their geriatric needs. Likewise, some individuals with Prader-Willi have chosen to live in group homes designed to treat and support their specific disability. This requires County Manager approval and a separate Purchase of Service contract for each person served.
  • The County relies on a state memo to interpret which 3-4 person living situations require certification or licensure. This memo states 3-4 people with developmental disabilities may choose to live together in an unlicensed setting if they meet the following conditions:
    • The living unit must be the primary residence of the people residing there.
    • The residents either own the dwelling unit or lease (or rent) the dwelling unit directly from the building owner.
    • The residents must independently arrange for their own services and have the freedom of choice of service providers.
    • The service providers may not have any direct or indirect authority or control of the building or dwelling unit.
  • When an individual does not meet the memo’s conditions yet desires to live with 2-3 other individual’s, the situation must become a licensed Adult Family Home (AFH). New, licensed AFH proposals created for current SDS participants require review and approval of County Managers. Brokers need to attend a Friday SDS meeting to obtain this approval. Dane County Residential Program Specialist, Sue Werner is the designated resource person to answer AFH questions.
  • New proposals for licensed AFHs must provide a clear rationale for why licensing is necessary, why an individual wishes to live in a licensed setting and how they will benefit from the licensed setting.
  • No waiver participants can live in a home with over 8 people, as the waiver does not fund these situations.
  • AFHs and CBRFs are funded under county contract and are not considered part of an individual’s SDS rate.