Suffolk County will provide $10 million towards developing inclusive housing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Distribution of the money, $2.5 million a year for four years, will be guided by a group of stakeholders who will review the county’s current inclusive housing pilot program and provide recommendations and updates to the current guidelines.
As part of the pilot program, Suffolk funded 10 units at the Riverview Lofts affordable housing development in Riverhead. All of the 10 units are currently occupied. The pilot program has funded a total of 18 housing units so far.
Between 2012 and 2020, the New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities funded the creation of eight units in Suffolk for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through the OPWDD Integrated Supportive Housing Capital Fund.
There are more than 25,000 adults in Suffolk with intellectual or developmental disabilities and 63 percent of them live with family caregivers and of those, 25 percent of the caregivers are over the age of 60, according to the New York Housing Resource Center. The program seeks to address the predicament for many families who are concerned with what happens to their child once they are deceased.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone was joined by housing developers, family members and officials of Elijah Farm in Huntington, where the announcement of the funding was made Monday.
“Our region is on the cusp of an impending tsunami,” Bellone said. “With longer life expectancy for those with disabilities and an increasing rate of diagnosis, this all equates to more people to serve than ever before with limited resources. This record investment provides a real incentive to turn inclusive housing into a reality for our residents, at a time when it is critically needed.”