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Housing program for people with disabilities achieves milestone

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news Alexandria, 56308
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

A program that helps Minnesotans with disabilities find safe, affordable housing surpassed the 500 mark in moving individuals to homes of their own this year. Currently the program is increasing its efforts to connect people to nutrition programs and employment supports for which they may be eligible and to raise awareness of the program's successes through two videos.

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Housing Access Services (HAS) is a partnership of The Arc of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Human Services that helps adults of all ages who are eligible for Medical Assistance home care or waiver programs and want to move to homes of their own.

HAS staff accompany people as they look for housing. They help with completing rental applications and lease agreements, meeting and negotiating with landlords and property staff, application fees and deposits, finding affordable furnishings and packing and moving belongings. Staff also help make sure people who can work are close to places of employment and services, such as transportation, that will allow them to work. Recently HAS staff have worked to ensure that participants in the program are receiving benefits they may be entitled to through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other programs.

"Our goal is to help seniors and people with disabilities live in their own homes rather than in institutions or other group settings whenever possible. The Housing Access Services program is critical to our success," said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. "When I visit with people who are now living in their own apartment for the first time, I see the difference this program makes in the face of every person who has benefitted from HAS assistance."

Among the 566 people who have moved since the program started in September 2009 are adults who had been living in their family home and others who moved to residences of their own from group homes, assisted living or from being homeless. Several tell their stories in a video created by HAS and posted on You Tube and the DHS website. Also recently created and posted on the DHS website is a video in which county staff and HAS staff share successes from the program along with family members who have supported their loved ones in getting a place of their own.

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