Independent Housing Outcomes
DBHDS and its state, regional and local partners have been working collaboratively to increase the number of housing options available to people in the Settlement Agreement population. Please click here for an update related to the number of people in the target population that are living in their own homes.
Housing Choice Voucher Admissions Preference for the Settlement Agreement Population
DBHDS continues to accept referrals from intellectual disability (ID) or developmental disability (DD) Support Coordinators, Community Integration Managers or Centers for Independent Living staff for individuals in the target population that would like to live in their own rental housing with appropriate supports. DBHDS maintains a referral list for housing choice vouchers and eligible individuals are moved up on the list as referrals are made to Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) and other local housing choice voucher programs. If an individual’s name comes to the top of the list and he or she decides not to utilize the voucher, his or her name will be removed from the referral list and a new referral must be submitted in order for the individual’s name to be placed back on the list.
Referrals should only be made for individuals who have: 1) made an informed decision to live in their own rental housing; 2) are ready or can be ready to move within 120 days of being referred and/or approved for a voucher and 3) who have or will have adequate waiver, non-waiver and natural supports in place needed to attain and maintain their housing in the community.
The purpose of the housing choice voucher set-aside is to provide opportunities for individuals in the Settlement Agreement population to move into independent rental housing, with supports as needed, from institutions, ICF-IDD’s, nursing homes, group homes, their family’s home, etc. If an individual is currently living in his or her own rental housing and there are other eligible individuals that want to live in their own home in the same locality or the individual would like to live with his or her parent(s), grandparent(s) or legal guardian, a referral will not be made. In addition, eligible individuals must be included in the DOJ target population, at least 18 years of age or older and be the head of household/voucher recipient for lease purposes.
To align with the spirit and intent of the DOJ Settlement Agreement, DBHDS will make all future referrals for eligible individuals based on the priorities outline below:
- Priority #1- eligible individuals who, at the time of referral, are currently participating in the Rental Choice VA pilot program, are in good standing with the program, and state funding for Rental Choice VA continues to be time limited.
- Priority #2- eligible individuals who, at the time of referral, reside at any of the Commonwealth’s training centers and who choose to live in a more integrated, less restrictive, community setting.
- Priority #3- eligible individuals who, at the time of referral, reside in a nursing home or non-state ICF-IDD and who choose to live in a more integrated, less restrictive, community setting.
- Priority #4- eligible individuals who, at the time of referral, receive ID waiver services in a congregate residential setting, such as a group home or a sponsored residential setting, and choose to live in a more integrated, less restrictive, community setting.
- Priority #5- eligible individuals who, at the time of referral, meet one or more of the following conditions:
- Are homeless, as evidenced by documentation from the support coordinator that the individual has slept in a shelter, on the street, or in a place not meant for human habitation for the last 3 consecutive nights, or
- at risk of homelessness, as evidenced by a Writ of Possession for the individual’s current residence; or
- are paying more than 50% of their own gross monthly income toward housing they lease in their own name (based upon verification of income and current rent); or
- are experiencing an imminent threat to health and safety in housing, documented by Adult Protective Services.
- Priority #6- eligible individuals who, at the time of referral, are currently receiving ID waiver or DD waiver services, and who choose to live in a more integrated, less restrictive, community setting.
- Priority #7- eligible individuals who, at the time of referral, are currently on the waitlist for an ID or DD waiver, and who choose to live in a more integrated, less restrictive, community setting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Prior to completing the referral form, please download and review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document. Please click here to download the FAQ document.
Updated Referral Form and Support Coordinator/Case Manager Checklist
We have updated the DBHDS I/DD Referral Form to include an acknowledgements and certifications page. We added the acknowledgements and certifications page as a result of the number of referrals that we receiving for ineligible individuals and for individuals that are not prepared to transition due to a number of factors (e.g., lack of supports, long term discharge dates, lack of understanding relating to what a voucher is and how it works, etc.) . The referral form is in a PDF format, and applicants and support coordinators can type their information directly into the form to ensure legibility. We will not accept any illegible forms. Please click here to download the DBHDS I/DD Referral Form (dated 1/2016). Please click here to download a sample referral form.
The Support Coordinator/Case Manager checklist enumerates the tasks support coordinators/case managers should complete with individuals to ensure they are prepared to use housing choice vouchers in a timely manner; if they are referred for one. Submission of a referral occurs after a variety of tasks have been accomplished. This is important: performing these steps first increases the likelihood a person will be prepared to use the voucher, and decreases the chances a person will be determined ineligible or decline the voucher after it is offered. If you need assistance with helping someone transition, please contact a housing specialist in your region. Please click here to download the checklist.
Virginia Housing Search
If you, a family member, or someone that you know or support is interested in living in their own rental housing, please click here for a free resource that may help with locating housing that meets individualized needs and budgets.
In June 2015 and 2016, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) provided the following Community Services Boards (CSBs) funding to increase access to and the availability of integrated, independent housing options for individuals with a developmental disability that meet the criteria for the Settlement Agreement population as defined in the Settlement Agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The following CSBs were provided funding for this initiative. Each CSB will serve as a fiscal intermediary in the region in which they serve:
• Fairfax Falls Church CSB- Northern Virginia region (NOVA Team)
• Hampton Newport News CSB- Hampton Roads region (Peninsula Team)
• Henrico CSB- Richmond region (Richmond Team)
• Norfolk CSB- Hampton Roads region (Southside Team)
• New River Valley CSB- Southwest Virginia region
• Region Ten CSB- Northwest Virginia region
Please click here for the flexible funding guidelines. To request an application for flexible funding, please contact the ID Director at the CSB that is serving as the fiscal agent in your region.
Rental Choice VA
DBHDS has engaged the Fairfax-Falls Church and the Virginia Beach Community Services Boards in a 36 month pilot program called Rental Choice VA. This pilot program provides individuals who currently live in ID Waiver group homes or ICFs, and individuals with developmental disabilities in nursing facilities or ICFs, an opportunity to move to safe, decent rental housing they can lease on their own, with a friend(s) or a live-in aide. Rental Choice VA makes housing affordable by offering:
- "Rent up" assistance to help pay the costs to get an apartment, such as application fees, security deposits, moving expenses, and utility deposits/connection fees.
- Rental assistance that pays the different between 30%-40% of the individual’s monthly adjusted household income and the gross contract rent for an approved unit (Rent must be reasonable and at or below HUD’s Fair market Rent limit.
The Fairfax-Falls Church and the Virginia Beach Community Services Boards are currently supporting existing participants as they transition to permanent rental assistance programs in each area (i.e., the federal housing choice voucher program). The CSBs will no longer be accepting new applications for the pilot program. Individuals that are interested in living in their own rental housing should contact their Case Manager/Support Coordinator and ask that they make a referral to DBHDS for the Housing Choice Voucher Admissions Preference for the DOJ Target Population (Please see referral information above). Current Rental Choice VA participants will continue to receive up to 36 months of rental assistance and be a referral priority for the permanent vouchers available to the target population; assuming that they remain in good standing with the program.
Division of Developmental Services - Housing Team
DBHDS has hired Integrated Community Options Specialists (also referred to as “Regional Housing Specialists”) in Health Planning Regions (HPR) 1, 2, 4 and 5. DBHDS is currently recruiting for a specialist in Region 3.
The Integrated Community Options Specialists are responsible for developing local, regional and statewide relationships and identifying potential resources necessary to increase the availability of and access to affordable and accessible housing for individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability who are Medicaid Waiver recipients or those who are eligible for a Medicaid Waiver and possibly on the waiver waiting lists (“SA population”). In addition, the regional housing specialists are charged with furthering the department’s efforts to implement best practices in integrated, independent supportive housing for the target population as part of complying with the U.S. Department of Justice Settlement Agreement with the Commonwealth of Virginia, implementing “Virginia’s Plan to Increase Access to Independent Living Options” and to help all Virginias realize a life of possibilities.
Until the specialists are hired for Region3, the housing services manager will provide technical support to help connect individuals in the target population to their own housing.
Housing Team Contact Information
Please click here to view the DBHDS Health Planning Region Map.
 Individuals with developmental disabilities who are included in the target population under the Commonwealth’s Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice [United States V. Commonwealth of Virginia, United States District Court for Eastern District of Virginia (Civil Action No. 3:12 CV 059)] are as follows: (1) individuals currently reside at any of the Commonwealth’s training centers, (2) individuals that meet the criteria for the Intellectual Disability (ID) waiver or Developmental Disability (DD) waiver wait lists (includes individuals who currently have an ID or DD waiver), or (3) individuals who currently reside in a nursing home or ICF-IDD.