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Getting My Own Address news - April 2016
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Community Events

Pampering Day for moms of children with special needs Enjoy a continental breakfast, guest speaker and an afternoon at the spa.
Date: April 23
Time: 9 a.m-4 p.m.
Location: Woodside Bible Church, 2500 Joslyn Rd, Lake Orion, MI 48360
Cost: Free.  Please register.
Contact: Greg McDougall, Joni and Friends Southeast Michigan; gregmcdougall@woodsidebible.org
or 586-246-4757

Team Guts - Fitness programs specifically designed for the special needs community.
Contact: 248-415-5535 or http://www.grounduptraining.com for more information.

Avondale Skill Activity Night - Open to adults with disabilities throughout Oakland County up to age 35.
Dates:  April 22, June 3
Time:  7-9:30 p.m.
Location: 1435 W Auburn Road, Rochester Hills, MI 48309
Contact: Susan Jackson at 248-537-6440 with questions. If your last name begins with the letter A-J, please bring a 2-liter of pop. If your last name begins with the letter K-Z, please bring a snack.
Autism Society of Michigan: How to Plan Your Child's Transition to Adulthood -Designed for parents/caregivers of individuals with autism, age 13 to 18. Includes tools and resources.
Date: April 30
Time: 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (lunch provided)
Location: Oakland Schools Conference Center 9111 Pontiac Lake Road, Waterford, MI
Cost: $10/person. Please register or call 517-882-2800 by April 21. Payments to: Autism Society of MI, 2178 Commons Parkway, Okemos, MI 48864
FAR'S Fantastic Friday Night Parties - For ages 13 and older.
Dates: May 20 (talent show), June 17 (prom)
Time: 6-8:30 p.m.
Location: First Presbyterian Church Knox Auditorium, 1669 W. Maple Road, Birmingham, MI 48009
Cost: $10 for client plus $5 for caregivers who choose to remain and eat.  RSVP strongly recommended
or 248-646-3347. 

Other FAR group offerings here.

New group! Teen Asperger Friendship Club - For teens and young adults within the autism spectrum to get together and have fun!
Dates: May 14, June 11
Time: 7-11 p.m.
Location: Trinity Lutheran Church, School and Early Childhood Center, 38900 Harper Ave., Clinton Township, MI 48036
Cost: $5/person at the door. Teen/young adult must be accompanied by a parent or care provider. 
Contact: Stacey or Sandy for more information

ASOC Friendship Club Autism Social - For teens/young adults with ASD, Down syndrome, and PDD.  
Date: April 30
Time: 7-11 p.m.
Location: St. Anastasia Church, 4571 John R. Road, Troy 48085
Siblings should be at least 13. More information: www.autismsocial.weebly.com 
OUCARES After Hours Adult Social - Adults with Asperger's syndrome, high-functioning autism, PDD/NOS.
Dates: Tuesdays, May 17 and June 14
Time:  6-9 p.m.
Location:  Oakland University Campus, Oakland Center. 
Cost: Free. No registration required, come when you are able. 

Jack's Place for Autism Putting the Pieces Together Family Fun Day - For people with developmental disabilities of all ages and their families
Date: Saturday, April 30
Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Location: The Boll Family YMCA - Detroit, 1401 Broadway, Detroit, MI  48226
Cost: Free. Please register.

Happy spring! This edition includes updates on ABLE accounts, a discussion on private residences, maintenance, housing vacancies and more.
Let us know if there is something you want to know more about!  GMOA@chninc.net.
Private residences and expenses
A private residence describes many different housing situations and household compositions including housing for a single person, a large family, roommates, a couple, a purchased home or a rental. Over the years, there has been a trend for people with disabilities, and their families and friends, to use a private residence option instead of the traditional licensed group home. While these housing situations are not licensed, and offer more flexibility, there are some important things to consider when planning long term for sustainability. The cost of taxes, insurance and maintenance are continuing to increase and for people on fixed incomes which are not increasing at the same rate, this can become a concern.
When anyone is considering buying a home, it's important to think about the additional costs beyond PITI (Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance). Maintenance and upkeep of a home should be looked at over a five-year and 10-year span. For instance, the roof may be in good condition when purchasing the home, but over time, it would be important to anticipate the need to replace it as well as other high expense items such as the furnace, air conditioner, water heater and stove. For some people with disabilities, there may be additional costs for adaptive equipment and other maintenance fees related to those items.
At Community Housing Network, we use a document called a pro-forma to compare ongoing costs and income over the span of home ownership. Each pro-forma looks different as it must consider each unique situation such as the specific property, initial cost, the owner's/tenant's income, and the anticipated need for repairs on the particular structure. For example, my home is a tri-level and stays cool in the summer so the air-conditioner does not go on much. I am also pretty handy and can take care of a lot of the maintenance needs of my home without hiring a contractor. Because of these factors, my home's expenses would be significantly less than my next-door neighbor. She lives alone in a two-story home and hires professionals to perform her home's maintenance and repairs. 

Maintenance can be costly and there are a few ways to get assistance, but these resources are few and far between.  People with low incomes, who own their own home, can approach their local senior center, fraternal orders, rotary, or city hall to see what resources are available for repairs and maintenance. Sometimes agencies offer to help with weatherization to make a home or apartment more energy efficient.
We are looking for specific cases and ways to resolve these concerns. If you are in a situation like this, we would like to hear from you. Do you have a disability, live in a roommate situation, own a home or are renting from a family member and the costs are becoming burdensome? Are you ignoring maintenance problems because of lack of funds? Please send me an e-mail that describes your situation GMOA@chninc.net.
Register now for upcoming GMOA Overview Presentation
Taking part in a GMOA Overview Presentation is the best place to start learning and thinking about interdependent housing. It provides an introduction to the housing-planning process for people with disabilities including:
  • Making housing goals using the Person-Centered Planning process and Self-Determination principles
  • Creating a housing budget, including private and public funding sources
  • Deciding the appropriate level of direct care and other supports
  • Options for affordable housing through renting or buying
  • Finding a roommate to share housing costs and companionship
Plan to attend:
Dates: May 11
Time: 7- 9 p.m. 
Location: Community Housing Network Inc., 570 Kirts Blvd., Ste. 231, Troy, MI  48084. (map)
Cost:  $30/person. Register by 3 days before each presentation. 

Please note: Seating is limited. Please pre-register before the deadline to hold your space. Your registration and payment will be confirmed through email. We reserve the right to cancel the presentation if registration fails to meet a minimum level of participation and will notify you by email the Monday before the presentation.
Interested in having a GMOA presentation in your area?
Please contact: Linda Ronan Brown at 248-269-1346 or LBrown@chninc.net to explore scheduling  either an agency-sponsored presentation or a group-hosted presentation (individually paid registration). A minimum level of participation is required.
Update on ABLE accounts in Michigan 
On Thursday, February 25, R. Scott de Varona from the Michigan Department of Treasury visited OUCARES to speak to a large group of interested parents and professionals about the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act's tax-exempt savings accounts for individuals with disabilities.

Using an ABLE account, people with disabilities will be able to save up to $100,000 without losing Social Security. Medicaid coverage will remain intact no matter how much money is saved in an individual's ABLE account.

Congress passed the ABLE Act in 2014, but states have to approve their own legislation and develop programs to regulate and administer the new accounts before letting consumers take advantage. So far, 43 states have approved such legislation, according to The Arc. Some states are farther along than others in implementing programs. Ohio recently launched their program website called Stable Account.

de Varona has responsibility for identifying one or more providers for Michigan's ABLE program. It has been a challenge because both the product and the market are new. In addition, funds were not appropriated to support developing a Michigan program. Ohio has benefited from having development funds available.
de Varona asked for input from those who intend to use the accounts to help guide the program's development. Questions to be answered include: How will disability be "certified"? Will account users want online bill paying ability or prefer to write checks? Will the best model be one similar to the 529 educational plans with a long period of saving and few transactions? Or will the model need to accommodate a high number of transactions like a savings and checking account? He suggested that interested persons send their questions and input to MiABLE@Michigan.gov (a list serve).

Persons presenting information on ABLE accounts to groups were also asked to share through the above list-serve the number of people interested in opening accounts and how they want to use them to assist the state in showing potential program providers the size of the possible market.  

At the federal level, legislators continue to introduce legislation to make using ABLE accounts accessible to more people with disabilities. An individual with disabilities may now open their ABLE account in any state, regardless of where they reside (each person is only allowed one account), so it will not be necessary to wait for their home state program to begin. Pre-paid funeral expenses are now considered a qualified disability expense that can be paid out of an ABLE account.

A new package of bills were recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to strengthen the ABLE Act. These include: the ABLE to Work Act, which would allow working people with disabilities to save a portion of their income in a 529 ABLE account; the ABLE Financial Planning Act, which would allow rollovers from a 529 college savings account to an 529 ABLE account; and the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which would raise the age limit for eligibility to open ABLE accounts from 26 to 46.
Future articles will continue to share ABLE account program developments.
May GMOA Support Group meeting
Dates: May 17
Time: 6-8 p.m. 
Location:  Community Housing Network Inc., 570 Kirts Blvd., Ste. 231, Troy, MI  48084.(map)
Topics: Special Needs Estate Planning, Financial Planning and Housing - The Basics 
Speakers: Christopher Smith, attorney - Chalgian & Tripp Law Offices PLLC
Minoti Rajput, Certified Financial Planner - Secure Planning Strategies

No matter what size your estate may be, if you or a loved one is disabled, it is critical to make a plan to protect public benefits and use your resources to their full potential. The experts will be here to explain the basics of special needs estate planning, and how using public benefits together with financial planning that works with your estate plan can make housing sustainable for you or your loved one.

Please contact: Linda Ronan Brown at 248-269-1346 or LBrown@chninc.net for more information.

New opportunities in tomorrow's workplace 
OUCARES, in collaboration with On My Own of Michigan, welcomes Randy Lewis, former senior vice president of Walgreens and father of a son with autism. At Walgreen's, Lewis worked to strategically employ individuals with disabilities in competitive employment positions.  He will discuss barriers people with IDD face in the workplace, as well as ways to overcome those barriers and gain quality employment. 
Date: Tuesday, May 10
Time:  6-7:30 p.m.
Location:  Gold Rooms at the Oakland Center, Oakland University.
Please RSVP by email at OUCARES@oakland.edu or call 248-370-2424.  
Housing vacancies for individuals with disabilities 
Oakland County
CHN has a few single vacancies at residential, shared living homes in Oakland County for single adult individuals with a qualifying disability who meets HUD income guidelines. 
Macomb County
CHN has a few single vacancies in scattered-site, residential homes in Macomb County for single adults with a qualifying disability who meets HUD income guidelines.
If you are interested in more information, please contact Karla Chambers at 248-269-1321 or kchambers@chninc.net.
Wayne County
CHN has vacancies in a few of our shared housing, residential homes in Wayne County, for single adults with a qualifying disability who meets HUD income guidelines.
If you are interested in more information, please contact April Smith at 248-269-1327 or
  With support from:

Community Housing Network | 248-928-0111 | Lbrown@chninc.net | http://www.communityhousingnetwork.org
570 Kirts Boulevard, Suite 231
Troy, MI 48084