The Principles and Characteristics of Community Living

Individualized Supported Living is characterized by creativity, flexibility, responsiveness, and diversity as reflected by the following:

  • People live and receive needed supports in the household of their choice which might include their family home, an apartment, condominium, or house in community settings typical of non-disabled peers. The selected housing should represent an adequate standard of living common to other citizens, allows for reasonable protection and safety.
  • Person preferences and desires of consumers are respected. Personal autonomy and independence are promoted. Individuals receiving services participate in the planning, operation and evaluation of services. The participant’s self-direction and control leading toward independence are maximized through services provided.
  • Existing generic resources and natural supports, paid and unpaid, are maximized from the community at large.
  • Training focuses on acquiring functional, useful skills within the community. Services minimize the need for skill transfer by providing training in the environment in which the skills are required.
  • Services are “outcome” focused, addressing the quality of life being experienced in the present life style.
  • Services are provided based on individual needs not predicated on inflexible restrictions of specific funding mechanisms.
  • Service goals are directed toward participation in the life of one’s own community. As with any other citizen, this involves individual participation in civic activities and joining community organizations assuming those roles which are valued by the community.
  • Individuals can live in any home or apartment in the community as long as it is within their means compared to living in an agency’s community facility.
  • Flexibility in hours of service intervention and staff support to individuals as contrasted with fixed staffing patterns.
  • Individually determined funding and reimbursement methodology as contrasted with a facility based approach.
  • Intensity of support based on individual’s needs as contrasted with the group.
  • Developing supports for people with varying levels of competence in their homes as contrasted with preset placement in preset facility types based on diagnosis.
  • The number of unrelated people living together should reasonably emulate the household composition for non-disabled peers in the community.
  • Creatively supporting a person in an existing environment as contrasted with each living environment providing the training a person needs to progress.