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Starting in the 1980s, a new way of thinking emerged regarding community living for persons with developmental disabilities. After years of individuals providing services based on the requirements of medical or behavioral programs, or on the requirements of a facility, we began to look to the individuals and ask what services they wanted.

This new "person-centered" approach looks at the person first, and then builds in supports to meet the individual's needs. Instead of fitting people into programs, supports are developed around the individual wherever he or she may live or work. Home ownership and home control are also becoming viable options for people with developmental disabilities.

Home ownership options may include: single-family houses, duplexes, condominiums, and housing cooperatives. In some cases, individuals with developmental disabilities live with other people with disabilities, or in mixed, integrated households. Some people may live alone, while other people may receive support from licensed care providers or other professionals. Some advantages experienced by those who now live in consumer-controlled housing include:

Personal Control: People have greater choice in selecting the living arrangements that are most appropriate to their needs and self reliance is promoted.

Permanency: The risk of being forced to change residences by an agency is reduced. And those who live in their own homes have greater freedom in choosing their service providers.

Integration: Persons who own or control their own homes have greater choice in deciding where and with whom to live.

Location: People who purchase their own homes can choose where they live based on their own desires and needs, rather than those of the service provider.

Freedom: People who live in their own homes can make their own rules. Privacy is much more easily achieved in one's own home.

The American Dream: Home ownership, referred to as a "home of your own," is a desired objective for many Americans. It is socially and economically desirable and beneficial to own a home.

Equity: People who own their own homes can build equity and increase their financial resources.