Cliff Poetz has an active life that includes work, exercise and being a leader in self-advocacy for people with disabilities.
He also became a homeowner in 2011 with the help of the Housing Access Services (HAS) program initiated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services in partnership with The Arc of Minnesota.
Poetz has a developmental disability and receives services under the Medical Assistance Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) home and community-based services waiver.
He had been living in public housing in Minneapolis for 10 years before deciding in 2011 he was looking for more privacy and a quieter neighborhood.
Poetz met with HAS staff and together they formed a plan to search for a place with the amenities that met his needs and budget. HAS staff found several places and helped Poetz view them until the perfect one was found in Plymouth. It was a condominium that was affordable. Poetz was very interested in moving forward with a purchase. HAS typically helps people rent apartments but purchasing a place made the most sense for Poetz. As part of the process, HAS helped Poetz meet with his brother to weigh the pros and cons of his potential new place. They decided to move forward.
HAS staff helped connect Poetz with a mortgage company and attended the closing to ensure he fully understood the parameters of the purchase and agreements. The closing went smoothly and a moving date was set.
Poetz said moving day was hectic but wound up fine. HAS helped with moving belongings, getting a bed and assembling it and finding a dresser, chair, table and chairs for his new kitchen. Hennepin County helped in ensuring Poetz had access to providers who knew him well and supported him in his new place.
When asked about his neighbors, Poetz says they are great. In fact, he has come to know his neighbor across the hall and has entrusted her with a key in case of emergency. He describes his new place as quiet and more independent than living in public housing.
From his condo Poetz enjoys access to a variety of activities, including his job at the Institute for Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. There he helps translate training curricula to make the information more understandable for people with disabilities. He has been a leader in the self-advocacy community for many years and has worked to help educate and empower people with disabilities and their families. For these efforts, he has received several honors, including the 2016 Access Press Charlie Smith Award, named in honor of the founding editor of Minnesota’s disability community news source.
Since Poetz moved, the success of Housing Access Services has led to the expansion of the housing access coordination service in the disability waivers.
For more information on housing access coordination, contact Disability Hub MN at 1-866-333-2466.