July 31st, 2020
Partners4Housing has created an online roommate matching platform that allows families who have a loved one with I/DD to find compatible roommates and create a shared living home. Shared living is a family-driven housing model that reduces the individual expense of housing and support, making it available to a wide range of incomes. Sharing housing also reduces loneliness and isolation, a big concern for parents of adults with disabilities.
Nationally, 5.4 million adults with I/DD live with a family caregiver, primarily their parents. Housing options for people with I/DD are very limited. As they age, parents worry about where their loved one will live and who will provide care when they are no longer able. Parents want housing and support solutions that meet the unique needs of their family member.
"Housing is the foundation for a good life," asserts Pam Blanton, Founder and CEO of Partners4Housing. Pam self-funded the development of the matching portal after working for local government in Seattle where, as Housing Coordinator, she heard families consistently asking for roommate matching.
"It's hard enough for families to transition their loved one to independent living," she continued, "having compatible roommates makes it easier.”
“I want to see Partners4Housing succeed," says Charlie Hammerman, CEO of the Disability Opportunity Fund. "Housing developers will be more willing to invest in housing for people with I/DD now that they'll have access to a pool of tenants."
Charlie, himself a father of a child with I/DD continued, "This is good for the I/DD community, and reduces the pressure on government resources.”
“This is a wonderful validation of the Partners4Housing model,” said Pam, who recently partnered with technology founder and entrepreneur Max Wells, to take the solution nationwide.
Partners4Housing has been operating in Washington and Arizona and will use the money from DOF to revamp their website and attract investment to scale the operation.
The DOF is a community development financial institution (CDFI), launched in April 2007, located in Rockville Centre, New York and operating nationally. A 501c (3) tax-exempt organization, it provides financing, technical services, and policy advocacy to increase access to appropriate and affordable housing and related services for people with disabilities throughout the United States. For example, DOF has financed Luna Azul, America's first for-sale community for adults with disabilities, located in North Phoenix. Partners4Housing collaborates with owners at Luna Azul to find compatible roommates. In response to receiving a large donation in late 2018, DOF launched DOF Cares: a new program to provide grants to organizations which serve people with disabilities and their families.
The awards were timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on June 26, 2020.