In recent years, there has been growing international recognition of the importance of increasing the opportunities for people with disabilities to make choices about their lifestyle, including living in independent housing rather than in their parents' home or an institution.
To move into independent housing, however, people with disabilities need preparation, assistance and support in various areas such as finding an apartment and flatmates, household management, and utilizing services in the community.
To achieve this, JDC-Israel Unlimited (a partnership of the Government of Israel, JDC-Israel and the Ruderman Family Foundation), the Ministry of Social Affairs and Services, and several local authorities joined forced to create a Supported Housing program that, for the first time in Israel, assists people with disabilities who wish to move into independent housing.
In 2012, three organizations – Kivunim, Slav, and ADNAM Ltd. – began implementing a preliminary pilot of the program, providing participants with personal assistance in a broad range of aspects of their lives: finding an apartment and flatmates, household management, employment, social and recreational activity, couple relationships; and contact with services in the community. In addition to this, joint social activities were held for the participants.
To assist policy makers in decisions about expansion and dissemination of the program, MJB evaluated the implementation and outcomes of the pilot program.
The evaluation found that all the participants who had moved into independent housing noted that the program had helped them to make the transition or had made the move better and easier. Participants who had not yet moved said that the program had helped them to believe that they were capable of moving and helped them to plan the move.
MJB's evaluation has contributed to the implementation in 9 additional areas throughout Israel and its expansion to people with additional disabilities and to additional populations, including the ultra-Orthodox and Arabs.
The study was initiated by JDC-Israel Unlimited and funded with its assistance.
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