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Customized living program for adults with disabilities could see funding boost

A newly created grant program that aims to address the growing need for independent living facilities for those with disabilities could get a funding boost.

Sponsored by Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL-Shoreview), HF2153 would appropriate $2 million during the 2022-23 biennium to support the Customized Living Quality Improvement grant program.

The bill was held over by the House Human Services Finance and Policy Committee Friday for possible omnibus bill inclusion. The companion, SF721, awaits action by Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee. Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) is the sponsor.

The grant program was created last year. It’s similar to Elderly Waiver program but expands eligibly to organizations that support individuals with disabilities or brain injuries. These facilities typically provide around-the-clock physical and medical assistance in apartment settings for adults with special needs.

“We have so many vital, involved, active residents who have complex 24-hour needs that simply could not live and thrive in another setting, but customized living allows them to access 24-hour care that they need, with the freedom and independence of their own apartment,” said Loriann Granados, director of human resources as Accessible Space, Inc.

Accessible Space, Inc. only serves low-income residents, 98% of who are Medicaid recipients, funded through Community Access for Disability Inclusion and Brain Injury waiver programs. This disproportionate percentage of waiver clients creates a financial burden for the organization because waiver rates are quite low compared to the cost of care, Granados said.

The Department of Human Services would administer the grant program. The funding could be used to offer more efficient, higher quality services; encourage innovation; and provide tools to improve quality. It could also be used support more facilities and people. 

“With a larger pool of applicants more money is needed to continue the success we’ve seen in providing living services to Minnesotans who need it the most,” Moller said. “Saving the state money by avoiding nursing home costs.”

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