The crisis is real.
In Howard County and across the United States, a growing population of young adults with disabilities is transitioning into adulthood without affordable, accessible housing. In Howard County alone, approximately 600 students with various types of disabilities will transition out of high school in the next five years. When they do, the housing options they need to live lives of independence and fulfillment won’t be waiting for them. They’re simply not here.
This housing crisis is also acutely felt by parents who are concerned for their sons’ and daughters’ futures. In the U.S., over 850,000 people with disabilities live with a caregiver who is 60-years old or older. As more than a million such caregivers age, the lack of options for their adult children with disabilities to live outside of the family home creates enormous anxiety and demands a search for fresh solutions.
Meanwhile, the chronic shortage of affordable housing for low-to-moderate income families in Howard County continues to grow. And a “silver tsunami” of baby-boomers
is transforming outdated expectations of retirement and creating demand for new ways of living for older adults.The number of people over the age of 65 in Howard County will double in the next 20 years. Where will they live and what kind of life – and purpose – will they desire?
But it’s more than just a housing problem. Adults with disabilities, along with older adults, experience high than average levels of social isolation and depression. Regardless of age or ability, the opportunity to live with purpose and maintain social connections can be as essential as housing. And a growing body of research demonstrates the importance of social connectedness and supportive relationships to achieving physical and emotional well-being. How can we meet these needs simultaneously?
This combined challenge – a lack of affordable housing options that also encourage social connectedness and community – provides the driving rationale for Patuxent Commons.