The Real Choice Initiative is a rights-based approach to housing justice for people with disabilities. Simply put, people with disabilities are excluded from suitable housing because of a lack of accessible units rented at prices that are sustainable for people who are often on fixed income and live below the poverty line. Our approach challenges structural barriers to living independently while identifying existing opportunities and supporting people who live in group homes to achieve their goals.
Independent Living vs. Institutions
Group homes are institutional settings where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) have little or no control of who enters their living quarters and lack choice in several life domains ranging from community integration to vocational training to preferences of how and with whom they share their lives. Group homes are incongruent with person-centered service provision and with ongoing societal and governmental shifts toward community-based services.
Independent living is a movement and a philosophy based around the belief that people with disabilities ourselves are best able to make decisions about how we lead our lives. Each of us can make decisions about where we live and how and when we engage with the community. This is the path toward community integration and real choice for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities are able to define the living situation that best suits them and receive support to find accommodations that match their needs.