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Residential Options Guide

The questions below represent the diverse experiences of people with developmental disabilities and their families and include things they thought about, asked, or wished they had thought about or asked in their own life experience with disability or special health care needs. 

These questions are not intended to be all-inclusive or complete but will help you get started with some general questions to keep in mind as you progress along the life course and are written to reflect a “first-person” perspective across the lifespan to represent the viewpoint of the person with a disability.


  • Where do I think I might want to live in the future?
  • How am I learning about different living options?
  • What kind of setting will I live in?
  • Am I getting the opportunity to learn and practice skills I will need to live in other settings?
  • Who will help me figure out if I need something provided by the service system?
  • Who will help me figure out how to own or rent a place to live?
  • Do I want to live with a roommate or alone?
  • Can I afford to pay for my own living expenses?
  • What technology or home modifications would help me be more independent in my home?
  • What supports will I need to either continue living in my family home or move into my own place?
  • What kind of living options do I know about or might want to try?
  • Do I want to be in control of choosing, hiring, or firing my support staff?
  • What skills do I need to live as independently as I like and how do I find help when I need it?
  • How will I be supported to have a valued role in my community?
  • What kind of accessibility issues should I think about when choosing my living arrangement?
  • What transportation will I use to get around in the community or places I need or want to go?

Integrated Residential Support Options

People need supports to lead good lives. Using a combination of many different kinds of support helps to plot a trajectory toward a quality life. The options and resources below can help families and people with disabilities think about how to work in partnership to support their vision for a good life.

Personal Strengths and Assets

• Knowledge of how to navigate community

• Drives a car, rides a bus, cab, or other public transportation

• Housekeeping skills

• Can prepare simple meals/snacks

• Can spend time alone or away from family

• Knowledge of different types of living options

Relationship-Based Supports

• Parents, siblings, spouse, children, grandparents, extended family

• Friends

• Roommates

• Neighbors

• Same age peers (college age, aging)


• Adapted living space

• Environmental technology

• Remote Support

• iPad apps

• FaceTime or Skype

• Electronic reminders

Community Resources

• Home ownership

• Rental home/apartment

• Co-op for housing or transportation

• Public transportation (bus, train, taxi)

• Universal design

• Neighborhood watch

• Home Owner’s Association

• Food pantries

Eligibility-Based Supports

• Centers for Independent Living

• Ohio Shared Living

• Intermediate care facility (ICF)

• Group or Individual Homes (HCBS Waivers)

• Meals on Wheels

• Section 8 Housing Vouchers

What to Expect from Ohio’s Eligibility Based Residential Services

What happens when I need help at home? Any time you determine that you have a need for help, no matter what that is, you can contact your county board of developmental disabilities to discuss your needs. You and your county board can decide if there is a resource readily available that you can use which will provide the help you need. You may request and/or the county board can recommend completing a Waiting List Assessment for Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waivers.

The Waiting List Assessment is a good opportunity for you to discuss what needs you have now or that you anticipate having within the next 12 months. Your county board will give you an informational pamphlet on Ohio’s Developmental Disabilities Waiver Waiting List to help you understand the possible results of the Waiting List Assessment.

If you are assessed to have a current, unmet need, the county board will work with you to connect you to any alternative services available to meet your needs. If there are no alternative services available, then you may be placed on a Waiting List for HCBS Waivers.

So, what does “alternative services” mean? Alternative services can be any programs, services, and supports, regardless of funding source, other than HCBS Waivers that exist as part of the developmental disabilities service system and other service systems. These include, but are not limited to, services offered through Ohio’s Medicaid State Plan such as Home Health Services and services in an intermediate care facility (ICF) for individuals with intellectual disabilities.


If I have a current, unmet need and I don’t want to live in an ICF, can I go on the Wait List for HCBS Waiver services? 

  • Yes, as long as there are no other community-based alternative services that meet your needs.

If I decide I want to live in an ICF, do I have to have a Waiting List Assessment completed first?

  • No. Admission into an ICF is not dependent on the outcome of a Waiting List Assessment and if you have a current, unmet need. If you know of an ICF that has a vacancy and you are interested in living there, you do not have to go through your county board. 

Can I get help from the county board to find an ICF, even if I don’t want to have a Waiting List Assessment completed or if the results of my Waiting List Assessment indicate I do not have a current need?

  • Yes. Your county board is there to help you and will give you information about the differences between HCBS Waivers and ICF services, a link to a map of ICFs in Ohio, and information about vacancies in ICFs in nearby counties. Your county board can also help you contact the ICF and assist you with the process as you need.