Residential Options for People with Disabilities

by Rhiannon Bailey, Regional Operations Director Bridges of Virginia:

Rhiannon Bailey is the Regional Operations Director of Bridges of Virginia in Roanoke.

Families sometimes face difficult decisions when it comes time to consider community living options for their child with a disability or other loved one with unique needs.  For most of us, growth and maturity to adulthood means moving away from our parents into a life of complete independence and individual decision making.  Although people with disabilities may face different life challenges than the rest of us, in most cases, they also want to live independently from their parents or guardians.  What excites me about how far our society has come in accepting and building a culture of independence is that today it is entirely normal for people with disabilities to desire a life of their own, develop their own individual identity and gain independent living skills in order to become the best version of themselves.

What are the community living options for a person with a disability or another type of unique need that requires residential support?  In the past, we knew those living options to be only state and community institutions or privately-operated group homes for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.  Thankfully, those days have passed and institutions or group congregate settings are closing as we evolve to smaller residential settings where someone with a disability can live either completely alone with some paid residential support, or with 1 to 2 others who share their desire for an independent life with minimal to no restrictions.  Community living options for a person with a disability now means living immersed with everyone, in our cities and neighborhoods, either near or away from other people with disabilities, but also being afforded the same life options that we all have – the ability to live and work where, when and with whomever.  In all the states Bridges serves, it is important to and necessary for us to ensure all people can access community needs such as medical services, recreational activities, meals out, personal care needs and religious services.  From Billings, Montana to Owensboro, Kentucky and points in between, Bridges’ staff ensure clients get into their communities to participate in the appointments and activities that are important to and for them.

When making the decision to begin serving in Virginia for example, Bridges was welcomed by the Department of Behavioral Services and was directed towards the city of Roanoke due to increased need of able providers.  Bridges was aided in facilitating a pathway for many individuals to be able to transition from their current placement to more appropriate settings in the community, where their independence grew, and so has their confidence in their standing in the local community.  Bridges of Virginia has worked to increase independence for those who are in group homes but want to live on their own, who no longer require the support of 24-hour facility care, and those who are seeking to branch out more from their natural support settings to better fulfil their life goals.  Bridges of Virginia is just one of our many success stories that we continue to invest in, working to bring individuals with disabilities closer to their full potential with all the support that they choose to have in their life.

Although a person may still choose to be supported by and live within a community agency group home for people with disabilities, they may also certainly choose a one, two or three bedroom house, duplex or apartment of their own, often shared with roommates of their choosing who have similar interests and goals.  By choosing their own home or that of a Family Home Provider in their desired community, people with disabilities now have the option to control their own lives, live with the people they want and with whom they share things in common, and also near their friends and family.  People supported by Bridges in Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana are now making their own decisions, in their best interests and with regard to what lifestyle choices they find most appealing for their own unique needs.  Supported people at Bridges can furnish and decorate their living space according to their own tastes, have complete freedom to move in and out of their own home and outdoor space for leisure, recreation or privacy and be able to make decisions about who visits them at their home and with regard to time of day and frequency.  Though infrequent, if a supported person requires any type of living restriction of sorts, due to concerns for health, welfare, safety or security, Bridges will review those requests and work with a local Human Rights Committee of individual service team professionals and therapists to approve and implement.

When a person supported by Bridges lives on their own, that also means signing a lease or mortgage documents just as you or I would while also controlling their own financial decisions either independently or through a representative payee.  By maintaining their own financial freedom, supported people have control over paying their own housing and utility bills, shopping on their own or with support, enjoying leisure activities with their friends, family or paid staff and saving extra money for their future.

Bridges is an experienced expert in serving all types of community living arrangements.  Our professionally trained staff can provide up to 24 hours of paid support each day depending on a person’s care plan and personal goals.  We would love to have the opportunity to tell you more about our services and supports.  Whether in Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, Colorado, Wyoming or Montana, you can find us at, on Facebook @USBridges, Twitter @USBridges, Instagram us_bridges or simply by calling (317) 645-8655.


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On July 18th, Clint Bolser (Bridges Division President) presented a white paper on the Elimination of Subminimum Wage on behalf of CEO @jonburlison. Learn more about this topic on the Bridges blog by clicking the link in our bio!Did you know that Jonathon Burlison, CEO of Bridges US and Bridges of Indiana, serves on the Task Force for Assessment of Services and Supports for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities? The Task Force was established in 2017 and serves to, “prepare a comprehensive plan for implementation of community-based services provided to people with intellectual and other disabilities.” Since November 2017, members have been working on reviewing essential and innovative topics such as employment and community living expansion. Over the past several months, Jon presented white papers and recommendations on Shared Living, Tying Funding to Individuals, Support for Driverless Automobile Technology Legislation, and Elimination of Subminimum Wage. Each week, Bridges is excited to share the Taskforce’s progress and initiatives for the future of services. For additional information, recordings of meetings, and how you can attend, please visit little #MondayMotivation!Congrats to Jen, one of our House Supervisors in Lafayette, Indiana who became a new grandmother last night to a baby girl, Royalty. Here is her CSFS Mirissa delivering some gifts to her at work today. Jen does a great job supporting Patrick, Doug, Josh, Nancy, Kenny and Thomas among others. Jen is a valuable and important part of our team!Today in Terre Haute, Bridges of Indiana celebrated our Direct Support Professionals. They joined us for pizza at the office and we used the opportunity to say thank you for doing great work! #bridgesus #directsupportprofessionals #thankyou #weloveourstaffBridges #directsupportprofessionals celebrated #independenceday with the people we serve in #Indiana, #Kentucky, #Virginia, #Colorado, #Wyoming and #Montana.  Here, DSP Mindy Johnson celebrates with Bradley Lain!#us_bridges is absolutely #loving our #communityday outings with our teens! They LOVE them too. Last week, the kids spent time at Pendleton Falls Park, #hiking at the #playground , wading in the water and then finished the day talking about bullying and other topics relevant to them. The kids were also so attentive to an #artist they met while at the Park and they listened carefully to what he shared. He encouraged them to have an outlet...he uses #art and gave examples, including being a part of a group and #blogging.  The kids are really bonding and enjoying their time together. #disabilityawareness#us_bridges #advocacy #disabilityawareness #disabilityrights #disabilitysupport We are the land of the free, we are the home of the brave. Bridges wishes you a happy, safe and memorable Independence Day., USBridges Facebook and Twitter.#us_bridges #columbusindiana client Bradley Lain makes #pillows The pillows are all #handmade and filled with pine shavings. We are happy to share these pictures with you because Bradley would like to #growbusiness. If you are interested in one of Bradley’s pillows, you may contact: