Mar 31, 2021

The Housing Dilemma for Adults with Autism

Jim Richardson
6 min
On World Autism Awareness Day, Jim Richardson, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Neuro Diverse Living, discusses the housing dilemma for adults with autism
On World Autism Awareness Day, Jim Richardson, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Neuro Diverse Living, discusses the housing dilemma for adults with aut...

It’s no surprise that there’s a massive housing dilemma for adults with autism and others with intellectual developmental disabilities. These individuals require care, attention, and comfortable living accommodation to allow them to live their lives to the absolute fullest. This housing crisis continues to develop and grow over the years, with not much in the way of solutions – until now. 

Here at Neuro Diverse Living, we’re providing a workable future for safe, lifelong living and scalable housing options for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Before reviewing our approach to the solution, it’s essential to address the challenges that exist across the United States. 

The Numbers Continue to Increase

Being a parent of an adult with ASD or other IDDs is challenging and fraught with isolation, frustration, fear, and exhaustion. That’s true for both the individual with ASD/IDD and the parents who care for them. Every 11 minutes, someone is diagnosed with autism in the US. Almost 6.5 million people in the US, or 3 per cent of the total population, have IDD. And every year, that population of adults with ASD grows by 50,000. 

The problem lies in the availability of practical housing alternatives for individuals with ASD/IDD as they transition from adolescence to adulthood and ultimately to senior citizens. While symptoms of autism can change over time, and the individual may learn to manage their symptoms, there is no cure for individuals with ASD/IDD, and they do not typically outgrow the disorder. That means that many are challenged to get jobs, learn independent skills such as finances, cooking, and effectively managing personal hygiene for the duration of their lives. While some may live independently, most individuals with ASD/IDD require some level of ongoing supervision and care. A US study found that only 17 per cent of adults with autism between 21 and 25 have lived independently. 

Unfortunately, while there are institutions licensed to care for people showing severe signs of ASD/IDD, many families either can’t afford the ongoing cost or can’t bear the thought of surrendering their child to facilities like these. Also, many adults with ASD/IDD don’t require such a high level of care. So many families choose to keep their child at home well into adult life. Eventually, the parent dies or becomes incapable of adequately caring for their grown child without a housing or transition plan. When this happens, the adult child loses everything they know — their parent/caregiver, home, and entire life. A CDC report in May 2020 states “that without access to affordable housing in their community or the support to live in their own home, adults with autism are at risk of homelessness or displacement from their community. They may be placed in the next empty bed of a group home or adult foster care that could be hundreds of miles away from their hometown.” 

Desiree Kameka, Director of the Autism Housing Network, stated: “We know from the contacts made through our website that there is a large percentage of autistic adults already experiencing homelessness. Due to social and communication impairments, many can’t get past an in-person job interview, and thus they can’t afford housing. They experience a crisis when their parents pass away as they find themselves without support with the upkeep of everyday life. They often fall victim to mate-crime or predatory/abusive relationships.” 

Government Provides Services Not Solutions

Autism is said to be the largest developmental and intellectually challenged special needs group. It is estimated that by 2025, at least 500,000 children with autism will become adults with autism. Current service systems in the US aren’t adequate to address the needs of this emerging population. It also means that half a million families will need to navigate the residential care network in hopes of finding their adult child adequate housing – 87 per cent of the population with autism live in the family home, and 35 per cent require 24-hour support. 

What happens when the parents are no longer able to care for their child? The reality is that these families have very few practical choices. 

Schools are mandated to try meeting the needs of children with autism until the age of 22. However, after they pass that threshold, the responsibility falls on the parents to figure out how to provide services for their child, leaving them with few resources. 

To accommodate adults with autism or other intellectual disabilities, there is a dire need for new housing models that don’t require institutionalization but may require some level of continuous supervision and case management. 

The Neuro Diverse Living Difference

Neuro Diverse Living (NDL) is a new and exciting 501C3 nonprofit organization designed to provide adults living with autism or other IDDs with independent housing alternatives based on their support needs. This specialized housing creates an environment where they can thrive and become members of their local community. Our goal is to provide this underserved population safe and sustainable options for neuro inclusive housing with the same opportunities in life as their neurotypical peers. 

Children typically outlive their parents, and that’s the same for children with autism. Our neuro-inclusive communities will offer families a sense of comfort, knowing that their special-needs child will have a permanent and safe place to live indefinitely. Serving as a lifelong advocate for their child will be a game-changer for these parents and for the adult children they love so much. 

What Does NDL Need to Succeed?

Neuro Diverse Living (NDL) is in its infancy stages, ready to blossom into a fully-fledged community for adults with autism or other intellectual developmental disabilities. We’re looking not only for scattered-site single-family, duplex, or small apartment structures across Pennsylvania in need of light renovation but the property on which to build new, neuro-inclusive cohousing communities. 

Corporate sponsors can help us with the funds necessary to buy and develop the property, fund inspections, make renovations to create unique supportive housing solutions by combining smart-home technology, intentional sensory-friendly design strategies, and built-in supports. Because we’re a tax-exempt charity, donors who have property or structures they no longer need can receive substantial tax-deductions by donating it to us for this critical charitable use. We also accept gifts of stock. When you make a gift of stock, you can claim a charitable deduction equal to the value of the stock on the day of your gift and avoid capital gains taxes you might pay if you sold it. That’s a win-win in our book. 

As NDL moves forward with plans for building our neuro-inclusive cohousing communities, we are also looking for people who not only may want naming rights but understand the need for long-term funding and would consider putting NDL in their will and estate plan. In that way, we can guarantee safe and secure lifelong living arrangements for individuals with ASD/IDD as they transition into adulthood.

For more information on all of these options and the Champions of Hope program, please contact NDL at [email protected]

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Jul 5, 2021

What’s Causing the Global Supply Crunch?

He Jun, Director of China Macr...
6 min
Empty Shelf
Global shortages are affecting everything from copper to coffee - but why are the shortfalls so acute and so widespread?

As the global economy gradually recovers from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide supply crunch is intensifying, spreading not only from one country to another, but also from one industry to another.

A year ago, when the pandemic continued to spread, economies around the world were severely hit and there was panic buying among consumers. Today, it is companies that are trying to go on a stockpiling, buying more raw materials than they need to keep up with rapidly recovering demand. The panic buying is fuelling more shortages of raw materials, including copper, iron ore, steel, corn, coffee, wheat, soybeans, wood, semiconductors, plastics, cardboard, etc. As a result, inventories of seemingly every raw material around the world are running low. “You name it, and we have a shortage on it,” Tom Linebarger, chairman and chief executive of engine and generator manufacturer Cummins Inc., said earlier, and he noted that his clients are “trying to get everything they can because they see high demand”.

Supply shortages have driven prices up significantly, with the impact of rising prices for some key raw materials being significant. The prices of various industrial raw materials such as crude oil, plastics, and chemicals are rising. Some of the impacts of higher raw material prices have already begun to be reflected in consumer goods. Reynolds Consumer Products Inc., the maker of the namesake aluminium foil and Hefty trash bags, is planning another round of price hike, and this will be the third for the increase this year alone. Food prices are also climbing. The price of palm oil, the world's most consumed edible oil, has risen more than 135% over the past year to record levels; soybeans have topped USD 16 a bushel for the first time since 2012; corn futures prices have touched an eight-year high, and wheat futures prices have risen to the highest level since 2013.

Changes in factory orders due to the impact of the pandemic have also tightened supply in some markets and pushed up prices for raw materials. Some knitting enterprises in Dongguan, Guangdong, said that affected by the pandemic, about 40% of the orders have come back to China from countries such as India and Southeast Asian countries, while the factory utilisation rate has increased by about 30% to 40%, and now it has reached 100%. In Jiangyin, Jiangsu, a bedsheet enterprise adjusted its production capacity to accommodate a USD 20 million order from Southeast Asia. Increased demand from the textile industry has led to tight supplies of raw materials. In Wujiang, Jiangsu, where polyester filament yarn is the most in demand, the shortage of raw materials this year has been unexpected, especially in the current off-season, when there is not much stock. In Suzhou, also in Jiangsu, the export of polyester filament yarn increased by nearly 60% from January to April, while the price increased by 40% to 60%. Compared with the same period last year, the price of filament yarn increased by RMB 2000-3000/ton.

Remarkably, this hoarding frenzy is pushing global supply chains to the brink of collapse. Inventory shortages, transportation bottlenecks, and price increases are nearing critical levels, raising concerns that strong global growth could fuel inflation. The supply disruptions in the past are simply incomparable compared to the severe inventory crunch of 2021. Industry insiders predict that both large and small enterprises will be affected by this supply shortage.

Why are current supply shortages so acute? 

Researchers at ANBOUND believe that instead of having one single factor, there are multiple reasons for the emergence of complex systemic problems.

First of all, there is the recovery in demand as the pandemic is brought under control. This year, as vaccination rollout efforts have brought the pandemic significantly under control in the United States and some European countries, the economy has begun to show significant momentum for recovery. This trend prompted a near-simultaneous recovery in most markets around the world. The collective recovery of global markets has led to a near-simultaneous increase in demand, exacerbating the mismatch between supply and demand. In the case of commodity futures, the capital was collectively bullish on commodities under such expectations, significantly driving up the prices of commodities (mostly upstream commodities) and spreading to midstream and downstream commodities. It should be noted in particular that the surge in demand for certain specific commodities under the pandemic has also exacerbated the supply-demand mismatch in some industrial chains. For example, the increase in the need of remote, online working and studying has increased the demand for all kinds of electronic products, leading to a surge in global demand for semiconductor chips, which affects several chip-requiring industries.

Another reason is that the pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain system, causing distortions in supply and demand in certain industries, which are transmitted along the supply chain, causing a wider supply crunch. As ANBOUND previously pointed out, the spread of the pandemic has dealt multiple blows to global supply chains. During the pandemic, China, as the "world's factory", was affected by the pandemic and its production side was disrupted. Then, the demand side of developed countries was suppressed by the impact of the pandemic. This is followed by the fact that the malfunctioning of the global supply chain system has exacerbated global supply distortions. To cite an example, the severe shortage of containers due to disruption of the supply chain has exacerbated the global supply distortions.

In addition, enterprises began to collectively increase their inventories, leading to the increase of inventories in the industrial chain and supply chain, amplifying the demand for all kinds of raw materials, intermediate products, and supporting products. In the past, in order to save costs and improve efficiency, many enterprises advocated zero-inventory production and tried to reduce the inventory in the production link, thereby reducing the capital occupation. However, the smooth operation of zero inventory production depends on the efficient global supply chain system. Once a problem occurs in the global supply chain system, it can lead to chaos in the whole supply chain system. The 2011 earthquake in Tōhoku, Japan has caused the shutdown of some key auto parts plants, which once led to the global auto supply chain being affected. Likewise, the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic since last year has damaged, distorted, and even disrupted global supply chains.

Finally, geopolitical factors have also contributed to the tight supply of global commodities, resulting in the artificial disruption of part of the industrial chain and supply chain. For example, the U.S.-driven crackdown on chip supply to Chinese enterprises and related sanctions have seriously disrupted the global semiconductor industry chain.

How long will the supply crunch last? 

Overall, the global supply crunch is due to a variety of reasons, including increased demand from the post-pandemic economic recovery, distortions in global supply chains caused by the pandemic, collective stockpiling by enterprises around the world, and geopolitical disruptions. However, this does not represent a significant expansion of aggregate global demand, but rather a distortion of the existing system as it is disrupted and broken. Judging from the current situation, this tight supply situation will last for a long time, leading to the price rise of raw materials and components. Therefore, both enterprises and governments need to be prepared for this scenario in the medium- and long-term.

Mr. He Jun is Partner, Director of China Macro-Economic Research Team and Senior Researcher. His research field covers China’s macro-economy, energy industry and public policy.

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