A major issue for individuals on the Autistic spectrum is housing. Naturally, people need to move out of their parent’s homes and into the world around twenty. It is the only way for anyone to truly gain an understanding of the world. For an Autistic person, it is a matter of survival- the only way which a high functioning individual on the Autistic spectrum can be quickly trained to operate in the world, is if they are immersed in it. Isolation only contributes to awkward social interactions and this is especially true of in the case of someone with Autism.
One solution to the housing question for Autistic people is government intervention. Society can turn to mental asylums or state-run group homes. There are actually some benefits to this. If the individual is in dire economic straits for example, a state-run group home might be able to assist that individual more effectively in receiving government benefits. However, with the government comes bureaucracy and with bureaucracy comes inefficiency. When the government is involved with something then almost always corruption, red-tape and disunity of command drive costs through the roof. So, were the private sector might be able to house someone for five-hundred dollars a month, the government might well need seven-hundred dollars or even a thousand dollars to provide the same level of service. In addition, the government will restrict the ability of people utilizing it’s services to this degree to live, work or travel outside the boundaries of the state they are housed in for obvious reasons.
Another option would be to entrust a for-profit company with this responsibility. Then, the individual receiving their services would not be limited by state boundaries and the staff would be able to accomplish things faster being (largely) freed from government bureaucracy. This would appear to work fine. After all, most apartment complexes are owned and managed in this manner. However, most companies are not social businesses and when it comes to social issues, greed is not good. The evidence of this is that it can be argued that many companies which house persons with Autism take advantage of their families. One company charges families as much thirty-five to one-hundred thousand dollars for their services. Services which could almost certainly be delivered more efficiently, and thus more cheaply.
Both the government and non-social, for-profit companies leave something to be desired when it comes to providing housing to autistic persons. So, what is the solution? What if a social business or a non-profit such as Blue-J which already had gained expertise in Autistic people by employing them, housed them as well? Blue-J is starting a dialogue on this issue and welcomes your thoughts on this post, as well as the questions raised by it.