How It Works
How does the DD system work in Colorado?
The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is authorized by Colorado statute (CRS 27-10.5) to administer services for persons with developmental disabilities. These services are administered through organizations called Community Centered Boards.
Community Centered Boards, or CCBs, are nonprofit organizations that manage resources at the local level. CCBs are the single entry-point into the system and determine eligibility for community-based services and provide case management services for people with developmental disabilities. The CCBs may either provide services directly or purchase services. Providing these services at the local level better ensures the community is appropriately served and any local funding is used to manage localized services.
Okay. Can you explain that in English?
What do they mean by “Services”?
The “Services” they are referring to are Supported Living Services, which are also called SLS for short. These services cover the basic day to day needs that you may have in addition to the long-term yearly needs that you may have.
A few examples of these services are transportation needs, health care needs, assisted living needs, educational or job training needs, and so on. These services also allow you to live as independently as possible, which is the goal of the entire system.
So, what does this Community Centered Board do?
A CCB will assess all your needs (as described above) and determine how much state funding (money) necessary to provide you all the necessary services that you will need. Then the CCB gets that money from the state through the Colorado Department of Human Services.
Keep in mind, these are services you need for living. What you think your need is may differ from what the State says your need is. You may think you need your cell phone or your TV. The State does not include cell phones, TV and other things like that in your list of needs. Those are expenses you will have to cover on your own.
What do they do with the money? Do I get it?
Once they get the funding (money) from the state, the CCB can do 1 of 2 things with it:
- They can provide you with the services themselves through their own agency, or
- You can pick an outside agency to provide the services for you. This agency would then receive the money from the CCB to cover their costs and the costs of your services.
You do not personally get the money in your hand. The agency that is providing your services uses the money to pay for those services.
How does the PAL program work?
How do I get started?
If you already live in Colorado...
If you are an adult and already live in Colorado, chances are you already have a CCB and are already receiving services. If you live in the North Metro area, then you are probably with North Metro Community Services. If you live in Jefferson County, then you are probably with DDRC (Developmental Disabilities Resource Center.) If you live in Denver, then you are probably with Denver Options. If you live in Arapahoe or Douglas Counties, then you might be with Developmental Pathways. Each county generally has their own CCB. If you are unsure, ask your parents. Or you can look for your local CCB.
If you already live in Colorado and you are moving into a PAL apartment, chances are that you will be moving from one county to another. When this happens, you will need to change CCBs.
Let’s say you are moving to one of our Lakewood apartments from your parents’ house in Northglenn. When you lived in Northglenn, your county was Adams your CCB was North Metro Community Services. But, since you are moving to Lakewood, you or your parents will need to have your services moved from North Metro CS to DDRC since DDRC is the CCB that covers Jefferson County and Lakewood. In other words, it does not matter where you are living now, if you move to a new county, you will have to change your CCB to the county where you are moving.
The good news is that this is REALLY easy to do! Contact your current CCB and your case manager and let them know that you are interested in moving into the PAL Apartment Program and where the apartment would be, and they will help you get your services transferred.
If you are moving to Colorado or have just arrived...
First off, Welcome to Colorado! If you are new to Colorado, chances are you or your parents have not yet set up your services. You will need to contact the CCB in your new county and apply for services. You can find your CCB here.
You will be assigned a Case Manager who will oversee your application process and who will perform your intake interview.
The bad news is that the State of Colorado has a long waiting list for services, and you might be on that list for a long time; months to years depending on your need.
But what if I need a place to live now and I am stuck on the waiting list?
If you are in emergent need for housing, this moves you up the waiting list. This is what they mean by “depending on your need.”
PAL can accept you into the program so long as you are on the waiting list. In this case, your family member would be responsible for checking in on you often and making sure your needs are being met.
The good news is that if you let your case manager know that you have been accepted into the PAL Program and there is an apartment ready for you now, this will often move you up the waiting list. Why? Because your need is more urgent than let’s say an 18-year-old who has not yet graduated from High School or a 25-year-old who is not yet ready to move out of their parents’ home.
Once you have contacted your CCB
You can either call us and have one mailed, emailed or faxed to you, or you can click to download one here.
- Send in your application. Once we receive it, we will review it and contact you regarding whether or not you qualify for the program and let you know if we have an open unit in your preferred geographical area.
- We will then provide you with the general address so that you can drive by and check out the property, the surrounding areas and services and find out if you think you might be happy in this area. Unless the unit is completely vacant, we keep the unit number discrete so that any current tenants can have their privacy.
- If you are happy with the area and like the property, then you contact PAL and we will set up a time to meet at the apartment so that you can see the unit, meet the other tenant and their parent(s) or support people. You will also bring your parent(s) or support people with you to this meeting so that all parties can have a chance to meet, visit and get an idea of whether or not this roommate arrangement will work out. You will receive a full tour of the apartment as well as the grounds of the property so that you will see where all the facilities are located (laundry, club house, pool, mailboxes, storage units, parking spaces…)
Deanna – Program Director
We will ask you many questions and you need to feel free to ask us as many questions as you would like. Depending on your level of need, we may perform a safety assessment interview at this time to ensure that you are ready to live independently and know what to do in the event of a situation or emergency. If we notice anything that you might need to work on, we will let your support people know so that you can get training on how to handle that particular situation before you move into your new apartment.
What if I do not like the unit?
If you do not like the unit or location, you are free to look at other locations or other options outside of PAL. We generally do not have multiple vacancies in the same part of town. So, if you want a place in Arvada but do not care for the unit, you may have to go onto the waiting list for another Arvada unit to open, you can look at another city such as Lakewood, or you are free to go back to your CCB and find out what other programs are available that might have a location in Arvada.
What if I do not like the roommate?
If you find that you and the other tenant are not compatible, contact us and let us know. We are not going to make anyone move in with someone they do not think they will get along with. This is not like college dorms where you are stuck with the other tenant for a full year. You can turn down the unit based on the other tenant if you wish. However, as stated above, we generally do not have multiple vacancies in the same part of town.
So, if you want a place in Arvada but do not care for the other tenant, you may have to go onto the waiting list for another Arvada unit to open, you can look at another city such as Lakewood, or you are free to go back to your CCB and find out what other programs are available that might have a location in Arvada.
Also, keep in mind, the current tenant also has the right to say if they don’t think you are a good match as a roommate for them, and then we would ask you to look at another unit. Once again, we are not going to make anyone live with someone they do not think they will get along with.
Okay, so you like the unit, you like the roommate and you want to move in tomorrow!
It generally does not happen that quickly. At this point, you will receive a packet of paperwork to be filled out and you will need to gather documents to copy and turn in to PAL:
- A copy of your most recent psychological evaluation which verifies your disability. In many cases this is the evaluation that was performed in elementary school. This evaluation MUST be signed by a licensed psychologist.
- The following which are applicable must be provided:
- Previous year’s W-2 Forms
- Paycheck copies or stubs for current year (if employed).
- Printout showing benefits received from SSI, Social Security, or SSDI during the past year.
- Most recent checking and savings account statement(s).
- Proof of any other source of income.
Once the above information is turned in and your eligibility is verified, the following is required at least ONE WEEK PRIOR TO MOVING IN. These forms will be provided to you in the packet you will receive:
- Apartment Program Participation Agreement, completed and signed.
- Lease Agreement completed and signed.
- $720 First Month’s Rent ($1200 if single occupancy.)
- $500 Participation Fee, non-refundable.
- $500 Security deposit.
Once all the documentation and checks have been received and verified you will receive your unit key(s). This entire process takes as long as you need to gather all the information. The Benefits printout takes the longest to acquire, so contact Social Security as stated above as early in the process as possible so that you can move in quickly. (If you kept your annual benefits determination letter, you can provide us with a copy of that.) Generally, a new tenant is ready to move in within a month of seeing the unit.
What happens if I do not want to wait until the 1st of the next month to move in?
You do not have to wait until the first of the next month to move in. You let us know what date you would like to move in, and we will prorate that month’s rent for you. This means, we will charge you rent for the amount of days in that month that you were actually in possession of the keys to the unit. So if you take possession of the keys on the 17th, we will charge you rent, per day, from the 17th to the end of the month.
Is that it? Am I done with the paperwork once I move in?
No. You have 2 more things to do:
- Within two weeks, you or your FRP must provide a Certificate of Property and Liability Insurance covering your personal property and liability. The insurance must name PAL as an “additional insured” or an interested party. This insurance is available at low rates through any major property insurance carrier. Many roommates share a policy.
- Before you move in, you need to fill out the move-in checklist which will be provided in the packet. On this checklist you mark down things such as wear and tear to the unit, condition of the carpet, appliances and fixtures, condition of the paint and cleanliness of the apartment
Keep it Clean!
I am not a particularly good house cleaner. Does PAL clean our units for us?
No. PAL does not provide house cleaning services. Our maintenance man does not clean your unit for you.
You are responsible for keeping your unit clean. This is especially important when you live with someone else. If you are a messy person, keep your mess to your own bedroom, but do not subject it upon your roommate. This can cause major problems between roommates and friends. We have seen many good friendships between roommates destroyed over cleanliness issues.
If you do not do well with household cleaners or just have problems with keeping your unit clean based upon your disability, as many of our tenants do, we have a wonderful cleaning service that we can recommend. These ladies are wonderful, and we use them to clean the units when they are vacant.
You can choose to split the cost with your roommate and have the ladies come regularly, or bi-annually as some of our tenants do to have a deep clean performed.
You can find a referral to a cleaning company on our Resources page. Or, you will have to work with your support people to have them help you clean the unit or teach you how to clean your unit.
You are renting the unit; we own the unit. You must keep it clean!
What about the unit maintenance?
A word about the microwaves: Many of our tenants do not know how to cook on a stove or in an oven. Therefore, PAL microwaves are used constantly. They wear out long before their normal lifespan. PAL has spent a fortune replacing microwaves. Many times, we have had to replace them due to inappropriate items being cooked in them, such a metal. They break and smoke and cause all types of problems. Therefore, several years ago the Board had to pass the following rule: When you first lease the apartment, PAL will provide you with one (1) good working microwave. Should the microwave expire prematurely due to overuse or incorrect use, the tenants will need to replace the microwave. However, if the microwave expires around the normal time of wear, then PAL will replace the microwave. This will be determined on an individual basis by the maintenance man and the Director as needed.
What kinds of things are taken care of by the maintenance man?
As previously mentioned, he comes in once a month to inspect the unit. He will check all appliances to ensure they are properly working. He will change out light bulbs. He will check the batteries in every smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. He checks the doors and windows for security. He checks the unit for cleanliness, disorder, inappropriate materials, any signs of subletting, and any maintenance needs. He will respond to emergencies in the unit such as leaks, broken appliances, repairs, clogged sinks, toilets or garbage disposals, smoking appliances, etc… He meets all repairmen, deliverymen or hired contractors to allow them access to the unit and he remains at the unit while they are there. He purchases all new appliances and takes care of discarding all old appliances.
What kinds of things does he not do?
First off, you need to know that at no time does he ever go through your personal property. If there is ever a need to touch your property it will only be in the event that he has to move it to gain access to something that needs to be repaired. For example, he may have to move your bed away from the window in order to replace the blinds, fix the screen or the window. But he will not just randomly come in and start moving things around and rummage through them. We respect your privacy!
He does not respond to urgencies that are not an emergency. For example, if you broke the handle off the stove – this is not an emergency, although you might think it is. You can call him and if he can talk you through it on the phone, he will help you that way. For instance, if you did break the handle off the stove and the burner is off, he will tell you to leave it alone and not use it until he can get the replacement part. If the burner is on, he can tell you how to turn it off. If you cannot get it turned off and the burner is on, then that makes it an emergency and he will come out and turn the stove off. Then he will get the part and take care of it upon his next inspection. If one of the kitchen bulbs goes out, yet you have another lit bulb or other ways of getting light, he will replace the bulb upon his next inspection. A burned-out bulb is not necessarily an emergency.
He does not respond to lockouts. You should have several unit keys made and hand them out to people you trust – your parents, support staff, family members, etc… But be careful about trusting neighbors. How well do you really know these people? We strongly advise against giving a key to your neighbor or leaving it under the mat. Some complexes have onsite maintenance and office people. You might consider giving them a key, but do not give a key to a neighbor.
He does not clean your unit for you.
He does not mediate between roommate issues. Neither does the PAL staff. If you are having problems with a roommate, you need to get help from your support people to take care of the problem.
He does not fix things that are not broken. Just because you might not like the wallpaper in the bathroom does not mean he is going to tear it down and change it. Now, if there is a flood from the upstairs unit and it destroys the bathroom walls and the wallpaper, then he will fix it.
He does not clean the carpets. We hire that out to a very wonderful company, and it is done every Spring. The tenant is responsible for paying for this and PAL will bill you.
He does not deliver appliances. He meets Home Depot at your unit when they deliver it.
He does not do windows. He does replace the blinds if they get ruined and he will fix the screens if they need it. But he does not clean windows.
He cannot make any structural changes to the unit. None of our units are wheelchair accessible because the buildings are all incredibly old and do not have wheelchair access. So, he cannot widen doorways or hallways to allow for easier access.
He does not provide mailbox keys. If you lose your mailbox key, you must go through the post office to get a new one. If your mailbox is broken into, you need to file a police report, and notify the post master.
He does not emergently respond to repeated abuses of the property gratuitously. In other words, if he has shown you in the past how to appropriately use something in the unit and you keep abusing it and breaking it, we will start to charge you for his time to come out and fix it IF you call it in as an emergency. For example, if you repeatedly clog the toilet over and over again, he is going to try to teach you how to properly use the facilities and then if you continue to call him for clogged toilets, he is going to start charging you for his time. If you repeatedly clog up the sink or garbage disposal and call it in as an emergency that cannot wait until his next inspection, he is going to start charging you for his time. He will respond to the first couple of calls free of charge, but if you keep calling him over and over for something that you need to learn how to responsibly use or take care of, he is going to start charging you for his time.