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:

  1. They can provide you with the services themselves through their own agency, or
  2. 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 is this different from my SSI payments that I get each month?

Your Social Security Income (SSI) that you receive each month comes from the Federal Government to assist you with your financial needs. This money is given directly to you.

The funding from the State of Colorado is to pay for the services that you would need in order to live as independently and healthy as possible, and for you to be able to have the best quality of life that you can. This money is not given to you. This money is given to the CCB and is then passed on to your support agency.


What does all this have to do with PAL? Is this how I pay my rent?

You might get funding to pay your rent in several different ways:

  • From Social Security – SSA or SSI or SSDI
  • From the wages you earn at your job.
  • From your family members or friends who might help you with your rent.


All PAL participants are strongly encouraged to have a job. By having a job, you will know that you are participating in and contributing to your community, earning your own way, able to pay your own bills, and truly living as independently as possible.


Your SSI payments might be enough to pay your rent, but what about all your bills and grocery costs? A job helps you pay for the extras that you might like to have, like the internet and cell phones.

From time to time, life happens, and extenuating circumstances may prevent you from paying your rent – like losing your job or becoming seriously ill. When this happens, family members might help you with your rent and needs until you can get back on your feet.


So, what is this Colorado State Funding for then?

All PAL participants are required to have at LEAST 1 hour per week of Supported Living Services (SLS). This is where the support agency comes in. Based upon your need, the agency will assign to you a Supported Living Consultant who will come to you, usually at your apartment, to help you with the things that you need help with. This is the “Service” that is being paid for by the State.


What kinds of things will they help me with?

You might need help with any of the following:

  • Menu planning
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Learning how to properly clean house
  • Learning how to properly do your laundry
  • Paying your bills
  • Job training
  • Learning to ride the RTD or setting up Access-A-Ride
  • They can take you clothes shopping, to social activities, to classes…etc. There are many, many things that the CCB could identify as your needs that they can apply your funding to.

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

1. Fill out an application for PAL.

 You can either call us and have one mailed, emailed or faxed to you, or you can click to download one here.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.

After you get the tour, we strongly encourage you and your potential roommate, and both sets of support people/parents, go out to lunch or dinner and have a chance to visit and get to know each other better. This is a good opportunity for you to find out what your similarities and differences are and determine if you think you and this other person are a good match as roommates.

We take every precaution that we can to match you up with someone who is similar in diagnosis, abilities, age, etc… But what looks good on paper is not always a good match in real life. So, this is a great time to ask all those questions of each other and get a good feel for if you think this arrangement will work out for you.

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

Why do I fill out the move-in checklist?

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that you return this piece of paper to us and keep a copy for yourself.  You fill out this checklist so that when you move out you are not charged to fix something that was broken or damaged before you moved in. For example, should there be a whole punched in the wall of your bedroom (which would never happen) and you choose to put your bed frame in front of it, as long as that hole was documented on the checklist, then you cannot be charged to fix it once you move out. But if the hole was not noted on the checklist, then you could be charged for the repair when you move out. And this charge will come out of your security deposit. This checklist protects you so be extra picky and extra careful when filling it out. You can even take pictures to document damage. This important piece of paper is the one thing that most tenants forget to return to us. It is in your best interest to make sure we get this form back. We generally give one reminder to turn it in, and that is it.


However, we do want to say here that we will never hand over a damaged unit to anyone. Our maintenance contractor is very attentive to the needs of all our units. Once a tenant moves out, the bedroom is cleaned and painted if needed, the carpet is cleaned if needed, the bedroom fixtures, blinds and outlets are cleaned and repaired if needed. Should both roommates move out and we have the opportunity to have a completely vacant unit, we tend to overhaul the unit, as having a completely vacant unit is very rare. We will replace the carpet if the wear and tear is extensive. If not, we have it professionally cleaned. The entire unit is professionally cleaned from top to bottom to include washing the walls, windows, blinds, fixtures, switch plates, bathrooms, kitchens, cupboards, appliances, baseboards, etc… Everything gets cleaned. Then our maintenance man will come in and paint the entire unit and make any needed repairs.  The door locks are all replaced if we have any questions about the security of the unit from the prior tenants.


In other words, you will never be given a unit that has a hole punched in the wall. But it is to your advantage to mark down any wear and tear so that you do not get charged for it upon vacating the unit. When you are done with this checklist, just send it in to us with your next rent payment.

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 is NOT allowed?

A word about inappropriate materials. While PAL takes every effort to allow our tenants to live as independently as possible and make choices for themselves, we have had to draw the line at inappropriate displays of materials with adult content. In the past, we have had tenants who favor this kind of material. While we will not interfere with the possession of such material, we will step in if the possession of this material gets out of hand. We will not allow the display of lude posters on the walls of the unit. This causes extreme levels of discomfort for the other tenant, their family members and support staff, and for our staff. Such collections are private and should be kept as such. We will not allow for large piles of adult magazines and videos to be kept in the common areas of the unit. Should you choose to have such materials, you will need to discretely keep them in your bedroom; you will not be allowed to subject them onto other people who have access to the unit. This is just plain rude and disrespectful.

Due to the nature of our program, we do have limitations and restrictions in our program, including but not limited to, the following:

  • No Smoking – No Tobacco Products, No electronic cigarettes, No cigars, etc.
  • No Marijuana/Cannabis/Pot – This is not allowed in our program in any form, including medicinal use!
  • No Pets – No pets are allowed in the program. You will need to visit them at your parent’s house.
  • No Weapons – We do not allow weapons of any type.
  • No drugs.
  • No subletting – You cannot rent your unit to a friend. All tenants must be approved by PAL and qualify for our program. If you have a friend with a DD whom you would like as a roommate, please have them contact us.
  • No girlfriends/boyfriends sleeping over on a regular basis. You need to respect your roommate’s privacy!
  • No violent acts, to include verbal and physical. No threatening of neighbors, friends, girl/boyfriends, roommates, their families, or care workers, and no threatening of PAL staff. This will result in the immediate eviction from your unit.
  • No Taunting or Bullying. You must respect your roommate. 
  • No Hoarding.
  • No lewd and inappropriate materials displayed in common areas.
  • No removing batteries from the smoke detectors, and no removing smoke detectors.

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.


Contact Us


PO BOX 98, Golden, CO 80402-0098