Addressing Unmet Housing Needs – Kuni Foundation Partners with Housing Oregon to Highlight IDD Housing Opportunities

A five-session conference track sponsored by the Kuni Foundation will explore the challenges and opportunities in addressing the unmet housing needs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Since publishing a study titled, “Housing Needs for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities” in 2020, the Kuni Foundation has been working to raise awareness of the hidden housing crisis facing people with IDD. Our efforts include providing advocacy toolkits for disability advocates, the housing sector and policymakers, and supporting state-based coalitions in Oregon and Washington.  A next step in our strategy is to raise awareness and build connections between affordable housing developers and service providers. In Oregon, we are proud to partner with Housing Oregon to make those connections at their annual conference.

Housing Oregon — a statewide association of 75 affordable housing and community development organizations, business and government agencies focused on expanding affordable housing — has approved a track of five sessions that will explore the challenges and opportunities in addressing the unmet housing needs for people with IDD at its annual industry conference.

We are excited to highlight experts to share their wisdom and experience advancing a variety of housing options for people with IDD. Sessions include:

Deepening Disparities: Stable Housing Needs for our Neurodiverse Neighbors

A 2020 data study commissioned by the Kuni Foundation uncovered the scale of unmet housing needs and the systemic barriers that perpetuate disparities for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). In 2022, Washington State released its own study on IDD housing, with a follow-up report in 2023. In the three years since the ECONorthwest study was released, indications are that housing stability for people with IDD continues to slide. In this session, you’ll hear a regional perspective from the authors of the studies and from local providers working with individuals and families about the experience of trying to secure independent, safe, and affordable housing for our neurodiverse neighbors.


  • Allison Stark, CEO, Albertina Kerr Centers
  • Jennifer Knapp, Executive Director, Community Vision
  • Madeline Baron, Project Manager, ECONorthwest
  • Darla Helt, Executive Director, PEACENW

Supported Living: Making Affordable Housing Work for Everyone

Effective and sustainable Supported Living models can be challenging to stitch together. People with IDD are eligible for an array of supportive services, but their service providers often don’t know how to connect with affordable housing developers. Further, because individuals living with IDD often don’t qualify for Permanent Supportive Housing subsidies, the lack of rental assistance set aside for this tenant group makes Supported Living opportunities even more challenging. This session will include a discussion of the opportunities and challenges of creating supported living opportunities for individuals living with IDD and provide examples of successful partnerships that promise to help bridge the gap between developers and providers.


  • Terri Silvis, CEO, Horizon Project
  • Trell Anderson, Executive Director, Northwest Housing Alternatives
  • Laura Noppenberger, Executive Director, Eastern Oregon Support Services Brokerage

Moderator: Margaret Van Vliet, Advisor to Kuni Foundation

Turning up the Volume: IDD Advocacy Wins and the Road Ahead

Coalitions in Oregon and Washington are working to ensure that the voices of the IDD community are heard and represented. The 2022 and 2023 legislative sessions in Washington resulted in numerous wins for the IDD community. In Oregon, coalition members are working to advocate inclusion in the numerous housing related bills in the 2023 legislative session.  Hear from leaders in the movement and how they prompted action in Olympia and Salem and worked to dispel myths about the IDD community through advocacy.


  • Stacy Dym, Executive Director, The Arc of Washington State
  • Sheng Fang, Department Social Health and Human Services, Developmental Disabilities, Washington
  • Shaw Seaman, Department Social Health and Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Washington
  • Nate Lichti, Managing Director, Housing Trust Fund, Washington State Department of Commerce
  • Terri Silvis, CEO, Horizon Project

Accessory Dwelling Units as a Path Toward Inclusive IDD Housing

A pilot program recently launched in Seattle will create six housing units for people with IDD through construction of accessory dwelling units. Community Vision in Portland have also added ADUs to the mix of housing options for people with IDD. Hear from experts in Oregon and Washington, who are successfully integrating accessory dwelling units into the portfolio of IDD housing options. Learn how public and private funding can boost the adoption of ADUs for the IDD community and what’s needed to continue to leverage this opportunity from a land use and zoning perspective.


  • Marc Cote, Executive Director, Parkview Services, Seattle
  • Jennifer Knapp, Executive Director, Community Vision

Incorporating the IDD Communities’ Unmet Needs into our Understanding of Fair Housing

A recap of the findings from a 2020 data study that documents the ways in which people with IDD are left out of housing policy conversations. This session will help participants understand the troubling history of institutionalization and the continued struggle for people with intellectual and development disabilities and highlight the continued struggle for independent housing faced by tens of thousands of Oregonians. It will also explore the implications for fair housing and housing needs planning under both state and federal regulations.


  • Jake Cornett, Executive Director, Disability Rights Oregon
  • Matt Serres, Legal Director, Fair Housing Council of Oregon
  • Jeffrey A. Williams, Director of Housing Services, Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living

Moderator: Margaret Van Vliet, Advisor to Kuni Foundation

In addition to the conference sessions, the foundation is also sponsoring The Kuni Foundation Award for Empowering Independence that will honor an individual, organization, project or program that has demonstrated exceptional innovation in the area of affordable housing for individuals with IDD. The recipient will be honored at the Industry Awards Night Gala on Sept. 27.

Registration for the conference is open now. Learn more about the conference and register at We hope you will join us.

We’d like to thank the conference planning team at Housing Oregon – Kevin, Cristina and Brian – for their commitment and vision for affordable housing that includes people with IDD. We are so grateful to our panelists who are generously sharing their time, expertise and passion for a future that ensures the dignity of housing choice for all.

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