Skip to main content

PACER Center

Champions for Children with Disabilities

Learn more >>>

Book: Housing - Where Will Our Children Live When They Grow Up?



The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination based on disability, race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, and familial status. The Fair Housing Act covers additional protections for those with disabilities. If people:

  • Have a physical or mental disability (including hearing, mobility and visual impairments, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex, or an intellectual disability) that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Have a record of such a disability, or
  • Are regarded as having such a disability

The landlord may not:

  • Refuse to let them make reasonable modifications to the dwelling or common use areas, at the expense of the person with the disability, if it is necessary for that person to use the housing. (Where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if the person with a disability agrees to restore the property to its original condition when he or she moves.)
  • Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, if necessary, for the person with disabilities to use the housing. For example, a building with a no-pets policy must allow a visually-impaired tenant to keep a guide dog.

For more information on the Fair Housing Act video’s (English, Spanish, Somali, Hmong) and resources on housing rights, legal issues, and advocacy, visit Housing Link. For additional fact sheets on tenants’ rights in Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition.


Minnesota Statute 256B.77 Coordinated Service Delivery System for the Disabled

The Minnesota Department of Human Services Disability Services Division is governed by many different laws and rules. To make services possible, DHS receives funding from federal agencies. County agencies and other providers also receive federal funds. They must follow federal civil rights requirements. Some of these requirements include an equal opportunity policy and a procedure for handling complaints. As recipients of federal funds, they must treat all applicants and clients fairly.


Programs that are directly licensed under the Department of Human Services must follow enforced state standards that have been adopted to protect the health, safety, rights, and well-being of children and vulnerable adults. Programs serving people with disabilities are required to be licensed under Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 245A and the new Chapter 245D. 245D is the umbrella standard for many of Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers.

In order for Minnesota to come into compliance and provide more consistent administration to licensing requirements, new licensing standards were passed by the 2013 Minnesota Legislature under the new 245D and became effective January 1, 2014. The change is part of a larger HCBS Waiver Provider Standards initiative to improve the dignity, health and independence of the people that are served.

Although the regulations governing the different types of programs vary, the duties of the licensors are similar. Responsibilities of the Department of Human Services include: inspecting new and existing programs, monitoring compliance, providing technical assistance, conducting investigations of reported alleged licensing violations, issuing correction orders if appropriate.

For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services DHS Licensed Programs page.

Home and Community Based Services requiring a 245D license are:

Basic support services include services that provide the level of assistance, supervision, and care that is necessary to ensure the health and safety of the person and do not include services that are specifically directed toward the training, treatment, habilitation, or rehabilitation of the person. They include:

  • 24-hour emergency assistance, personal emergency response
  • Companion; excluding companion services provided under the Corporation for National and Community Services Senior Companion Program
  • Homemaker; excluding providers licensed by the Department of Health under chapter 144A and those providers providing cleaning services only.
  • Night supervision
  • Personal support
  • Respite

Intensive support services include services that provide assistance, supervision, and care that is necessary to ensure the health and safety of the person and services specifically directed toward the training, habilitation, or rehabilitation of the person. Intensive support services include:

  • Behavioral Support
  • Specialist Services
  • Crisis Respite

In-home support services includes residential-based habilitation, including:

  • In-home family support
  • Supported living services for adults in their own home
  • Independent living skills training
  • Semi-independent living skills

Residential Supports & Services

  • Supported Living Services SLS
  • Foster Care Services in a licensed facility
  • Residential Services

Day Services

  • Day training & Habilitation
  • Prevocational
  • Structured day

Employment Services

  • Supported Employment (DD waiver and non-DD waiver)

Some of the services not covered by 245D are:

  • Adult day care
  • Assistive technology
  • Case management
  • Consumer directed community supports
  • Environmental accessibility adaptations
  • Extended home care services
  • Extended home health aide
  • Extended personal assistant
  • Extended private duty nursing
  • Housing access coordination
  • Personal emergency response
  • Residential care
  • Specialized supplies and equipment
  • Transportation
  • Transitional services

*the complete list can be found on the DHS 245D licensing page

Chapter 245D Home and Community-Based Services Standards:

Service and Protection Related Rights:

A person's service-related rights include the right to:

  • Participate in the development and evaluation of their services
  • Have services and supports identified in their plan provided in a manner that respects and takes into consideration the person's identified needs, interests, preferences
  • Refuse or terminate services and be informed of the consequences
  • Know, in advance, limits to the services available from the license holder, including their knowledge, skill, and ability to meet the person's service and support needs
  • Know conditions and terms of the license holder's admission criteria and policies and procedures related to temporary service suspension and service termination
  • A coordinated transfer to ensure continuity of care when there will be a change in the provider
  • Know what the charges are for services, regardless of who will be paying for the services, and be notified of changes in those charges
  • Receive services from an individual who is competent and trained, who has professional certification or licensure, as required, and who meets additional qualifications identified in the person's support plan

A person's protection-related rights include the right to:

  • Have personal, financial, service, health, and medical information kept private, and be advised of disclosure
  • Access records and recorded information about the person in accordance with applicable state and federal law, regulation, or rule
  • Be free from maltreatment
  • Be free from restraint, time out, seclusion, restrictive intervention, or other prohibited procedure
  • Receive services in a clean and safe environment from the license holder
  • Be treated with courtesy and respect and receive respectful treatment of the person's property
  • Reasonable observance of cultural and ethnic practice and religion
  • Be free from bias and harassment regarding race, gender, age, disability, spirituality, and sexual orientation
  • Be informed of and use the license holder's grievance policy and procedures, including knowing how to contact persons responsible for addressing problems and to appeal
  • Know the name, telephone number, and the Web site, e-mail, and street addresses of protection and advocacy services, including the appropriate state-appointed ombudsman, and a brief description of how to file a complaint with these offices
  • Assert these rights personally, or have them asserted by the person's family, authorized representative, or legal representative, without retaliation
  • Give or withhold written informed consent to participate in any research or experimental treatment
  • Associate with other persons of the person's choice, personal privacy and engage in chosen activities

Restriction of a person's rights is allowed only if determined necessary to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of the person. Any restriction of those rights must be documented in the person's coordinated service and support plan or coordinated service and support plan addendum. The restriction must be implemented in the least restrictive alternative manner necessary to protect the person and provide support to reduce or eliminate the need for the restriction in the most integrated setting and inclusive manner.

What is Informed Choice? (Minnesota Statute 2014 256B.77, Subd.2(o)
"Informed choice" means a voluntary decision made by the enrollee or the enrollee's legal representative, after becoming familiar with the alternatives, and having been provided sufficient relevant written and oral information at an appropriate comprehension level and in a manner consistent with the enrollee's or the enrollee's legal representative's primary mode of communication.

Adult Protective Services Vulnerable Adults Act (Minnesota Statute Section 626.557 and 626.5572)
The Adult Protective Services unit is a consultant for Minnesota’s Vulnerable Adult Act. In addition to educating the public about maltreatment of vulnerable adults, Adult Protective Services consults with local agencies, including counties and law enforcement agencies. For more information, contact the Adult Protection state office at (651) 431-2609 or (800) 882-6262 or email


The Children’s Mental Health Division administers policy and practice to ensure effective and accessible mental health services and supports for children and families in Minnesota. The division works together with many public and private partners across the state so that children and youth with mental health needs can develop and function as fully as possible in all areas of their lives.

In the state of Minnesota, all children diagnosed with a severe emotional disturbance (SED) are eligible for mental health services under the Minnesota Comprehensive Children’s Mental Health Act. All counties must follow the criteria outlined in the MCCMHA to determine if a child qualifies for services and children’s mental health case management.

Find more information on Children’s Mental Health county/state responsibilities, services, supports through MN Statutes Laws and Rules.


The Adult Mental Health Division works with partners and providers to ensure that programs and services are available throughout Minnesota. People may need assistance in a variety of areas, such as employment, housing, social connections, family relations and other co-occurring conditions. The Minnesota Comprehensive Adult Mental Health Act establishes basic standards for adult mental health services in Minnesota. It is primarily directed at counties, which are designated as local mental health authorities to create and ensure a unified, accountable, comprehensive adult mental health service system.

Find more information on Adult Mental Health county/state responsibilities, services, supports through MN Statutes Laws and Rules.


What is the Patient’s Bill of Rights? (Minnesota Statute 144.651)
A summary of the Patient’s and Residents of Health Care Facilities Bill of Rights covers all patients or residents in Minnesota health care facilities.

Office of Health Facility Complaints
The Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC) investigates reports and relating to quality of life and quality of care at health care facilities/agencies including regarding physical or mental abuse, neglect, unexplained injury and resident rights concerns in the following MN licensed facilities:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Boarding care homes
  • Supervised living facilities
  • Assisted living and home health agencies

Regional Resource Specialists
Regional Resource Specialists from the Minnesota Department of Human Services can assist the public and counties on technical and policy issues. Call (800) 747-5484 or (651) 431-2400 to locate the specialist for your area or check the Regional Resource Map.

An ombudsman is a consumer advocate, paid by the state, who can be called if there are issues concerning the health, safety, welfare, and rights of individuals receiving health care and supportive services at home, in hospitals, nursing homes, and other community settings such as housing with services (assisted living), adult foster care, and adult day centers. For more information, call (651) 757-1800 or (800) 657-3506.

PACER Center
The mission of PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents. With assistance to individual families, workshops, materials for parents and professionals, and leadership in securing a free and appropriate public education for all children, PACER’s work affects and encourages families in Minnesota and across the nation. PACER’s Housing Project provides resources to help parents of children and young adults with disabilities understand their options for independent living and housing.


This guidebook was written to help you begin to explore housing options for your son or daughter. It is beneficial to know about the wide array of possibilities. Plan early so that your options don’t become limited and affect your long-term vision. Plan ahead. Limited funding availability of supports, services, and affordable housing will affect your options. Once you focus, it takes time to pull all the components of your plan together to implement it. Most likely, there will be bumps in the road, and your plan will need to be flexible. With your commitment and careful planning, you can help pave the way for your child to live in the housing option and community of his or her choice.


Phone: (952) 838-9000, Toll-free for Minnesota parents: (800) 537-2237

The goal of PACER’s Housing Project is to develop information and resources to help parents of children and young adults with disabilities understand their options for independent living and housing. Parents are encouraged to begin thinking about these issues when their children are as young as 14 years old. This project helps parents understand why it is important to consider housing during the transition years, what housing options are available for their child, what supports and services exist, and what information and referral resources are available to meet their needs.

PACER’s Housing Project provides individual assistance by phone or in person. It also offers workshops on housing options, services, and supports; a housing guidebook; and a website that includes links to national and state housing resources for individuals with disabilities and their parents.

Editor’s note: The listings of organizations on are not inclusive of all organizations that provide housing and support services nor are they endorsed by PACER Center. As with any services for children and young adults with disabilities, families and professionals should understand the implication of decisions regarding housing options, services, and supports.



Visit PACER's other sites: Teens Against Bullying | Kids Against Bullying | FAST Family Support | FAPE | MN SEACs

Translated content: Hmoob/Hmong | Español | Soomaaliga/Somali

    ©2017 PACER Center, Inc.