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Housing Project

Your Son or Daughter’s Housing Rights

Fair Housing Act

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 person’s expense that are necessary for that person to use the housing. When 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 service animal.

For more information on the Fair Housing Act and resources on housing rights, legal issues, and advocacy, visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services Housing Resource Toolbox. For additional fact sheets on tenants’ rights in Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Legal Services Coalition.

Housing and Civil Rights

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

Statutes, Laws, Rules, Licensing

Programs that are directly licensed under the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) 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 developmental 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.

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 Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver Provider Standards initiative to improve the dignity, health and independence of the people that are served. They were necessary in order for Minnesota to be federally compliant and provide consistent administration of licensing requirements.

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

245D Rules and Requirements

Chapter 245D of the Minnesota Statute provides the rules and requirements for Home and Community-Based services, the services that enable your son or daughter to live in the most integrated setting in the housing option of their choice. There have been major changes to the law and licensing which include changes to the assessment, eligibility and planning process, rate setting and housing services and supports. The changes were also needed to provide more consistent administration across all HCBS services in Minnesota.

Services provided fall under two basic categories:

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 training, treatment, habilitation, or rehabilitation. They include:

  • 24-hour emergency assistance, personal emergency response
  • Companions; excluding companion services provided under the Corporation for National and Community Services Senior Companion Program
  • Homemakers; 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 include 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 and habilitation
  • Prevocational
  • Structured day

Employment Services:

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

Important Rights and Resources

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Standards

Your daughter or son has important rights when he or she receives services from a licensed provider. The provider is responsible to adhere to all services standards including service and protection related rights. They are also responsible to give you a copy of these rights, and a copy of their grievance policy procedure.

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 rights to:

  • Have the personal, financial, service, health, and medical information kept private, and be advised of disclosure
  • Access their records and recorded information, 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 from the license holder in a clean and safe environment
  • Be treated with courtesy and respect, and receive respectful treatment of the person’s property
  • Have reasonable observance of cultural ethnic religious practices
  • 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 and appeal policies and procedures, including knowing how to contact persons responsible for addressing problems and to appeal
  • Know the name, telephone number, and the website, 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.

Other Important Rights and Resources

INFORMED CHOICE (2016 Minnesota Statutes 256B.77 Subdivision 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.”

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.

INDIVIDUAL ABUSE PREVENTION PLAN (IAPP)  (Minnesota Statute 245A.65, Subdivision 2)

The Individual Abuse Prevention Plan (IAPP) is a written document that identifies the areas of vulnerability for a consumer and what measures should be taken to minimize the risk of abuse of a vulnerable adult.


The Adult Protective Services unit is a consultant for the 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.


Regional Resource Specialists from the Minnesota Department of Human Services can assist the public and counties on technical and policy issues. Call (866) 267-7655 or (651) 431-4300 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.


The mission of PACER Center is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of all children and young adults, including those with disabilities and those who have been bullied. PACER provides individual assistance, workshops, publications, and other resources to help families make decisions about education and other services for their child or young adult with disabilities. For more information visit or call: (952) 838-9000, Toll free (800) 537-2237.


PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment provides relevant information and resources to parents, and transition-age youth, and professionals through a variety of services: a cutting-edge website that inspires, educates, and engages families around transition, technical assistance and training to professionals on best practices for engaging families, including those who are underserved, in-person and online workshops for parents on youth on topics such as assistive technology, postsecondary supports, and finding work in the community.


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 options during their son/daughter’s high school and transition age years, what supports and services exist, and what information and referral resources are available to meet their needs.

PACER’s Housing Project provides individual assistance through information and resource referral. 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.

For up-to-date phone and website contact information for the organizations mentioned in this book, visit PACER’s Housing Project page at

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 implications of decisions regarding housing options, services, and supports.

Ordering the Guidebook

To order the guidebook, call PACER (952-838-9000) for a printed copy, free to Minnesota parents.

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


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. Planning ahead will provide more options for ensuring your son or daughter has the chance to achieve his or her long-term vision. Limited funding availability of supports, services, and affordable housing will affect your options. It takes time to develop a person-centered plan and pull its components together to implement it. There are often 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 son or daughter to live in the housing option and community of his or her choice.