Shared Living



The United Arc’s Shared Living program provides an alternative residential setting to the 24-hour group home. This model provides an opportunity for an individual who is receiving services through the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) to live with someone who wants to make an individual with intellectual disabilities part of their life and family.

Possible arrangements include:

  • Individual lives with the shared living provider in their owned home
  • Individual and shared living provider rent a space together
  • Shared living provider can move into the individual’s rented or owned home
  • Shared living support may not be provided by a legal guardian, parent, or a spouse for their ward or child.


Shared living is a long-term relationship, so the United Arc takes many steps to find the right match for a provider and an individual.

Screening includes:

  • A telephone conversation between the recruiter and the potential provider to discuss interest in the program and home/work life.
  • In-person interview(s) at the potential provider’s home to review:
  • Home environment and neighborhood
  • Values, life style, and family structure


Also required:

  • Application
  • Personal reference checks
  • CORI checks for everyone living at the home and respite providers
  • Training for certification in First Aid, CPR, Human Rights, Fire Safety, Basic Behavior Concepts/PBS, and Health and Wellness



The amount of the tax-free stipend is determined though an assessment performed jointly by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the United Arc and is based on the needs of the individual. The stipend paid to the home share provider includes all charges for care (room and board). Personal expenses are paid by the individual.


Shared Living is like adding a member to your family — like the adoption process. It is expected that the individual would join in social activities as appropriate and be included in the daily life and schedule of the family. Shared living care is tailored to the needs of the individual, but most individuals need help with the activities of daily life, including meal preparation, medication management, financial transactions, and transportation to appointments. They also will look to the shared living provider to be a source of social engagement and community. For some individuals, additional direct care may be required and provided. This will be determined by the United Arc and DDS prior to placement. If the individual is sick or another emergency arises, it is expected that the shared living provider will make appropriate arrangement for care coverage, just as you would with any other member of the family. That said, the same assessment process that determines the amount of the stipend will also determine the amount of respite coverage that will be available to the provider. Respite coverage ranges from two to five weeks per year.


Oversight of the shared living provider and individual is performed by DDS and its Office of Quality Enhancement (OQE). The United Arc performs monthly visits and files a report based on the individual’s health and well-being, safety, training needs, social engagement, financial transactions, and benefits. The OQE also does a survey on at least a bi-annual basis.

Some required items include:

  • Annual physical and dental examinations (with documentation)
  • All prescriptions administered in accordance with written order and documentation on a medication chart
  • Locks on the bedroom doors for the individual to use if desired
  • A safety plan


What is the Time Commitment of the Provider?

Every shared living situation is different and as a result the arrangement may last a couple of years to several decades. For some individuals shared living is an opportunity to gain skills and confidence prior to moving on to their own home. For other individuals shared living is their home and will be for the foreseeable future. A core principle of shared living is the development of long-term relationships. Provided the match is going well, the shared living commitment is measured in years not months.

What is Expected of the Provider in the Shared Living Role?

The overall role of a caregiver is to establish a safe home where the individual can be empowered. They advocate for the individual to experience opportunities for self-determination and independence. Encourage the individual to participate in the community and form relationships, support their goals and dreams, and they assist with daily routines and activities.


What is the Role of Families?  Expectations and What is Trying to be Achieved Between Provider and Natural Family

Family members play an important role in all phases of the placement process – selection of a caregiver, development of a transition plan and on- going support following placement. We want to create a partnership between family members and caregivers and not a “rivalry” while providing support that reflects the individual’s needs and preferences. It is important to establish clear and open lines of communication to facilitate that outcome. When a disagreement does occur, staff of the provider agency and the Department should play a role to help reach a resolution.


Do you think shared living might be right for you? Call us at 413.774.5558 or email