Community Resources

Trying to find more information or support? Explore this page to learn about the many local and national resources available to you. 

  • Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities website: Founded in 1993 at Rhode Island College as the University Affiliated Program of RI. The mission of the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities is to promote the community membership of individuals with disabilities in school, at work and in society. The Center provides support and information on self-directed supports (SDS). SDS allows you to have more choice and control over the services and supports you need to live a full life at home and in the community. 
  • Rhode Island Parent Information Network (RIPIN): Founded in 1991, the Rhode Island Parent Information Network (RIPIN) is a statewide, 501(c)(3), charitable, nonprofit organization with a collective programmatic reach that extends to every Rhode Island community, the state's major family-serving systems, schools, associations, and agencies. Our goal is to inform, support, and empower parents, families, individuals, and family-serving professionals who seek to become effective advocates for their families, children, themselves, and their communities. We serve more than 65,000 Rhode Islanders each year. 
  • Advocates in Action RI: Rhode Island's statewide self-advocacy organization for people with developmental disabilities.
  • The Autism Project: The Autism Project offers services and programs for children with ASD, developmental delays and disabilities, and social-emotional challenges, and their families and communities.  
  • Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI): The Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI) is the non-profit trade association of private providers of services and supports to people with developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities across Rhode Island. 
  • Down Syndrome of RI: A parent/family advocacy and support organization dedicated to promoting the rights, dignity and potential of all individuals with Down syndrome through advocacy, education, public awareness and support. The organization offers parents support and information, and advocacy in the service system and in the community. 
  • Rhode Island Chapter of People Supporting Employment First (RIAPSE): APSE is the only national organization focused exclusively on Employment First to facilitate the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace and community. The Rhode Island chapter was established in 2014. Priorities include Professional Development, Business Engagement, Policy, Member Engagement and Advocacy.  
  • RI Developmental Disabilities Council: A federally mandated and funded agency of state government in Rhode Island. One of the Council's missions is to promote ideas which will enhance the lives of people with developmental disabilities.                
  • Rhode Island Disability Law Center, Inc. (RIDLC): The federally funded, non-profit law office that is the designated Protection and Advocacy Agency for people with disabilities in Rhode Island. A recipient since 1977 of Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities funding, RIDLC now has additional funding sources that allow it to provide free legal assistance to individuals with disabilities on a variety of disability-related legal issues, including: access to employment, community services, vocational rehabilitation, Social Security work incentives, assistive technology, government services, and special education; fair housing; and ADA issues related to health care and education. RIDLC also uses its federal authority to investigate allegations of systemic abuse and neglect.
  • RI Disability Rights and Access Coalition: A group of organizations and community members advocating for the rights and community-inclusion of individuals with disabilities while ensuring policies that allow access to high quality supports, opportunities, and accommodations needed to live a fulfilled life.
  • The Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island, Inc.: A non-profit organization whose mission is: "To prevent brain injury and to enhance the lives of those affected by brain injury".

Housing Resources

Rhode Island is ranked #29 for affordability of housing in the country, so young adults considering where they will live must know their options. 

Think About What You Want and Need:

  • Do you want to live alone or with roommates?

  • Do you need to live close to work or community services?

  • Do you need to live on a bus line?

  • Do you prefer the city or the country? 

  • What are the top 5 communities where you would like to live?

Options to Make Your Housing More Affordable: 

Rental assistance can be a federal or state funded program that allows an individual to pay 30% of their income for rent.  The difference between the rent and the amount an individual can afford is subsidized to allow the landlord to receive 100% of the rent.  If a person’s income is $700/mo 30% of the income would be $210/month.  If the total rent is $800/mo, the landlord receives a subsidy of $590/mo.

  • Tenant-Based Vouchers:  The rental assistance is associated with the person and can travel with them, but must be accepted by the landlord.
  • Project-Based Vouchers:  Rental assistance associated with a specfic unit or set of units.  The rental assistance is attached to the unit and doesn’t travel with the person.  
  • Public Housing Units:  Housing owned and managed by a local housing authority with rental assistance attached to the unit.
  • Privately Owned Subsidized Housing: Housing owned and managed by a private property management company with rental assistance attached to the unit.
  • Shared Living Arrangements: a person with a disability and a person providing paid services live and share a life together in a private home.
  • Roommates: People choose to live together and pool resources to split the cost of rent.

For More Information:

The Sherlock Plan is a Medicaid Buy-In Program for adults with disabilities that provides comprehensive health coverage. The program is intended to help individuals with disabilities maintain or obtain health coverage and other services and supports that will enable them to maintain employment. There may be a monthly premium. If an individual is offered employer-based coverage that is cost-effective the individual may be required to enroll in that plan.

More information, including eligibility requirements, can be found at this EOHHS/DHS website.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE), which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2014, allows young people with disabilities and their families to save up to $18,000 in a tax-advantaged account for disability-related expenses annually, without impacting their ability to benefit from supplemental security income (SSI), Medicaid, and other federal programs.

Rhode Island's ABLE investment accounts are now open for enrollment. Individuals living with a disability and their family or guardians can register or learn more by visiting RI's ABLE website. Paper enrollment will be available at the end of February.

Other helpful resources to learn more about ABLE accounts include RI's ABLE presentation (PDF) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL) blog post

ABLE Quick Facts

The federal Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) of 2014 amends Section 529 of the IRS code to create tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities.

These tax-advantaged savings accounts can be used by individuals with disabilities and their families to save for many daily, disability-related expenses on a tax-deferred basis – without limiting their ability to benefit from supplemental security income (SSI), Medicaid, and other federal programs.

Eligible expenses include: Education; health and wellness; housing; transportation; legal fees; financial management; employment training and support; and assistive technology.

Rhode Island families can open an ABLE account with as little as $25.00. The total annual contributions, including those by friends and family, into an ABLE account is limited to $14,000 per tax year.

The Act, which was signed into law by Governor Raimondo in April 2016, allows Rhode Island to join a multi-state consortium, ensuring that families in the Ocean State can access low-cost and high-quality investment options when investing their money for disability-related expenses.

In implementing the program, Rhode Island worked with 11 other states. Following a competitive bidding process, Ascensus College Savings was selected to administer the program.

Ascensus College Savings was recently selected to administer Rhode Island's 529 college savings program, and subsequently opened an office in Warwick. Between CollegeBound and ABLE, Ascensus expects to bring up to 60 permanent jobs to Rhode Island.

In addition to the investment product, an FDIC insured banking and payment product will be made available in Spring 2017.

Included below is a listing of various websites for the federal government, national agencies and organizations across the country that have information and resources relating to developmental disabilities.

  • Americans with Disabilities (ADA): the United States Department of Justice home site for information, publications, resources and technical assistance on the federal legislation Americans with Disabilities Act. 
  • The Arc: The Arc of the United States advocates for the rights and full participation of all children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Together with a network of members and affiliated chapters, the Arc focuses on improving systems of supports and services; connecting families; inspiring communities and influencing public policy. 
  • Autism Resource Center: This comprehensive Resource Center was created through a grant from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's Campaign for America's Kids (CFAK). 
  • Autism Society of America: was founded in 1965. Over the last 40 years, the Society has grown from a handful of parents, into the leading source of information, research, and reference on autism. ASA is the oldest and largest grassroots organization within the autism community. Today, more than 120,000 members and supporters are connected through a working network of nearly 200 chapters nationwide. 
  • Best Buddies Rhode Island: The mission of Best Buddies is to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): is one of the 13 major operating components of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is the principal agency in the United States government for protecting the health and safety of all Americans and for providing essential human services, especially for those people who are least able to help themselves. 
  • Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS): This is the federal agency of the US government that provides funding for Home and Community Based Waiver (HCBW) Services for adults with developmental disabilities. The website includes topics of interest relating to Medicaid and Medicare.
  • Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL): is a national organization that has been at the forefront of the movement to improve the quality of services and supports for people with intellectual disabilities and people with mental illness. The Council began with the fundamental belief that everyone has a right to a life of dignity, opportunity and community inclusion. The journey continues today with the daily work of establishing real connections between disabilities theory and practice. 
  • Disability Rights Laws: US Department of Justice overview of Federal civil rights laws that ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities. 
  • Disability Travel and Recreation Resources: a website offering assistance for persons with disabilities to locate accessible travel information including planning, companions, destinations, transportation, etc.
  • Human Services Research Institute (HSRI): is an organization established in 1976 to assist states and the federal government to enhance services and supports to people with mental illness and people with mental retardation, and to support the development of alternatives to congregate care facilities. Today the Institute's mission continues to focus on improving the lives of people with disabilities. Through the National Core Indicators (NCI) project, staff are exploring the application of national performance standards. As a center for technical assistance in family support, the Institute is assisting in the dissemination of best practices. As a continuing technical assistance center for evaluation of system's change in mental health, the Institute is leading the way in the application of practical strategies to assess and improve services and supports to persons with mental illness. 
  • Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI): is an organization in Massachusetts that offers training, clinical, and employment services, conducts research, and provides assistance to organizations to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in school, work, and community activities. 
  • National Association of Direct Support Professionals (NASDSP): is a coalition of organizations and individuals committed to strengthening the quality of human service support by strengthening the direct support workforce. The group has representatives from the fields of mental health, developmental disabilities, child welfare, education, and many others in the human services community. 
  • National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS): is a nonprofit organization, established in 1964, to improve and expand public services to people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. The Association's goal is to promote and assist state agencies in developing effective, efficient service delivery systems that furnish high-quality supports to people with developmental disabilities. 
  • National Center for Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR): The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) operates the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR) through funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The NCDDR scope of work responds directly to NIDRR's concern for increasing the effective use of NIDRR-sponsored research results in shaping new technologies, improving service delivery, and expanding decision-making options for people with disabilities and their families.
  • National Center on Workforce Disability/Adult: provides training, technical assistance, policy analysis, and information to improve access for all in the workforce development system. The website includes information on states' implementation of One-Stop Career Centers to provide seamless and quality employment services for people with significant disabilities. 
  • National Core Indicators (NCI): is a project of collaboration among participating National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) member state agencies and the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI), with the goal of developing a systematic approach to performance and outcome measurement. Through the collaboration, participating states pool their resources and knowledge to create performance monitoring systems, identify common performance indicators, work out comparable data collection strategies, and share results. The website includes information on reports and outcome data collected by various participating states. 
  • National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS): is a national organization that envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to realize their life aspirations. NDSS is committed to being the national leader in enhancing the quality of life, and realizing the potential of all people with Down syndrome. The website provides information to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through national leadership in education, research and advocacy 
  • People First: websites for various People First organizations and other Self Advocacy links in the United States and other countries. 
  • Quality Mall: is a resource website where you can find lots of free information about person-centered supports for people with developmental disabilities. Each of the Mall stores has departments you can look through to learn about positive practices that help people with developmental disabilities live, work and participate in our communities and improve the quality of their supports. 
  • Research and Training Center on Community Living: provides research, evaluation, training, technical assistance and dissemination to support the aspirations of persons with developmental disabilities to live full, productive and integrated lives in their communities. 
  • The Riot!: is a national E-Newsletter published quarterly for "self-advocates" developed by the Self-Advocate Leadership Network at Human Services Research Institute. A self-advocate is somebody who has a disability and speaks up for themselves. Are you a self-advocate? If you are, then The Riot! is for YOU! Other people, like parents, staff and policy makers will also enjoy it too. But these pages are written mostly for our main audience- self-advocates! 
  • Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE): is an organization for people with disabilities that ensures that people are treated as equals and that they are given the same decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up to empower themselves; opportunities to make new friends; and to learn from their mistakes. 
  • Self Advocate Leadership Network: is an organization established in 1998, that is a collaboration between self-advocates from across the country and the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI). We offer training directly to self-advocates and others - including family members, direct support staff and board members. E-newsletter for self-advocates, The Riot, is also available. 
  • Social Security: The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. 
  • Special Olympics Rhode Island: Special Olympics RI is a dynamic program, providing more than 1,600 year-round sports training and athletic competition opportunities children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Each year, Special Olympics Rhode Island hosts over 40 statewide tournaments and competitions in many different types of official and demonstration sports. 
  • United Cerebral Palsy (UCP): is the leading source of information on cerebral palsy and is a pivotal advocate for the rights of persons with any disability. As one of the largest health charities in America, the UCP mission is to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities through an affiliate network.