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Choices for adults with autism and their families

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Area nonprofit receives $608,000 housing grant

NEWBURYPORT, MA – The Katydid Foundation Inc. has received a $608,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and Haverhill Bank to buy and upgrade a Haverhill house for adults on the autism spectrum and their live‐in caregivers. The upgraded home will provide housing for up to three residents as well as training and limited housing for low‐income staff members.

The six‐year‐old nonprofit Katydid Foundation fills a growing need in an expanding gap in public adult services at a time when state and federal resources are shrinking and autism‐spectrum cases have hit record highs. Two years ago, The Centers for Disease Control reported that one in 150 babies was diagnosed with the disorder. Today, that number has jumped to one in 91, according to a study published in the October issue of the American Academy of Pediatrics' journal Pediatrics. While services for disabled people under age 22 – including residential placements – are often mandated by state and federal law, adult services are not mandated.

“This grant means that local services for adults on the autism spectrum will be expanded,” said Anita L. Perkins, founder and president of the Katydid Foundation. “Not only will we be able to add residents to our Haverhill house, but we also will be able to increase our outreach to families struggling with finding ways to provide permanent, individualized housing options for their disabled loved ones.”

Each year the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) sets aside 10 percent of its net profit to provide grants and subsidized below‐market rate loans through its Affordable Housing Program (AHP). The money is used to create or preserve affordable housing and help pay construction, acquisition or rehabilitation costs. Member financial institutions work with developers to apply for AHP funding, awarded twice a year through a competitive scoring process.

In 2008 the FHLB allocated $22.2 million for grants or loans to support affordable housing. Since the program’s inception in 1990, the bank has committed more than $300 million to fund nearly 21,000 units of affordable housing in the region.

As an FHLB member, Haverhill Bank provides the permanent financing for the Katydid Foundation grant through the AHP‐subsidized advance.

The FHLB grant covers much of the foundation’s costs to upgrade its house. However, the nonprofit still needs more help.

“The Katydid Foundation depends on the generosity of the public through private and business donations as well as in‐kind services, Perkins said. “To complete this project, we are seeking sponsors willing to help with funding, contracting services, and/or building materials. All donations are tax‐exempt and much appreciated.”

The Katydid Foundation Inc. is a Newburyport‐based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2004 by Anita Perkins, the mother of a young woman with autism. The foundation offers an individualized housing option for adults with the neurological disorder as well as other services, including housing workshops for parents interested in options for their disabled loved ones.

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