Project Description

NEXT for NEIGHBORS is a community living model that provides comprehensive, supportive services to adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. NEXT for NEIGHBORS is a program of Arc of Westchester, created by NEXT for AUTISM and Community Living Opportunities.

NEXT for NEIGHBORS is a pilot program which opened in 2019. To be eligible, the individual must be an adult with New York State residency who is pre-approved by New York State’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). For more information on eligibility, please see below.

At NEXT for AUTISM, we believe that young adults with autism, if well supported, can live semi-independently within their communities. To create NEXT for NEIGHBORS, we embarked on a multiyear process of research, design, and development. We originated the idea for the program, identified models that could be adapted for the autism population, and engaged agency partners. NEXT for AUTISM also led the legal, financial and state-regulatory process to form NEXT for NEIGHBORS, shaping the organizational structure, identifying the leadership, and charting the course for the program’s future.

Program Rationale

In the next decade, an estimated half-million children with autism will become adults. They will drop off what is frequently referred to as “the service cliff,” no longer entitled to the supports that they received from their school systems. During this critical transition to adulthood, young people with autism currently have limited options. They often live at home with aging parents or within group homes with limited access to day programs or recreational services. The majority remain isolated and receive few services that meet their growing needs.

Program Innovations

  • Individualized, Supported Living Services Clients of NEXT for NEIGHBORS will live in specialized home settings located within typical communities. Professional families live with them, guiding, mentoring, and nurturing them in their daily lives. These professionals are trained and certified annually to meet the practical and emotional needs of the people they serve.
  • Community Immersion NEXT for NEIGHBORS activities are individualized and designed to encourage learning through community immersion and integration. We will also work with service and community organizations such as JCCs, YMCAs and local colleges to facilitate opportunities for clients. Our belief is that people with autism should be a part of the larger community, not isolated as they often are.

Live w/ relatives or parents


Reported being disconnected, without jobs or training

The Arc
The Arc