Rumi helps people with disabilities find compatible roommates

A good match is a good life. That’s the idea behind Rumi, a technology-based group helping the disabled find roommates. The match can be another person living with a disability or a live-in caretaker, and it works similar to a matchmaking site.

"It’s been really fun to watch Yani get to know Greg and Greg get to know Yani in more of a roommate-friendship way than we typically see," said Blake Elliot with Rumi. "It offers them control. They’re able to control and look for somebody that they want to live with in a location that they want to live with and get services that they want."

The new model moves away from the traditional large group home or four-person home into the most independent way of living possible. Whether it’s two people who are disabled or a caretaker situation, there is an "experience manager" that is available to help.

"They have certain caseloads that make sure that things are going smoothly - that they’re going well, that the person with the disability is happy, getting their needs met, in an environment that is safe and healthy, and that the supportive roommate is happy.

The organization also says there is a real opportunity for live-in caretakers. Rumi is trying to reach those already in the business who want to continue to do the work they love but also increase their income.

"What we’re doing with Rumi is fundamentally flipping the economics. We’re paying individuals that want to be those supportive roommates instead of $13.50 an hour, about $22,000 a year; we’re going to pay them double. We’re gonna pay them about $50,000 a year. There’s an IRS law that allows for that $50,000 to be tax-free so it’s really like making about $64,000," Blake Elliot said. 

Elliott says caring for the disabled is a Medicaid service that can often cost $100,000 for a person living in a group home, but if that person can move out into a customized roommate situation, it can reduce that sometimes to about $60,000.  

"If you’re interested and you have a heart for this field, I would definitely recommend Rumi."

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