While reading a blog post from Justin Smith the other day, I was reminded of just how hard it is to find truly accessible housing. In February of last year, Apartment List conducted a study using data from the American Community Survey and the American Housing Survey. The study found that only 9% of households with a disabled member live in an accessible home. Only 6% of homes in the United States are accessible, even though more than 15% of households include a physically disabled member.
Changing residences is fundamentally the same for everyone; you research, you evaluate, you choose, you pack, and you move. Most people don’t need to think about their movements in great depth. The majority of people do not have to deal with the requirement for accessible homes. The phrase “accessible” is widely used in today’s society. However, finding tangible representations of homes appropriate for a person with my disabilities is a challenge.
I moved out of my parent’s house in August of last year. I live in a very rural community where options for housing, in general, are limited and expensive. Through an old acquaintance of mine, I was able to find a first-floor apartment. While it is not 100% accessible, it works for right now. I was able to have a ramp installed, and I use a bath transfer system to shower. I can get around freely in my power wheelchair and walker, and I don’t have carpets which makes it easier to move around. In the future, I’d like to remodel the bathroom so I can have a roll-in shower, but the apartment works for now.
Being able to live in my apartment makes me very proud. I feel like I am in the minority of disabled people who can find at least somewhat accessible housing. Hopefully, by recognizing how hard it is to find accessible housing, we can all work together to minimize housing barriers for people with disabilities.
Warnock, Rob. “How Accessible Is the Housing Market?” Apartment List , Apartment List, 19 February, 2020, http://www.apartmentlist.com/research/how-accessible-is-the-housing-market.