In Washington, D.C, recently, disabled Americans have lobbied for more home and community-based services and affordable, accessible housing. Medicaid covers home and community-based services. For millions of Americans with disabilities, Medicaid is more than just a health insurance program. I have Cerebral Palsy, and Medicaid is a lifeline for me.
Because of Medicaid, I can live in my apartment rather than in a nursing home or other facility. Without Medicaid, I would lose my PCA services. Losing these services could mean having to live in a nursing home. Going into a nursing home would be heartbreaking to me. I would miss seeing family and friends. I wouldn’t get to go to the movies or out to eat if I lived in a nursing home. I wouldn’t get to attend college or have a job. Medicaid is a vital program that helps me live independently.
Earlier this month, I wrote a blog post about a disabled woman from Toronto who is pursuing assisted suicide after failing to find accessible housing. The story is heartbreaking to me as a disabled person. We should not live in a world where it is easier to be approved for assisted suicide than it is to find accessible, safe housing.
Canadians with disabilities shouldn’t feel compelled to end their lives with assisted suicide because of a lack of accessible housing. Accessible, affordable housing should be easy to find worldwide. It should not be difficult for those with disabilities to live safely and comfortably.
Unfortunately, accessible housing is also hard to come by in the United States. Apartment List conducted a study utilizing data from the American Community Survey and the American Housing Survey in February of 2020. Only 9% of households with a disability person live in an accessible home, according to the survey. Even though more than 15% of households in the United States include a physically disabled member, just 6% of homes are accessible.
I currently live in an apartment that is somewhat accessible. I had a ramp installed, and I can move around independently with my power wheelchair and walker. I use a bath transfer system to shower. I hope to have a roll-in shower installed by the end of the year.
Everyone who is disabled deserves to live their lives to the fullest. We shouldn’t have to worry about what Medicaid cuts could mean for us. Medicaid cuts shouldn’t mean that we could end up in a nursing home. Accessibility isn’t a luxury, and it certainly shouldn’t be hard to find accessible housing. It frustrates me that it is 2022, and disabled people still have to fight for fundamental rights such as housing and independent living.
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.