The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development distributes millions of dollars to local officials. The purpose of the funding is to assist disabled people in obtaining housing in their communities.
This month, the agency said it would give $24.7 million to 98 local public housing authorities to offer permanent affordable housing to disabled people. The funding is estimated to benefit up to 2,210 households, according to federal officials.
The funds are provided through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 811 Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program. It is intended to assist non-elderly disabled adults who are transitioning from institutions or other segregated settings, as well as those who are at risk of institutionalization or homelessness.
According to federal housing officials, local public housing authorities are expected to collaborate with community partners such as centers for independent living, state protection and advocacy organizations, and Medicaid agencies to assist with the application and initial housing search.
The Housing Choice Voucher program is a type of government rent assistance. The funds cover a portion or all of the voucher holder’s rent. Each household will spend between 30% and 40% of its income on rent on average. Many voucher recipients have a disabled member in their home. According to Bankrate, 43% of households receiving a voucher last year had at least one disabled family member.
It can be challenging for disabled people to find affordable and accessible housing. Apartment List conducted a study in 2020 utilizing data from the American Community Survey and the American Housing Survey. Only 9% of households with a disabled family member, according to the survey, reside in an accessible home. Only 6% of homes in the United States are accessible, despite the fact that more than 15% of households include a physically disabled member.
The wait for housing is often years long. According to a CBPP analysis of HUD data, only two of the 50 largest housing agencies had average wait times of less than a year for families that made it off the waiting list; the longest had wait times of up to eight years. Families waiting for vouchers in the United States have been on waitlists for an average of more than 2.5 years.
Hopefully, by acknowledging how difficult it is to find accessible housing, we can all work together to reduce housing barriers for disabled people. All disabled people should have access to safe, affordable housing. Increased funding will allow more people to find housing. Housing is a fundamental part of life, and no one should struggle to find a place to live.
Acosta, Sonya, and Erik Gartland. “Families Wait Years for Housing Vouchers Due to Inadequate Funding.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 22 July 2021, https://www.cbpp.org/research/housing/families-wait-years-for-housing-vouchers-due-to-inadequate-funding.
Heasley, Shaun. “Housing Vouchers Earmarked for People with Disabilities.” Disability Scoop, Disability Scoop, 20 Jan. 2023, https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2023/01/20/housing-vouchers-earmarked-for-people-with-disabilities/30203/.
Miller, Maya. “What You Need to Know about How Section 8 Really Works.” ProPublica, Pro Publica Inc, 9 Jan. 2020, https://www.propublica.org/article/what-you-need-to-know-about-how-section-8-really-works.
Rivelli, Elizabeth. “Section 8 Housing Facts and Statistics.” Edited by Maggie Kempken, Bankrate, Bankrate, 6 Apr. 2022, https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/section-8-housing-statistics/.
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.