Working at Disability Network/Lakeshore means helping people with disabilities find the answers they need to remain independent in the community. That’s kind of a mouthful, but basically it’s just saying we want to connect people to the resources they need to stay at home rather than go into a nursing care facility.
One of the programs I work in is called NFT: Nursing Facility Transition.
In the NFT Program, we work to help residents who are already in a nursing facility but could live in the community except for various barriers that keep them from going home. One of the main barriers we deal with is housing…specifically, low income housing.
Yes, you might say, but aren’t there already apartments available for people who have a low income?
The answer is yes, there are…but not nearly enough, and, not nearly inexpensive enough. You see, many people with disabilities are unable to work. They, after a long, exhausting fight, manage to get disability income or supplemental security income, and that does help. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
If you manage to qualify for supplemental security income (SSI), then you’ll get approximately $740/month to live on. That’s for everything too: housing, telephone, groceries, transportation, etc. Low income is a necessity in this instance, but keep in mind that you may sit on a waiting list for months or years waiting for an apartment to become available. And in the meantime, what do you do?
There are some places out there that are inexpensive enough. It takes a while to find them, but even then, they may not have the features needed by someone with a disability.
What we need are more inexpensive apartments that are accessible to people with disabilities, and that allow the people living in them to have enough money to purchase groceries and pay their other expenses.
I’m not sure what the answer to the problem is going to be. Maybe more small economy apartments. Maybe more apartments that are Government subsidized. Maybe there are other possibilities that I don’t know about.
What do you think? What’s the answer to the need for increased housing for people with disabilities? There has to be an answer out there somewhere.
- Chris Wistrom, email@example.com