People with disabilities, just like everyone else, deserve to live with dignity in a home of their choosing that is safe, accessible, and affordable. However, our country has long ignored people with disabilities, especially when it comes to housing. People with disabilities have historically been forced to live in institutional settings and continue to face discrimination and a severe lack of choice in where they live due to the shortage of accessible and affordable homes in communities across the country.
Many people with disabilities live on low and fixed incomes that are quickly eaten up by housing costs, leaving little left for other necessities like food and medical care. Federal housing assistance and home and community-based services continue to be underfunded. Even if a person with a disability is lucky enough to receive limited housing assistance, the difficulty in finding a safe, accessible home close to necessities such as healthcare, services, or accessible transportation remains.
Additionally, the lowest-income households, including people with disabilities, are among the hardest hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover. Federal, state, and local governments often have failed to consider and meet the needs of people with disabilities during and after natural disasters, including during the coronavirus pandemic when many individuals with disabilities faced dangers living in congregate care facilities.
This issue of Tenant Talk focuses on the housing obstacles faced by people with disabilities and paths forward. Progress has been made after decades of work by disability and housing activists, but there is still so much more to do. Making homes and communities accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities benefits everyone, and we can and must do better for the over 40 million people in the U.S. living with disabilities. NLIHC is dedicated to advancing solutions to ensure that every person has access to - and the opportunity to choose to live in - safe, accessible, and affordable homes. We hope you will join us in this fight!