People with disabilities dot com

Finding accommodation

A house representing accommodation
Outside view of a house during the day with a double garage.

Finding accommodation can be difficult for people with disabilities. Governments have social housing but you have to be the poorest of the poor to qualify. I imagine it is the same with council housing. If you are reasonably well off you have to go private or into residential care. From my understanding there are other social housing options as that many serve as alternatives.

I have been told that private landlords don't like wheelchairs on the carpet or possible holes in the wall. Plus if they ask you to leave it could be a major problem due to there being limited options. The solution may be to get a longer term lease and offer to pay expenses. You could probably do this with a group of people to lessen expense. Either choose partners less likely to hit walls or get a contract saying they are responsible for the damage. I would suggest that you do the latter, or both.

If you are on a single income it could be difficult to buy a house and if you are on a benefit practically impossible. Even if you have a job it probably will not pay enough to get you on the property ladder. Therefore the standard dream of owning your own home is almost impossible for people that have a disability.

There are additional factors beyond costs. One is transport. If you live too far away from a main city centre or shopping mall and the public transport system is not great this could a problem. Another concern could be inadequate paths or the number of hills in your area if you have mobilty issues. If there are limited options you may have to put up with it.

Alternatively if you have the money providing accessible accommodation could be a worthwhile investment and a good service to the community. I know a parent that did this and it appeared to work well.

Since there are a shortage of people that provide accessible accommodation themselves governments and city councils should ensure that they have adequate social housing that meets modern universal design standards. They may want to be flexible on the income requirements if a person who is differently abled cannot find accessible housing otherwise.

Cities with bigger populations in western countries tend to be more accessible in my opinion. Sometimes moving to a bigger city is not desirable and you have to weigh up what's best for you.

Schools may also be a concern for families; some schools might be more accessible than others. For example I didn't go to my local high school because I felt another school was better equipped to deal with my requirements. However this also would mean people that have different abilities will be less likely to go to some schools and this could be bad for the community.

Similarly you might want to consider whether shops and entertainment are accessible the area that you are looking at. This could be a problem if you like going out regularly. If something is not accessible you may want to see if your local board can lobby on your behalf.

A quick fix for getting into places whether inside or outside your accommodation might be a portable ramp for wheelchairs.

Unfortunately people who have a mental illness are more likely to be homeless than people who don't. Cities should provide adequate funding to treat people that have mental illnesses in accommodation that is safe.

It's also possible that landlords may try to take advantage of people with learning difficulties. It could be best to have an advocate or someone in community law to assist people who might be in this situation.

The problem with renting is that you could be kicked out easily if you're not careful so you need to take this into consideration. If you are evicted and there is no other accessible accommodation then this could be a massive problem. Work out an emergency accommodation plan before this situation occurs if possible.

There are organizations that specialize in finding accommodation for that have different abilities. You may want to research whether such an organization exists in your area.

I am guessing only a few percent of total housing stock would be considered universal design. I think is worthwhile for disability groups to constantly lobby governments to build more houses with universal design also upgrade existing state houses. I think that lobbyists should mention that the houses would be better close to public transport depots such as bus stops and train/subway stations.

Finding accommodation is not easy and good solution can be difficult to achieve. To ensure minimal stress you may have to make your solution as long term as possible.

This page was originally published at 10/12/2016 21:29:00 UTC

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