Affordable independent living is the ideal, but often out of reach

Posted by Pam Blanton on March 20, 2010

By Julia Edwards After the unveiling of a 500 page national report on housing opportunities for Americans with disabilities, Harvey Raben stood, leaning on a walker to fight the effects of Multiple Sclerosis, and asked a pointed question.

“The heart of the housing question for disabled people is: Will there be more vouchers open so more people can get into decent housing?”

Lynn Grosso, of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, answered: “The need far outweighs the availability.”

HUD is due to announce funding for additional vouchers next month, which would allow 4,000 non-elderly people with disabilities nationwide to rent in the private market. But according to the panel from the National Council on Disability, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Access Living, the relief may be too little too late.

Raben, who has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for 35 years, said his life changed when he acquired a voucher six years ago after a six-year wait.  He now lives in an accessible high-rise apartment on Sheridan Road where his children can visit him. He has more money left after rent to spend on food, transportation and other facets of his newly independent life.   READ MORE

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