The high price of housing

Longtime readers of Access Press and I have been messaging back and forth about housing. The conversations really resonate with […]

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Longtime readers of Access Press and I have been messaging back and forth about housing. The conversations really resonate with me and my situation as I am in the midst of a move to a different apartment, for the second time in five years.

My move is not easy because of my disabilities and my work and personal schedules. This move came up earlier than planned and that’s been another challenge. I have been fortunate to have good helpers and am able to pay to have the heaviest work done. (You age out of the “let’s have pizza and beer and move my stuff” work/party stage at some point.)

But I consider myself very fortunate. My disabilities are not consistently severe enough to prevent me from living in the community. I have good days and bad days with mobility but I still can handle some steps most days. I found a place near friends who can help as needed. I can even move some boxes and bins on good days.
And that is certainly not the case for everyone.

Our disability-focused housing issues are such a huge mix. That’s even seen at the capitol as legislators mull a wide array of bills tied to housing and disability. We’ll have a commentary about one of the bills in the May issue.

There’s so much in the mix – cities engaging in discrimination against group homes, people forced into housing they don’t want due to staffing shortages, the crying need for deeply affordable and accessible housing, living in places with lack of supports – the list goes on go and on.

In a state considered progressive, some situations are utterly shameful.

In trying to protect privacy here, my comments have to be pretty general. But so many exchanges I have had with friends are painful and sad.

Friends have dealt with being forced out of independent or assisted living and into group homes and nursing homes due to lack of staffing. One friend was homeless for a time. Living with disabilities in one thing. Try doing it in a crowded shelter or even a tent city.

People all too often get moved back and forth in different living situations, forced to pare down the few cherished possessions they have tried so hard to hang onto.

All too often people with disabilities end up with housing that is “better than nothing.” But it lacks staffing. It lacks privacy. It lacks supports. It lacks needed human contact.

Friends who have found housing find themselves sometimes dealing with isolation and loneliness. One friend compared herself to her father, when he was the age she is now. He had a life rich with friends and hobbies. She is lonely and coping with isolation and mental health concerns.

We have to do better.

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