A look at why affordable, accessible housing matters
The need for affordable housing is being felt across the country, and right here in Maine. As of May 2023, there were around 15,000 people on waitlists for housing vouchers in the state. For adults living with a disability, the ability to find not only affordable, but also accessible housing can feel nearly impossible.
The combination of lack of affordable and accessible housing drove our nonprofit to launch a significant effort to change the paradigm away from institutional settings to home and community based living options for adults with mobility impairments and physical disabilities.
As a response to our 2023 Q4 email newsletter, we received the following message from a member of the community. The statement provided below is a clear example of the importance of our mission to build accessible and affordable housing.
“I am a 62 year old, living by myself in low income housing in southern Maine. The problem is that it is not a unit that’s handicapped accessible. Due to neurological damage and mobility issues, I must use a mobility device to get around.
My apartment does not have enough space for me to navigate inside the unit. There is no room to turn around, instead I must walk backwards to get out of narrow spaces. Because the building and the unit are not designed with disabled people in mind, I require staff to come in and do things for me that I otherwise could do on my own. A few examples include; there is no walk-in shower, so I can only wash up. The washer and dryer sit on the floor so others must assist with laundry. I can not stand long enough to cook, and there is no place to sit. I really appreciate the help I get, because I know many people that could use help don’t get any. There are long wait lists and staff shortages everywhere. Likewise there are long wait lists for low income housing, especially handicapped accessible ones.
I am looking forward to one day having adequate housing that meets my needs.
I surely am looking forward with anticipation and hopes of being eligible and getting in on the innovative project you are working on.”