by Ed Carter
PHOTO: Courtesy of Pixabay.com.
Fewer than 5 percent of all homes in the United States are accessible to individuals with disabilities; less than 1 percent are wheelchair accessible; and just one-third are capable of being modified to accommodate a disabled owner. That’s according to no less an authority than the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
It’s a distressing situation for disabled homeowners, because it means that many have to settle for properties that aren’t suitable for them from the standpoint of safety. Depending on the size of the market, that could mean having to try to modify a home that doesn’t meet the minimum standard of disabled accessibility: a stairless entry, and a bathroom and bedroom on the first floor.
That’s a sobering situation for a disabled person entering the housing market. So, where can you turn for help, and what resources are available to a handicapped individual? In most cases, your real estate agent is your best asset, even though many lack experience working with disabled buyers. Consequently, there’s a knowledge gap among realtors when it comes to knowing where and how to look for suitable housing.
Nevertheless, your agent will know the area well and have familiarity with what’s available, valuable knowledge for someone needing to find a property that can be adapted to their needs (such as a single-story house, a home with widened hallways, and specific safety features). With many disabled individuals having to modify houses, it’s important to know where to look for alternate sources of funding, such as through the VA, Red Cross, Americorps, the US Office of Housing, and HUD.
Real estate search engines are generally fairly limited in terms of search options. Terms like “handicapped accessible” and “universal design” may yield some results, but there are few other filters available that can produce the kind of results you need. General real estate search engines may prove disappointing, but there are a couple of national websites that are worth keeping an eye on as you work through your search.
Fortunately, it’s not all bad news for disabled homebuyers looking for online assistance. Barrier Free Home is virtually unique in its focus on barrier-free, wheelchair-accessible, universally-designed, ADA-compliant homes and apartments. Theirs is the most extensive database catering to disabled homebuyers. Barrier Free Home’s property entries contain an exhaustive amount of information, including number of bedrooms and baths, as well as handicapped-specific features, like roll-in shower or tub, roll-under sink, level entry and whether the property is VA approved.
Easy Living Homes falls into much the same category. It’s America’s first voluntary program encouraging the inclusion of features that make a property more accessible and efficient. An exhaustive list of features includes the type of lighting available, the kinds of material used in construction, and disability-accessible features. AMS Vans is a useful online resource for wheelchair-bound individuals seeking accessible housing.
HUD lists an online inventory of housing for elderly and disabled persons seeking multi-family homes. HUD’s subsidized apartment search offers disabled persons a robust listing of qualified units with information concerning suitability and accessibility for individuals with mobility restrictions and other special needs. A state-by-state search function provides an extensive listing of units in your area with physical features, contact information and whether each unit is specific to the needs of the disabled or elderly.
Finding a property that’s accessible to disabled buyers isn’t as easy as it is for people conducting searches on standard real estate websites. It takes some patience, flexibility, and knowing where to look. In the long run, your own persistence and the assistance of your real estate agent are your most valuable assets. As you search, bear in mind that some properties can be modified to meet your needs, which may help widen the parameters of your search.
SOURCE: news release
“A homeless man for over 30 years, who lives inside his car, repairs a bicycle on Sept. 23, 2015 in Hollywood.” – Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
“In some parts of the country, like Central Florida, senior citizens make up about 10 percent of the homeless population.”
“The population of sheltered homeless seniors, age 62 and older, in the U.S. population rose from 2.9 percent to 4.7 percent from 2007 to 2016. That’s according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. In some parts of the country, like Central Florida, senior citizens make up about 10 percent of the homeless population. And because there’s an affordable housing crunch, some homeless seniors are now living out of their cars.”
“A project for former service members could become a model for other cities in the United States.”
“In a community of tiny houses in Kansas City, Mo., Air Force veteran Leo Morris now calls #3 his own. (Christopher Smith/For The Washington Post)”
“KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The 13 tiny houses sit in neat rows on the small plot of land in south Kansas City. There’s a comforting uniformity to the group, each structure a simple A-frame or slant roof, painted a rich hue: deep blue or dark maroon, slate gray or mustard yellow. An American flag flies outside most of the homes.
The lives inside also match. The men and women here have all served their country in uniform. And every one of them was homeless before arriving this year and being given their own address and key.
“’We build communities — communities that are the beginning of a journey for those who said yes to this country and need someone to say yes back to them,’ said Brandonn Mixon, an entrepreneur who helped to found the Veterans Community Project out of frustration with the usual efforts to get veterans off the streets.”
Though this article comes from the Australian version of The Conversation, “Everyone has their own idea of what quality of care and quality of life in residential aged care may look like. The Conversation asked readers how they would want a loved one to be cared for in a residential aged care facility. What they said was similar to what surveys around the world have consistently found.“
Here’s an intriguing concept that can be one small solution to a housing crunch. Tight housing markets present real quandaries for many. Yet this “curious roommate pairing” — or shared housing concept — may be worth looking at … for lots of reasons.
“Dean Kaplan and Sarah Heintz chatted in the apartment they share in Cambridge.” – JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF
“After living with more than a dozen different roommates in his young life, most of them strangers, Dean Kaplan is well-versed in the particulars of those first meetings — the short introductions, the perfunctory pleasantries, and then the quick getting on with life.
“‘After you move enough times,’ said the 25-year-old Baltimore native, there is ‘definitely a high degree of nonchalance.’
“In late August, though, as he stood on the front porch of a sizable multistory house in Cambridge ready to meet his newest roommate, he found himself uncharacteristically nervous and eager to make a good first impression.”
“Of all the roommates he’d had in the previous few years, Sarah Heintz would be the first septuagenarian.”
Can there be complications? Sure, but …
As the National Shared Housing Resource Center points out:
“Home Sharing is a simple idea: a homeowner offers accommodation to a homesharer in exchange for an agreed level of support in the form of financial exchange, assistance with household tasks, or both.
“The community is also a beneficiary of Home Sharing. Shared living makes efficient use of existing housing stock, helps preserve the fabric of the neighborhood and, in certain cases, helps to lessen the need for costly chore/care services and long term institutional care.
“A home sharer might be a senior citizen, a person with disabilities, a working professional, someone at-risk of homelessness, a single parent, or simply a person wishing to share his or her life and home with others. For these people, shared housing offers companionship, affordable housing, security, mutual support and much more.
“Home Sharing programs can offer a more secure alternative to other roommate options. Many programs have staff who are trained to carefully screen each program applicant through interviewing, background checking, and personal references.”
Earlier this month a Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources WEBINAR introduced a pilot program that’s operating in northeast Pennsylvania.
You can see the slides from the PowerPoint about this program — in Pike, Wayne, and Monroe Counties — here.
“A senior housing expert looks into his crystal ball and sees challenges ahead”
PHOTO SOURCE: Merrill Gardens
by Chris Farrell
“For a glimpse into the future of retirement communities and — pardon the odious term — ‘senior housing,’ you couldn’t do much better than to ask Robert Kramer. He and several partners got together in 1991 to launch what has become the leading trade group for this industry, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care (NIC), based in Annapolis, Md. And he has been a revered authority on this subject ever since.
“Kramer, who first got involved in this field in the early 1980s, turned over the CEO post at NIC to a younger colleague last July. Now that he’s ‘unretired”’ and a NIC adviser, I spoke with Kramer about what he sees ahead for retirement housing and the challenges developers face to make their communities and facilities more inviting to older Americans.
Boomers Will Change Retirement Housing
“In short, Kramer believes boomers, some of whom are now in their early 70s, will transform the industry, which now includes more than 23,000 professionally-managed senior housing and nursing care communities.
“’We’re entering a time of disruptive innovation. The basic business model and system will be radically disrupted.’”
Click here to continue reading this article at next avenue.
“Fewer patients are winding up in nursing homes, and hundreds of the facilities are closing each year.”
“Patrick Crump, chief executive of the nonprofit Morningside Ministries, at Chandler Estate, a nursing home in San Antonio. The facility closed this year.” – Credit: Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times
by Paula Spahn
“For more than 40 years, Morningside Ministries operated a nursing home in San Antonio, caring for as many as 113 elderly residents. The facility, called Chandler Estate, added a small independent living building in the 1980s and an even smaller assisted living center in the 90s, all on the same four-acre campus.
“The whole complex stands empty now. Like many skilled nursing facilities in recent years, Chandler Estate had seen its occupancy rate drop.
“’Every year, it seemed a little worse,’ said Patrick Crump, chief executive of the nonprofit organization, supported by several Protestant groups. ‘We were running at about 80 percent.’”
Continue reading this article at The New York Times, click here.
“Most older adults want to remain living at home as long as they can, but what happens when the cost of maintaining that home becomes difficult? Fortunately for families struggling to make ends meet, there are several benefits programs that can help.
Keep reading for information on the types of programs available, and where to get more information to find out if you’re eligible and where to apply.