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HUD calls for better housing options for disabled people

Being disabled can make a lot of things in life more difficult, such as maintaining a job or finding housing. Luckily, many adults with mental and physical disabilities are able to qualify for Social Security Disability, which can help supplement their income. Additionally, federal officials are now pushing to make housing more accessible to disabled individuals.

Even though a 1999 Supreme Court case held that people with disabilities have the right to live and receive services in any community whenever possible, this is not always easy because of the lack of integrated and affordable housing options for disabled individuals. Officials with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are now trying to do something about that.

HUD recently issued new guidance encouraging local housing providers who receive financial assistance from the federal government to do more for the disabled community. The document asks public housing agencies to work with state and local governments in effort to provide more "community-based, integrated housing opportunities for individuals with disabilities transitioning out of, or at serious risk of entering, institutions or other segregated settings."

As HUD acknowledged, the housing dilemma can be especially challenging for disabled individuals who are transitioning out of institutional settings and into independent living. HUD also reported that it is exploring funding options for additional housing units for people with disabilities as well as initiatives to get the disabled population more integrated within communities.

A spokeswoman for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law said she was pleased with HUD's announcement.

“The vast majority of people with disabilities want to live in ordinary housing. We hope this guidance will spark development across the country of mainstream housing for people with disabilities,” she said.

Source: Disability Scoop, "Feds Call For Expanded Community Living Options," Michelle Diament, June 7, 2013

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