Housing Equity for NYC
Incorporating Disability into Mayor’s “New Housing Marketplace”
No group is harder hit by NYC’s housing crisis than people with disabilities. Three quarters of rent stabilized units cannot be reached without climbing stairs or a stoop (Rent Guideline Board, 2005). And the many accessible subsidized units are at risk of leaving those programs.
As a result, many New Yorkers with disabilities barely hold on to their homes. Others are homeless or have been unnecessarily relegated to nursing homes.
Yet the Mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, which would provide 500,000 New Yorkers with affordable homes by 2013, doesn’t mention “disability” or “access” ONCE. Disabled people have been left out of housing planning.
To change this, the Disabilities Network Housing Committee will develop a Housing Equity Plan in 2009. The Plan will list specific actions the City, housing industry and disability community should take with a timeline and estimated cost of implementation.
We will distribute it to advocates, the business sector and public officials and work for its implementation.
Committee Drafts Public Housing Priority for People with Health Emergencies
Help for People Whose Housing Affects a Medical Condition
Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers live in public housing, and there is a long waiting list. People in emergencies, such as families fleeing domestic violence, are given priority.
Soon people whose housing exacerbates a dangerous medical condition may also get priority. The Network’s Housing Committee has been working to create a “health priority” survey for people whose current housing, combined with a medical condition, creates a life-threatening situation to assist the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) in placing those with the most urgent need for placement.
Examples might include someone who is unable to climb up and down a building’s stairs due to a health condition, or who needs life sustaining medical equipment but whose building is prone to electrical outages. The priority identifies specific criteria which are more targeted than previous systems.
Educating the Community on Public Housing Options
Network, NYCHA Sponsor Free Workshops
For people with disabilities, getting and keeping accessible, affordable housing is a major issue. The rent for the average NYC one bedroom is TWICE monthly SSI payment! (Technical Assistance Collaborative, 2007).
To keep disabled New Yorkers informed of their housing options and help them navigate the system, we held our second FREE HOUSING WORKSHOP with NYC's Housing Authority (NYCHA) on Wednesday, June 25th. The event addressed NYCHA priorities and procedures, including how to apply for housing, request an accommodation and file a grievance.
The first Workshop in March served 50 people with disabilities, advocates and social service providers. Future workshops are planned!
Our first Housing Workshop was such a success, NYCHA asked us to do it again! Left to right: Fredrika Wilson and Margarita Lopez of NYCHA speak with Housing Committee Chair Thomas K. Small at the March workshop. Photo courtesy of NYCHA.
Disabilities Network of NYC: