Report: Housing A ‘Crisis’ For People With Disabilities
by Shaun Heasley | December 15, 2017
Housing prices across the country are far outpacing the monthly benefits provided by Supplemental Security Income, according to a new report, forcing many people with disabilities into homelessness or costly institutional care.
The national average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in 2016 exceeded the entire typical SSI check of $763 per month, while a studio or efficiency unit accounted for 99 percent of that payment.
What’s more, in the 13 states and Washington, D.C. where housing prices are highest, individuals with disabilities could not even cover the average cost of the smallest apartments with their SSI benefits.
The findings come from a report out this week from the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities’ Housing Task Force. It’s based on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data on rental costs for 2016 and information from the Social Security Administration on SSI benefits.
“Housing is a challenge for most of us; it’s a crisis for individuals on SSI,” said Kevin Martone, executive director of the Technical Assistance Collaborative. “Nowhere in the United States can people with disabilities receiving SSI afford a safe, decent place to live.”
About 4.8 million adults with disabilities received SSI in 2016. With these benefits falling short of housing prices, an estimated 87,000 people with significant disabilities were homeless and between 200,000 and 300,000 people with disabilities were living in institutions, nursing facilities and other segregated environments, the report found.
Meanwhile, over 870,000 people with developmental disabilities were estimated to be residing with caregivers age 60 or older.
“Taxpayer resources are spent exponentially on the costs associated with institutionalization and homelessness even though proven, cost-effective solutions exist,” Martone said. “We need our policymakers to finally confront this issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to address this form of discrimination against those who are the most vulnerable.”