Throughout the disability community, there is an ever-increasing demand for affordable and supportive housing. The New American Movement Team would like to reiterate the need of affordable and supportive housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The NAMPWD’s piece “A Perspective from the Poor” highlighted the market – especially in the current state of the US economy – for affordable, safe, and inclusionary housing throughout the United States. More specifically, people with disabilities require housing that will support their physical, mental and emotional needs.
To the NAMPWD team, supportive housing is not just about accessibility in its design or the support staff that aid the residents – supportive housing is about maximizing independence. Supportive housing for people with disabilities must be in a location that enhances an individual’s social capital and provides the foundation for an individual’s community integration. Equally, supportive housing must be provided in a diverse manner. For the success of supportive housing in communities, developers must construct diverse and versatile models for housing. The uniqueness of each individuals needs cannot be matched by a “one size fits all” supportive model.
Additionally, commitments on behalf of developers to provide supportive housing for people with disabilities is only the first step in achieving a society in which everyone has an equal opportunity to housing, education and welcomed into a community. As the demand increases for supportive housing throughout the disability community, people with disabilities need to be made a priority for the State Rental Assistance Programs (SRAP). The state-wide transition to Medicaid reimbursement must not exclusively dictate or limit people with disabilities access to housing. Rather, rental assistance must be expanded within the disability community to ensure that the benefits of supportive housing can be maximized and affordable.
As New Jersey transitions from institutionalization to the community-based support model, it is imperative that there is a comprehensive and accommodating foundation laid for providing supports to the disability community. People with disabilities must have a seat at the table in directing their level of supports and housing options if we are going to truly affirm our commitment to supporting integrated and independent lives of people with disabilities.