People with Disabilities Priced Out of Nation's Housing Market

New study reveals that people with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income cannot afford housing anywhere in the United States

From the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC), June 09, 2015

Boston, MA – Without her subsidized apartment, Olivia - whose income is limited to SSDI and SSI - would have been stuck in a nursing home at an estimated cost of $300 per day. "Nothing compares to living in your own home. It is the best. Calling the nursing home a ‘home’ is a misnomer. Home is with friends, neighbors and not worrying about being back at a certain time, eating what you want."

A new study released today finds that millions of non-elderly people with disabilities - just like Olivia - are stuck in homeless shelters, expensive public institutions, nursing homes, unsafe and overcrowded board and care homes, at home with aging parents, or in segregated group quarters. Priced Out in 2014, produced by the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force, finds that the national average rent for a modestly priced one-bedroom apartment is greater than the entire Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment of a person with a disability. The study sheds light on the serious problems experienced by our nation’s extremely low-income people with significant and long-term disabilities.

Priced Out in 2014 compares the monthly SSI payments received by more than 4.8 million non-elderly Americans with disabilities to the Fair Market Rents for modest studio and one-bedroom apartments in housing markets across the country. The Fair Market Rent for rental housing is determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). According to HUD, rent is affordable when it is no more than 30 percent of income. SSI is a federal program that provides income to people with significant and long-term disabilities who have extremely low incomes and virtually no assets. Priced Out in 2014 reveals that as a national average, people with disabilities receiving SSI needed to pay 104 percent of their income to rent a one-bedroom unit priced at the Fair Market Rent.

"From Bethel, Alaska to Boston, Massachusetts, to Tallahassee, Florida, we have an affordable housing crisis in our nation’s local communities, and it is particularly acute for people with disabilities on SSI. The effect is incontrovertible – too many people with disabilities on SSI are homeless or live in segregated settings," stated Kevin Martone, TAC Executive Director. He added, "The human toll is inexcusable and the economic argument to address affordable housing is compelling. After a long wait, government worked for Olivia, but millions of others with disabilities do not have access to safe, decent, affordable housing."

"As pressure builds to continue progress on community integration for people with disabilities as part of state settlement agreements under the U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead decision and ending chronic homelessness experienced by people with disabilities, Congress is unfortunately not making adequate investments in new permanent supportive housing." said Andrew Sperling of the CCD Housing Task Force. "As this report makes clear, rental housing is out of reach for people living on SSI without an ongoing rent subsidy. While the President's FY 2016 budget did propose $25 million for new HUD Section 811 Project Rental Assistance units and a $345 million increase for new PSH units under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, Congress appears unlikely to approve these funding requests so long as the current discretionary budget caps remain in place. Congress and the President must agree to lift these caps in order for us to have any chance to reach the goals of allowing people with disabilities to transition from institutional settings and ending chronic homelessness." Sperling added.

“"This report makes an important contribution to our understanding of the full dimensions of the rental housing affordability crisis. It is required reading for policymakers and the public alike" write Former HUD Secretary Cisneros and Former Senator Bond, co-chairs of the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission in the Priced Out in 2014 forward.

For more information, please visit TAC’s website or call 617-266-5657 x110.


Technical Assistance Collaborative Inc.
Kevin Martone - 617-266-5657 x110

CCD Housing
Andrew Sperling - National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): (703) 516-7222
TJ Sutcliffe - The Arc: (202) 783-2229 x314

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