Housing crisis is magnified for people with physical disabilities. Here’s how we can help.

December 12, 2022

Person in wheelchair shakes hands with someone holding a house keyThe U.S. housing crisis is worse for people with physical disabilities for two reasons. First, affordable housing is a challenge because people with physical disabilities are twice as likely to be low income. Second, accessibility is a challenge because significant and costly renovations are often required for people with physical disabilities.

Those with physical disabilities are disproportionately impacted by the lack of accessible and affordable homes. Racist housing policies, coupled with a shortage of accessible homes and severely limited housing assistance, have made challenges worse for low income individuals with disabilities.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of low income renters were experiencing or at high risk of experiencing housing instability.

Understanding the housing crisis for low income individuals with physical disabilities

Policymakers need to address both the affordable housing crisis and the shortage of accessible housing for people with disabilities. Toward that end, this issue brief describes:

  • The factors that are making housing challenges more difficult for individuals with physical disabilities.
  • The role housing has on improving health outcomes and minimizing health costs.
  • Best practices and policy levers that local, state, and federal governments can use to address the crisis.

Ways to increase housing for low income individuals with physical disabilities

  1. Universal design policies, regulatory reforms, and home modification initiatives can advance housing accessibility and affordability.
  2. Medicaid’s 1915(c) Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers and the CAPABLE model are effective.
  3. Increases in federal rental assistance for low income individuals with physical disabilities.