Housing Out Of Reach For Many With Disabilities
Renting an apartment is increasingly too pricey for Americans with disabilities, according to a study out Monday showing that the cost of a one-bedroom apartment exceeds the average Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, benefit.
In a report from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities and the Technical Assistance Collaborative, researchers compared average monthly SSI payments in 2010 with the fair market housing rate for small apartments in cities across the country as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They found deep disparities between income and cost of living for those with disabilities.
“Simply stated, in 2010, there was not one state or community in the nation where a person with a disability receiving SSI could afford to rent modest rental housing without a permanent rental subsidy,” the report found.
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Single SSI beneficiaries qualified for an average of $703 monthly last year. But at the same time, the national average to rent a studio apartment was $695 while a modest one-bedroom apartment ran $785.
Even in South Dakota where the report indicates housing was the cheapest, renting a one-bedroom apartment still accounted for 70 percent of the average SSI payment.
The findings of the biannual report titled “Priced Out” reflect a dramatic change since the first such analysis was conducted in 1998. At that time, the cost of renting an apartment equaled 69 percent of the average SSI benefit, but by 2010 that number grew to 112 percent.
“This study makes it crystal clear why vulnerable people with disabilities become homeless or are unable to move out of high-cost institutional settings,” said Ann O’Hara of the Technical Assistance Collaborative who co-authored the study.
O’Hara and her colleagues estimate that as many as 1.2 million people with disabilities live in homeless shelters, public institutions, nursing homes and other unsafe or segregated environments.
What’s more, they say 700,000 adults with disabilities are living with parents ages 65 or older, in part due to their inability to afford a place of their own.