Finding Homes Harder For Those With Disabilities

A new study finds that the number of units available to those with a disability is insufficient to meet the growing needs of an aging population.

1 minute read

January 11, 2016, 9:00 AM PST

By jwilliams @jwillia22

Wheelchair Ramp

Kai Schreiber / Flickr

A new study released by Harvard University has found that the stock of housing suitable to meet the needs of the disabled is woefully insufficient. CityLab's Gillian B. White reports that among the study's findings are that nearly 7 million renter households in the United States include a member with a disability. The number of rental units outfitted with the necessary enhancements to serve those with disabilities, including lowered light fixtures and wider doors to accommodate wheelchairs, among others, is only 1 percent of all rental units (or 365,000 apartment units). White notes that the findings are significant for the country’s aging population.

Thinking about the quality of the rental stock is especially important now, as the population of the U.S. is starting to skew older and the share of Baby Boomers who rent instead of own increases. In fact, the over-50 age group has grown significantly in the past decade, making up more than 50 percent of all rental growth during that period. As this cohort ages, it’s going to be a problem that so few rentals cater to those who, say, have difficulty walking or suffer from chronic arthritis.

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