Recently, The Oklahoman reported that people in the state with disabilities are having trouble finding affordable housing.
According to the news source, under federal laws, property owners are required to allow tenants to make “reasonable modifications” to properties if they are disabled. These include changes to structures like ramps.
However, one family The Oklahoman interviewed said that their property owner told them that they cannot build a ramp to their apartment.
Currently, Veldon Gray and his wife Betty, of Oklahoma City, have to navigate his wheelchair down stairs so that he can leave the apartment. The couple said that they have the money to pay for a ramp, but they are unable to due to the property owner’s objections.
Advocates told the news source that the couple’s story is an example of a major problem in Oklahoma: a shortage of housing, including affordable properties, for people with disabilities.
The Grays live off Social Security and disability payments, so their rental makes sense financially, because it is only $550 per month. They did live in a much larger house prior to moving into the apartment, that had more access, but they could no longer afford utilities and house payments.
According to officials with the Oklahoma City Housing Authority, statewide, demand for Section 8 vouchers, a federal program that helps low-income families, is extremely high, which is having a tremendous impact on people with disabilities.
In Oklahoma City, the waitlist for Section 8 housing contains more than 5,000 names, while the number of families waiting to receive vouchers through the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency has 10,290 names. Although people with disabilities are given priority for housing, there are still not enough properties to meet demands.
“There’ s just no inventory,” said Ann Trudgeon, executive director of Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council, according to The Oklahoman.
Talk to Our Tulsa Disability Attorneys Before You Apply for SSDI
Many people who collect Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits live very modestly, so their housing must be made affordable.
Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said that in 2012, nationwide, monthly SSI payments to individuals averaged $726, while rent for a one-bedroom apartment averaged $758 per month. This is unacceptable.
We hope that our elected officials take note of these stories. Although this news is unfortunate, if you are disabled and can no longer work, SSDI can be tremendously helpful. Do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free consultation, if you would like to discuss benefit eligibility.
You can reach us by calling (918) 265-1404.