By: John Jusu
As Americans, we all want the opportunity to experience “The American Dream” as it exemplifies a pillar of success as well as a sense of pride within our society. The cornerstone of this dream primarily rests on being able to relax in one’s own space and call it our home. Some, if not most, people have the opportunity to turn this vision into a reality, while to others, it is simply a mirage that seems all too real, yet far too remote, to attain.
People with disabilities are amongst the groups who yearn to belong to communities of individuals who have accomplished this goal of independent living – being able to call four walls their home. However, these people have continually faced a housing crisis that is too severe to endure, mainly due to economic and social barriers. The United States government has realized that U.S. residents who suffer from various impediments, whether it be mental and/or physical, are at a disadvantage when compared to their “healthy” and “normal” counterparts in terms of housing options. As such, various programs have been created in order to assist with this disparity.
Disabled individuals are eligible to partake in housing and rental assistance programs that are run by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These government-funded procedures include Section 811, Tenant Based Rent Assistance, and Housing Opportunity for People Everywhere (H.O.P.E.). Furthermore, the legislature had sought to protect this class from unlawful discrimination in the housing market when it promulgated the Federal Housing Amendment Act (FHAA) which expanded federal fair housing law to protect the disabled from pervasive and unfounded housing discrimination.
The U.S. government enacted these resources for the purpose of giving disabled individuals a chance to live in safe, secure, and affordable housing. These government initiatives help bring a sense of security and a taste of the “American Dream” which we all look to attain at some point in our lives. This goes to show that democracy is meant to benefit each and every one of its citizens, not just those sitting at the highest tax brackets.
The Arc Housing Issues, The Arc, http://www.thearc.org/what-we-do/public-policy/policy-issues/housing (last visited Jan. 14, 2016).
Polly W. Blakemore, Short of Money or Shortchanged?: Reasonable Accommodations in Rental Rules and Policies for Disabled Individuals Receiving Financial Assistance, 39 Brandeis L.J. 449 (2000).