One of the most common issues people run into after sustaining a spinal cord injury or a spinal cord contusion is not being able to find accessible housing. The lack of accessible housing is so bad in the US that waiting lists can be several years long. You can, however, get around this common problem by employing various strategies. There are organizations and rental sites where you can search and there are some awesome workarounds for finding accessible housing as well. Read on to discover all of the surefire ways to find accessible housing.
Let Your Rehab Facility Help
While you are still in inpatient rehab, you will be assigned a social worker who will ensure you have a safe and accessible home to live in before you are discharged. They will help you search local rental properties and they are also a font of knowledge when it comes to accessible housing advice. They will know all income accessible properties in your city and will help you apply to a property.
If you are not concerned about the amount of rent you must pay each month but still need an accessible apartment, one of the best apartment rental sites is ApartmentsGuide.com. This site lists thousands of mainstream properties, but after searching in your desired area, click “Special Features” and select “Disability Access” to find accessible apartments in your area. Not every accessibility feature is listed. Make sure to call each property to inquire accessibility details like roll-in shower and cut-outs under sinks.
Search Craigslist Housing
Craigslist.org has an active Apartments/Rentals area that can be found in its Housing section. Once here, in the left side-bar, you can click “Wheelchair Access” under “Amenities” where you can find accessible apartments in your desired area. “Wheelchair accessible” is sometimes listed within the titles of properties on Craigslist as well. Make sure to contact the property manager for further details.
Search the Nonprofit - Accessible Space
If you are on a restricted income, you can search AccessibleSpace.org to find accessible properties in your area. This site is very special, as they are the only place online where you can find carefully curated results by experts in the accessible housing field. Each property listed on the site has extensive details for the unit and the building, along with a brochure for the property and a housing application. Unfortunately, properties are not listed for every state.
Post a Want Ad
If your area has minimal choices when it comes to accessible housing, try posting a want ad to announce you’re looking for accessible housing. An online want ad is best, such as posting on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, but it does cost $5 to post on Craigslist. Someone may be sitting on a hidden accessible property that isn’t listed. Make sure to include your injury story in the ad.
Contact Your Local Independent Living Center
There are Independent Living Centers (ILC) in most major cities that exist to help people with disabilities become independent in their communities. They are often staffed by people with disabilities as well and can be one of the best resources in your area to talk to people who really understand your needs rehousing. They can also help you find employment, accessible recreation and much more.
Buy an Accessible Tiny Home
The new trend of tiny homes has crossed over into the accessible housing world. There is a tiny home called WheelPad with a bedroom, living area and bathroom (no kitchen) that is fully accessible and can be placed on any property, even in the yard of a family member. While for some this is not ideal if offers privacy for those who desire it but still want to be near family. They also offer prefab ADA add-ons for homes. Learn more: https://www.wheelpad.com/
Consider "Workable" Properties
If you’ve searched but still can’t find an accessible property, consider a property that’s semi-accessible, a great idea for an agile paraplegic, such as a unit you can enter and a bathroom you can enter but does not have a roll-in shower. There are portable shower-chairs available that will help you get into a tub. Electric portable cook-tops can also be set on on a table so you can still cook even if you can’t reach the stove. Portable ramps can also span several steps, making many homes accessible. Some people can bump themselves upstairs as well. An accessible RV is also an option. Winnebago has a gorgeous new line of accessible RVs.
The search in finding an accessible home can seem daunting, but do not lose hope. It may take time, for some even years, but when you finally find a home you can live in, you are can be ready to move forward in your new life.
Written by Vincent DolanA the Director of Public Affairs at SpinalCord.com Vincent has had the opportunity to speak with thousands of individuals (and families) during every step of the recovery process. Vincent has combined his legal and marketing expertise to create the single largest resource for those impacted by a spinal cord or other catastrophic injury. While gathering and sharing these resources Vincent also spends time answering the SpinalCord.com hotline which allows him to better understand what families are going through. Vincent is actively involved in supporting various non profits within the SCI community, and is always open to helping in whatever way he can. Vincent also works with our sponsors Swope, Rodante P.A. to ensure families have every opportunity to obtain the resources which improve the quality of life for individuals after a spinal cord injury.
See what Swope, Rodante Has Done for Others With Catastrophic Injuries
“What made me most excited was to be able to help my family, being able to pull the burden out of them that they’ve been struggling with. That’s what made me feel the best. Everything else to come, is to come. And we’re going to live life how we have been, just not going to have to worry about buying the supplies that I need.”
"As I got better, which I did in the future, I think I remember researching them [Swope, Rodante P.A.] myself and found that they are very good at what they do. "