Housing Legislative Agenda for the 112th Congress (2011-2012)

Across the nation, people with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities face a crisis in the availability of decent, safe, affordable, and accessible housing. Over 730,000 people with developmental disabilities live with aging parents (at least one of whom is over age 60).  For people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices, finding housing with even basic accessibility features (e.g., an entrance with no steps) ranges from daunting to impossible.  While there are unique issues in urban, suburban, and rural areas, this difficulty is magnified in rural areas where there is a scarcity of any rental housing and new units are rarely developed. For people with disabilities whose resources are limited to Supplemental Security Income benefits, the affordability crisis is even worse. 

Therefore, the 112th Congress must increase the supply of affordable and accessible housing options that are integrated in the community, including home ownership and rental housing, to meet the growing unmet needs of people with disabilities and their families by:

  • Significantly increasing funding for, and protecting the integrity of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs such as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the Community Development Block Grant program and increasing funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture housing programs  as well as all other federal housing programs providing funding for people with disabilities;

  • Providing funding to address the need for safe, affordable, and accessible housing for individuals with disabilities due to housing foreclosures, other financial crises, and weather-related and other emergencies;

  • Funding the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund with deeply targeted eligibility criteria to increase the availability of affordable and accessible housing for people with disabilities;

  • Providing funding for and ensuring proper implementation of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010;

  • Opposing efforts to limit housing options, including efforts to weaken fair housing protections; 

  • Removing barriers that prevent people from renting or buying their own homes, through:
  •    – simplifying programs;
  •    – ensuring appropriate fair-market rents;
  •    – eliminating discrimination based on source of income (such as SSI);
  •    – permitting people to acquire assets;
  •    -  providing funding to educate and train public housing authorities and service providers on the housing needs of people with disabilities;
  •    -  ensuring that non-profit disability organizations can administer tenant-based rental assistance; and
  •    -  ensuring fairness and equity.

  • Enacting legislation requiring newly constructed, federally assisted housing to incorporate universal design and visitability standards (elements that afford accessibility to at least the first floor of a dwelling);

  • Requiring that projects developed through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit apply design standards identical to those in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; and

  • Providing oversight of HUD’s management of housing programs to ensure that they meet the housing needs of people with disabilities.

Legislative Agenda Partners

We are national organizations that serve and advocate for people with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities. We work together to shape, expand, and protect a strong federal role that provides vital benefits, services and supports and assures civil rights for our constituency.