How to find housing for a disabled person.
June 15, 2004 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Finding housing for a disabled person?

My 52 year old mother is confined to a wheelchair, due to multiple sclerosis. Her kids have all moved out, so she's trying to find a small condo or house that could accommodate her disability. Preferably one that's already been remodeled with wider doors, door handles in easy places, a kitchen that someone in a wheelchair could use, etc.

Has anyone been through this before? Are there any nonprofit groups or realtors that work specifically with the disabled?

The MS society wasn't of much use, and her current realtor has just been able to find retirement castles that are either age restricted or income restricted.
posted by cmonkey to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could contact the department of health and human services in your mother's county for some ideas. I'm not suggesting that your mother is in need of services, but you might be able to talk to someone there who could give you some ideas.
posted by eastlakestandard at 9:24 AM on June 15, 2004

You might want to try some online databases like the National Accessible Apartment Clearinghouse [rentals] or the Wheelchair Accessible Homes Clearinghouse [homes]. They have spotty coverage but can give her or you an idea for what's out there. Specific keywords that are helpful are ones like "independent living" [more links] and "accessible housing" rather than disabled or senior services because you will find much more in the way of retirement options which it seems like is not what she is looking for. I had friends in Rhode Island who bought a house a few years back that had to be accessible [she uses a wheelchair] and they said it was a bit of a headache. Realtors were unclear on what accessibility actually meant and would go the same route your mother's realtor did. A lot of the search is going to depend on where your mother lives and whether there is an active accessibility movement there [or even knowledge of accessibility issues]. This is simpler in places like Florida that cater to older residents or retirees, less so in the Northeast that is more hostile to all kinds of people because of weather etc.

My advice is to cycle through some realtors if you can't find one that will meet your mother's needs and try to get in touch with the local disability community and see what advice they have about the local housing market.
posted by jessamyn at 10:00 AM on June 15, 2004

Just a thought -- is there a local rehab hospital you can talk to? They may have discharge counselors who are familiar with helping people hook up with realtors who deal in accessible housing.
posted by Vidiot at 10:18 AM on June 15, 2004

Go through your local center for independent living. Here's another listing - not sure which would be correct for you.

You'll probably have to make a bunch of calls, but these are organizations whose job it is to help people with disabilities find accessible housing. Good luck!
posted by jasper411 at 10:25 AM on June 15, 2004

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