Why the Demand for Accessible Housing is About to Skyrocket
September 22, 2017 | by Michael Wilt
By 2035, the number of households that include someone with a disability will increase by 76% according to a report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Subsequently, the demand for affordable, accessible housing will be far beyond what current supply can meet. The increased population with a disability is largely due to the booming senior population which is expected to grow from 48 million to 79 million over the next 20 years.
As people age, mobility becomes a bigger challenge. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 16% of Americans ages 65 to 74 face a mobility impairment, and that number doubles among people ages 75 and older.
This aging population will require housing that is accessible for individuals with disabilities, and that type of housing is in short supply. A recent How Housing Matters piece states that less than one fifth of one percent of housing units nationwide are wheelchair accessible. In 1991, the federal government implemented regulations requiring accessibility features in new construction, but much of the housing stock was built before the regulations took effect or is exempt.
This means many households must make accessibility modifications on their own. The Fair Housing Act allows renters to make modifications that reasonably accommodate a disability, but they have to pay for them and then restore the unit to its original condition when they move.
Homeowners can make any modifications they choose, but the costs quickly add up. The cost burden forces many households, especially those on fixed incomes, to forego modifications and live in housing that doesn't meet their needs.
TSAHC and Accessibility
Through the Texas Foundations Fund, TSAHC provides grants to nonprofits to provide home repairs and accessibility modifications in homes owned by very low-income Texans. We invite you to read more about the nonprofits we've supported and their work in communities across Texas.
TSAHC also requires compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act Accessibility Standards and Title II / Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 for any development supported by our developer financing programs. This includes all developments financed through our Texas Housing Impact Fund, our Multifamily Tax-Exempt Housing Bonds program, or developments acquired and redeveloped as part of our Affordable Communities of Texas program.
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