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Disabled are priced out of accessibility features at home

By Mike Wheatley | February 26, 2020
  • Homes that have features designed to boost the quality of life of disabled people, often known as “accessible homes”, can cost up to 10% more than their non-accessible counterparts, according to a new study by Apartment List.

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    The rentals website said the study even controlled for size and location, and concluded that it means those with disabilities face an unfair financial burden in order to enjoy accessibility features in a home.

    The study found that 57% of renters with physical disabilities are cost-burdened, versus 46% of renters that don’t have any physical disabilities. The discrepancy is most likely due to an inadequate supply of housing with accessibility features in 97 of the country’s 100 biggest metro areas. The study cites data that shows 15.2 million households in the U.S. include at least one person who is physically disabled, but just 6.6 million homes have accessibility features.

    Another factor is that the median household incomes of disabled renters is around 45% lower than able-bodied people’s, but the median rent is just 20% less, the study found.

    There is some progress being made, at least:

    “Newer homes—particularly those built in multifamily units—are becoming more accessible,” the report reads. “Over 20% of multifamily homes built during the 2000s are accessible, more than double the rate from three decades earlier. This favors renters who are more likely to live in multifamily housing. However, renters with disabilities may continue to struggle with affordability since newer accessible homes tend to be more expensive than the older, less accessible homes they replace.”

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