A composite picture that includes blueprint-style drawings on blue, a row of apartments in pink and a tall tower in blue. Large figures are a smiling young woman with long black hair and a smiling young man in a wheelchair. Smaller images include people with canes and in wheelchairs, and two men seated on a bench at a bus stop, the older one wearing dark glasses and holding a cane.

Under the Lens

Not Just Ramps—Disability and Housing Justice

Disability and housing intersect in many ways. What comes to mind for most people is physical accessibility, but accessibility is not always a matter of physical spaces. A wide range of policies, rules, and procedures can also have accessibility implications, often unintended. Over the next several months in our new Under the Lens series, Not Just Ramps—Disability and Housing Justice, we’ll delve into some of the different laws that are supposed to require accessible spaces and reduce discrimination, as well as the tactics and resources housing developers can use to prioritize making disability-friendly housing. Don’t miss a story—sign up for our newsletter today.

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Six disabled people of color smile and pose in front of a concrete wall. Five people stand in the back, with the Black woman in the center holding up a chalkboard sign reading "disabled and here." A South Asian person in a wheelchair sits in front.
Disability

Which U.S. Laws Require Accessibility in Housing—And How Well Do They Do?

Activists have been fighting for decades to expand accessible housing for disabled residents. They’ve made progress, but say that current regulations and enforcement don’t go far enough.

A large open space with a staircase that has multicolored balusters. At left is a large mural of people with different skin tones and in front of it is a person holding a small child. Dual handrails on staircase ensure adult and child can safely use stairs by holding height appropriate handrails. There’s another small child, this one on crutches, and a woman in white is crouching beside him. There’s a man on the landing of the staircase and a small girl climbing the steps. Behind her is a woman carrying a bag or briefcase and drinking from a cup.
Disability

Cross-Disability Design Makes Housing Better for Everyone

Affordable housing projects should incorporate a range of accessibility features, going above and beyond code requirements.

Close-up of the word NO stencil-painted on blacktop
Health

Accessible Housing Is Not Just About How Buildings Are Built

The ways in which buildings are managed after they are built also affects how accessible and inclusive they are.

An artist's rendering of a bungalow-style two-family home in white and blue with yellow doors. At left, a winding ramp leads to one door; at right, conventional steps lead to the entrance of the other residence.
Disability

The [Un]Affordability of Accessibility: The Challenge of Retrofitting American Homes

Home modifications vary greatly in form and cost, a challenge for disabled residents whose homes aren’t accessible to them.

Construction

Making Housing More Accessible for People With Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

Accessibility for this challenging disability can look different from other measures—but addressing it could help improve everyone’s health. 

Disability

How the Housing Shortage Is Forcing People With Disabilities Into Institutions

People with disabilities have the constitutional right to choose community-based care rather than institutionalization, but without enough accessible, affordable units, some are still being forced to live in nursing homes.

A woman in a motorized wheelchair travels along a rural road with no sidewalks, as a bus approaches close to her from the opposite direction. Standing on the coarse gravel shoulder of the road is a man with a dog.
Disability

The Road to Transportation Equity: Listening to Non-Drivers

Laying the groundwork for transportation equity can start with listening to disabled people’s experiences of infrastructure for non-drivers.

Close view of part of a closed door, showing a mail slot above two small signs, and below them, a buzzer. One sign is the universal icon for accessibility: a wheelchair. The other says, "Please ring bell for attention."
Disability

Why Aren’t Homeless Shelters Accommodating People Who Have Disabilities?

With homelessness on the rise, the U.S. shelter system is ill-equipped to accommodate disabled occupants.

A back view of a man in a brown/gray checked coat and a light gray watch cap entering an open door. To either side of the door are wispy shrubs, green against the white walls.His gloved right hand is on the door. He has an orange crossbody bag over his left shoulder. The room ahead of him, inside the house, has orange walls or the light gives an orangey glow.
Disability

Developing Housing that Welcomes People With Developmental Disabilities

Not everyone with intellectual and developmental disabilities needs to live in a highly structured group home. There are ways to make integrated, independent living work.

Concrete steps on a gently sloping grassy hill go up three steps, then become discontinuous with the steps above them. They're somehow (it's not clear how) raised up, so that on the third step a walker would have to step down before going on to the next step up.
Disability

Poor by Design: SSI Asset Caps

Asset caps on SSI and other benefits keep people with disabilities from building up emergency savings and financial security—or buying a home.

A composite of four people who are speaking. At top left, a person with a beard and red top, at top right, a person with a red shirt sits in front of a black background; bottom left, a man with a blue shirt sits on a recliner, and at bottom right, a woman with glasses.
Affordability

What Makes Our Homes Accessible?

Four disability activists tell us what they needed to make their homes accessible, and how difficult it can be to find accessible housing.

A small homemade ramp made of a white board with "RAMP" painted on it in black covers the gap in a street-level doorway of a brick building. The door is of vertical black boards and is dirty with dust and splashed mud.
Disability

All New Homes Should Be Accessible

Because so many old buildings are hard to fully retrofit, new homes need to fill in the gap.

Shelterforce Weekly

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