Published 2009-07-20 (Rev. 2010-03-29) -- An editorial and commentary about Disability and Homelessness in America.
Author: Disabled World
According to the Disability Scoop greater than forty-percent of the population of people who are homeless in America are persons with disabilities.
The one-hundred and fifty page 2008, 'Annual Homeless Assessment Report,' issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, did not provide encouraging news.
17.7% of adults in America experienced disability
42.8% of sheltered, homeless adults experienced disability
Disability, in particular mental health disabilities, can make it difficult to work enough to afford adequate housing. Adults with disabilities living in poverty comprise 30.7% relative to the population in America that experiences poverty as a whole. The number of persons with disabilities who are homeless is higher than the number of people who are living in poverty - something that tells everyone that people with disabilities are having a difficult time finding a place to live, or a landlord who is willing to rent to them. The disability they experience is making it less easy to accommodate them without adaptive supports. The resources people with disabilities need in order to survive in America are simply not present in the amount they need to be where housing is concerned.
Apparently, programs such as SSI and SSDI are unable to keep people with disabilities from experiencing homelessness. The average *annual-payment to a person on SSI for 2009 is $6,048, while the poverty rate for a single-person household is $10,830. One has to wonder what people are supposed to eat, let alone how they are supposed to afford rent. The average annual SSI payment is approximately 44% BELOW poverty level. People with a lack of sufficient work history do not qualify for SSDI; something that is common among persons with severe mental illness or substance abuse issues who are most susceptible to deep poverty in America.
Lack of opportunity, despite a person's skills - or inability to work, make affording a place to live extremely difficult if not impossible. Achieving accessible housing with accommodations such as adaptive supports may be impossible. The Community Choice Act has never been so important as it is right now. I suggest that unreasonable and inane fears on the parts of government leaders and the public related to the mis-use of Social Security funding have kept people with justified disabilities living in deep poverty and homelessness for entirely too long - reports such as this one by the Department of Housing and Urban Development prove it.
The Social Security Administration needs to trust in its own methods of approval. People have gone to court, with medical documentation proving their disabilities. The continued, government-enforced impoverishment of People with Disabilities in America is tantamount to the very slavery that President Obama has recently descried. No matter what party has been in office, this abuse of people with disabilities in America has continued.
There has been an Equal Rights Act in America; an Americans with Disabilities Act - and still this blatant, unremitting, and completely unjustified abuse of people with disabilities continues in this nation. Until every citizen in America experiences true equality in America; until every citizen has equal access to public buildings - America still experiences the very slavery it speaks so proudly about having abolished.