Affording Housing on Disability

In Michigan a recipient of SSI gets $697 a month… the average cost of a two bedroom apartment is around $540 in my area.  However many of the apartments will not accept you even for consideration unless you make three times the amount that is required for rent.  For someone on disability assistance that is not likely to happen.  Thus many on Disability that can not live with family are stuck out on the streets, or in some form of housing that can be frankly dangerous.  The image the public has is that many who are on disability are a “leach on society” and will never get off the disability system, and never want too.  While those people do exist, many people with disabilities want to live productive lives working or volunteering and most if they are capable want to eventually get off Disability.

However getting off disability, finding work, recovering from injuries requires one important thing a stable home environment.

On Disability You Can’t Afford A Stable Home Environment

People on SSI are forced to live in apartment complexes where there are shootings, stabbings and drug activity on a regular basis often because their income is not high enough to even be considered for rent at most apartment complexes.  Often times when your on SSI it takes some talking with an apartment complex leasing agent or manager to consider waving the three times rent income rule most apartment complexes have – and most won’t budge and when they hear you on Disability some will deny you just for that.

Something needs to be done so that people who are on SSI, who would otherwise be accepted to an apartment based on criminal history (or lack thereof and credit) who get denied because of not having a high enough income are not forced to live in unhealthy housing situations.

Housing Options While on Disability

Housing options when your on disability tend to be pretty sparse.  There is Section 8 but those are often very hard to get into, and there are places like halfway houses which are more targeted to those with very severe disabilities.     Those that can get better are often stuck in unsafe enviroments where they struggle to stay safe, not get shot – instead of working on getting better.

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Zachary Lassiter

Zachary is a young man diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and is a strong advocate for people with disabilities. He is currently working on a book telling his story of love, life with a disability, self advocacy and advocacy for others.