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For a quick link to the FAQ of your choice on the topic of Housing click on the question below.
I am looking for financial assistance to buy a home. Are there any programs for people with disabilities?
Group Homes, Resident Homes
Legislation and Rights
Wisconsin Apartment Rental
Q: Where can I find information on and assistance in finding accessible
and/or subsidized housing?
- A: Your local Center for Independent Living (CIL) offers services to assist individuals with
disabilities and their families begin the process of finding a suitable housing situation. To find a CIL
in your area, click on NHU's Assistance and Agencies: Independent Living.
Q: Where can I find assisted living for the younger disabled?
Cheshire Home, Inc. provides housing for the
younger physically disabled. The home provides many programs and services, such as
rehabilitation, physical therapy and exercise, computer training, recreational activities,
educational assessment, and many more. Residents are selected from an application process
based on availability.
- A: Vision
Star, Inc. is in the process of developing a family run home for the disabled. The
home will be privately owned and equipped for persons with disabilities and special needs.
Q: Where can one find tips on choosing an assisted living facility?
- A: Leading Age provides several points that one should take into
consideration when choosing a facility.
Q: Where can I find more information on assisted living?
- A: The American Health Care Association is the nation's largest federation of
licensed assisted living facilities and can be contacted by writing 1201 L Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20005 or telephone (202) 824-4444.
Q: I am looking for financial assistance to buy a home. Are there any programs for people with disabilities?
A: There are home buying programs and financial assistance for people with disabilities. Be prepared to do some research and there is much to learn about buying a home of your own.
First see the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. At the homepage of HUD, under "sections for you" pick on "people with disabilities." This page was created for people with disabilities and contains information from all parts of HUD's website of interest to people with disabilities.
Under "local home buying programs" HUD tells you exactly what to do and the resources that can help you. Guides to local resources are available. HUD allows you to search for agents by state, then select by city. Call a HUD funded housing counseling agency in your area to discuss your options.
Home of Your Own Alliance is a partnership effort between the federal government, the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, and nationally recognized non-profit groups for people with disabilities that are promoting opportunities for person-owned/controlled housing. Section 8 Vouchers for Homeownership through HUD's Section 8 Final Rule, now make it possible for people with low incomes to use their Section 8 vouchers to purchase their own homes.
Fannie Mae offers a program called HomeChoice, for single-family mortgage loans for low to moderate-income persons with disabilities. HomeChoice is available to home buyers who have disabilities or who live with family members with disabilities. HomeChoice borrowers can make a low down payment. HomeChoice is available only to qualified borrowers through a homeownership coalition selected by FannieMae. Borrowers must be approved by Fannie Mae approved lenders who are working with these coalitions.
Q: My property taxes have increased to the point of where I can no longer afford to pay them. Are there any programs that offer assistance in paying for property taxes?
- A: Your state's Department of Revenue may offer a property tax relief program. Eligibility is determined based upon your income. To learn if your state offers this type of assistance, contact your state Department of Revenue.
Q: I need assistance in paying for my utility and phone bills. Are there any assistance programs that can help me pay these bills?
- A: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program to help eligible low income households meet their home heating and/or cooling needs. To learn if you are eligible, contact your state LIHEAP Coordinator (http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/liheap/states.htm).
- A: SBC Ameritech offers a monthly telephone bill discount to low income residents in their service areas throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. To be eligible you must either be a client of LIHEAP or be receiving assistance through Section 8 Housing, food stamps or be receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Eligible residents can receive $8.50 off their monthly Ameritech phone bills. For more information, contact SBC Ameritech at (888) 635-5050.
- A: Homeowners who meet the guidelines can sign up for a free home weatherization program that can save them money on their utility bills by reducing the amount of energy they use. Instead of providing aid to people, this program offers people a way to make the home modifications necessary to reduce their energy use, thus reducing their energy costs. People with low-income, or households with a member receiving Supplemental Security Income, Aid to Dependent Children or Energy Assistance payments can qualify for the free project, however homes may be disqualified if there are structural damage or other problems. To apply for assistance, contact your state's Weatherization Assistance Program.
- Nebraska Weatherization Assistance Program is administered statewide by the Nebraska Energy Office for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Homes will be inspected for most effective energy and dollar saving impovements including:
- Adding insulation to the attic, side walls, and floors.
- Sealing cracks with caulking.
- Adding weather stripping around windows and doors.
- Cleaning, tuning, and adjusting all heating equipment.
- Repairing or replacing primary doors and windows.
- Installing or adjusting door thresholds and/or sweeps.
- Repair or replace faulty or non-working heating plants.
For more information for the Nebraska program, please call the Weatherization Trust, Inc. at 402-342-1611 (Douglas County), Southeast Nebraska Community Action Council at 402-862-2411 (Sarpy and Cass Counties) and Goldenrod Hills Community Services at 402-529-3513 (Dodge and Washington counties).
Group Homes/Resident Homes
Q:How do I find a Group Home or Resident Home for my adult child?
Q:As an individual in a wheelchair, how do I go about modifying my home for a wheelchair accessible ramp?
- A: If you are building a ramp for your own home, as homeowner you will need to acquire a permit from your local municipality to build the ramp. To acquire the permit you will need to have a site survey and drawings of the new ramp and footings. The City of Milwaukee requires $54 dollars for a building permit and the homeowner has to sign the application. 18" concrete footings are required for the ramp in Milwaukee because of our cold winters and requirement to get below the frost line with the footings. Be sure to call diggers hotline before placing the footings. If you are placing the ramp in the front yard, lattice work or screening are required for the area below the ramp. Suggestion:
hire a contractor to build the ramp. If you need financial assistance, contact local agencies such as your Community Development Block Grant program to see if they can assist. We have listed a few agencies below, but for a more comprehensive list, visit our NHU resource page on Home Modification Assistance
Easter Seal Society, 416-421-8377, call this national number to find a local chapter near you and more about their home modification program.
Rebuilding Together, Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing home repair and modification services at no expense to homeowners with disabilities in need. Go to their Finding an Affiliate page on their website and enter your zipcode to find the office nearest you and find out how to apply to the local home modification program in your area.
Q: As an individual in a wheelchair, can I request modifications be made to my
rental unit so to accommodate my disability?
- A: Yes you can. According to the Fair Housing Act you can make "reasonable modifications" to
your private living space as well as to common areas in the building. The landlord is not required to pay
for these modifications and can require you to pay for costs associated with restoring the unit to its
original condition upon your departure from the unit. They also have the right to request certifiable
documentation that will serve as proof that your modification request will indeed satisfy your needs. For
more information regarding your rights under the Fair Housing Act,
visit HUD's Fair Housing - It's your Right.
Complaints of Fair Housing Act violations may be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For more information or to file a complaint, contact:
Office of Program Compliance and Disability Rights
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
U .S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
451 Seventh Street, SW, Room 5242
Washington, DC 20140
(800) 669-9777 (Voice)
(800) 927-9275 (TTY)
Legislation and Rights
Q: I feel I may have been discriminated against because of my disability when I
was looking for housing. What are my rights? Can I file a complaint?
- A: Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, discrimination in housing is
prohibited because of handicap.
Q: How soon should you start planning for the housing needs of your disabled child?
- A: You should start planning as soon as possible. Please review the following editorial to better understand the lack of housing for younger individuals with disabilities: Assisted Living for the Disabled.
Wisconsin Apartment Rental
Q: I have recently been asked to vacate my apartment, but I have lost my income and am waiting for disability? What can I do?
- A: Milwaukee Young Lawyers Association (MYLA) provides callers free legal information regarding landlord/tenant law in the State of Wisconsin. Fourteen pre-recorded topics such as "Return of security deposits," "Evictions," "Promises to repair," are available 24 hours per day at (414)272-MYLA (Voice). An automated help-line informs callers where they can find additional help where volunteer attorneys staff the phone on Tuesday evenings between 5:00-7:00PM. For this hotline, call (414)274-6767 (Voice).
Q: What is the difference between public housing, Section 8 housing and subsidized housing?
- A: Public housing is low-income rental housing that is administered through your state's housing authority. This type of housing is often located in one central area, disallowing renters from deciding the location.
To learn more about your state's public housing program, contact your local housing authority.
- A: Section 8 housing is a program administered by your state's housing authority in which an individual receives a voucher certifying that the government will pay for part of the rent and / or mortgage payment. Renters / homebuyers locate and choose their own housing.
To learn more about the Section 8 voucher program, visit HUD's Housing Choice Vouchers Fact Sheet or contact your local housing authority.
- A: Subsidized housing is a program that provides subsidies to rental property owners so that they may offer lower rental rates to low-income individuals and families. Rent is often based upon household income. Subsidized housing is located in various locations.
To find a listing of subsidized apartment complexes in your area, visit your local HUD Office.
Q: I am desperately looking to move out of an apartment and looking for accessible low income housing.
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[Originated July 31, 2002, Updated June 30, 2016]
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