Housing Challenges and People with Developmental Disabilities

4 people pictured including 2 men and 2 women.

A place to call home, one that is truly safe and reliable, is the foundation of well-being. But, housing instability ripples out into every part of one’s life, from physical and mental health to financial growth.

For people with developmental disabilities (DD), living independently can be the first step to a life of dignity and fulfillment. But, unfortunately the barriers to achieving stable housing can seem almost insurmountable when you have a DD. As a population that is already disproportionately low-income, the lack of affordable housing is just the start. Many options are not accessible and the path to housing support can be really confusing.

Housing Challenges and People with Developmental Disabilities explores four perspectives in the largely untold story of the ongoing housing crisis in the United States, shedding light on the unique issues faced by individuals with developmental disabilities and their advice on how to make meaningful change.

Why you should watch

  • -Hear first-hand accounts from people with DD and their struggle to find affordable, accessible housing in Colorado;
  • -Gain insight into the significant barriers people with DD face in navigating the housing system;
  • -Learn about the heightened effects that housing instability has on those with DDs; and
  • -Understand the need for the disability perspective when it comes to the government’s response to the housing crisis.

Who should watch

  • Advocates and activists fighting for accessible and affordable housing;
  • Policy-makers addressing the housing crisis;
  • Real-Estate and Housing Professionals endeavoring to create an equitable housing market;
  • Community members invested in equity work; and
  • Social workers and crisis response teams.

Prefer a podcast? Listen to “TALKS 12” for the the full-length podcast

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A Lived Experience Perspective – Struggling to Find Housing: Bob Rhodes, who identifies as a person with autism, other developmental disabilities, and bipolar disorder, offers his perspective into the ongoing challenges he faces locating and securing safe and affordable housing.

A Community Safety Perspective: Courtney Tassin, MA, LPC, Crisis Intervention Program Manager in the Housing and Community Services division of the Aurora Police Department at the City of Aurora, sheds light on the prevalent crisis situations faced by individuals with developmental disabilities due to inaccessible or unsuitable housing. She shares how these circumstances can escalate into dangerous and unsafe situations.

A Legal Perspective: Erica Voisine, Communications and Outreach Manager at Disability Law Colorado and a mother to a child with autism, offers her insights on her past disability housing access grant work. She also discusses the current challenges in the accessible housing landscape and emphasizes the importance of individuals with disabilities making their voices and perspectives heard.

A Lived Experience Perspective – Found Housing: Ron Hutter, who self-identifies as a person with a developmental disability, offers his insight into the challenges he encountered while searching for his current safe and affordable housing. These difficulties arose after the passing of his parents, with whom he had been living with.

This series was made possible through support from arc Thrift Stores, Colorado ACCESS, PASCO, CCDC, Developmental Pathways, CDDC, The Arc of Aurora