NH’s Disabled Communities Call for Priority Access to Affordable Housing
Members of New Hampshire’s disability communities called on the state to prioritize affordable and supportive housing for people with disabilities at a press conference in Concord on Tuesday.
Many speakers noted the high rate of adults with disabilities in New Hampshire living with aging parents, due to the lack of other housing options.
“Living alone is important to me. It’s a matter of dignity, ”said Forrest Beaudoin-Friede, member of the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities. “Tell me what other protected class of citizens should live their whole lives with their parents?” “
The call for more social and affordable housing precedes a public hearing by New Hampshire Housing on Wednesday on the state’s qualified allocation plan, which helps determine which developers get the funding to build units in New Hampshire. This is the process that defines how tax credits will be allocated to qualifying affordable rental housing development proposals from potential developers.
ABLE New Hampshire, a justice organization for people with disabilities, submitted recommendations to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority. Some of the recommendations focus on the skilled allocation plan, hoping that the outcome will prioritize the housing needs of people with disabilities.
“We will be at this public hearing with other members of the disability community to once again advocate for our cause. And we hope that they will adopt more of our recommendations, ”said Lisa Beaudoin, Executive Director of ABLE.
The recommendations come as ABLE NH realizes that many members of its community are at risk of becoming homeless. In an informal survey the organization conducted with more than 300 participants, 68 percent of family caregivers said their loved one is currently at risk of becoming homeless.
And with more money flowing into New Hampshire through the US bailout and the recently passed infrastructure bill, Lisa Beaudoin says now is the time to make sure funding reaches people with disabilities.
ABLE NH wants housing projects to adopt a universal design, that is, housing built to accommodate all people, regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. The group also recommends meeting support staff and on-site housing needs for them. ABLE NH also calls on the state housing authority to recognize the unique needs of people with disabilities and not lump them into an incredibly large population of “underserved populations and communities”.
A spokesperson for New Hampshire Housing said the agency received the ABLE’s recommendations on Monday and they would be discussed at Wednesday’s meeting.
the the public hearing is Wednesday at 3 p.m., and can be attended virtually or in person.