Wheelchair-Using Mom Shares Her Story of Accessible Housing Challenges

Domonique Howell has spent her entire life trying to locate a place to live that she can afford and get to in her wheelchair. It’s always been difficult, Howell said. She claims that this difficulty frequently deprives people of their dignity.

β€œIn every house or apartment I’ve ever lived in up until this point, which is only the last five years, I’ve had to either leave my chair outside of the bathroom or leave it in a hallway or another room and either be carrying it in the bathroom or have a commode-like toilet in my room, which is inhumane,” said Howell.

Howell juggles being a seasoned disability advocate with taking care of her nine-year-old daughter at their Philadelphia home. She even received the title of 2023 Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania. Howell traveled to Washington, D.C., on Thursday to give a testimony about her experiences before the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

β€œMy entire life, I had to make the decision between accessibility and affordability as so many other Americans with disabilities do,” Howell testified. Members of the committee talked about potential answers.

VITAL Act Would Increase Financing for Accessible Housing

The Visitable Inclusive Tax Credits for Accessible Living Act, or VITAL Act, is a Democratic-backed proposal that would increase financing for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program and ensure that more accessible housing units are being built by developers. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who is the bill’s Senate sponsor, spoke with our Washington news bureau.

β€œWhat we want to do is take the existing low-income tax credit and strengthen it, add more funding so that we can up the dollar amounts for the credits and also to help developers in their efforts to develop more of these properties that have accessible features to them,” said Casey.

β€œThis hearing gave us a chance to spotlight the fact that sometimes as simple as having doorways that are wide enough for a wheelchair or other features in a home can provide that kind of accessibility that everyone should have a right to expect.”

Republicans on the committee claimed that in order to lower inflation and increase home affordability, the federal government should execute expenditure cutbacks and adopt fiscal measures.

Republicans also warned against overburdening the housing industry with bureaucracy.

KIRO 7 posted a tweet that confirms the news:

β€œWe ought to minimally have a guideline of regulations that are going to help, not make it even worse,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN). Disability advocates also cited housing obstacles brought on by municipal zoning laws, which occasionally prevent developers from constructing more housing units suitable for those with impairments.

They encouraged Congress to take into account providing monetary incentives for local governments to change zoning regulations in specific circumstances. Howell, on the other hand, expressed her gratitude for bringing attention to a pressing issue.

β€œI think it’s important to have people with disabilities at the table to understand our stories, understand what the lack of accessibility has done to our quality of life,” said Howell.

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Louis Ebert

Louis Ebert is a talented content writer with a passion for creating compelling stories and informative articles. With years of experience in writing, Louis has honed their skills in crafting engaging content that resonates with readers.As a content writer for Focushillsboro.com, Louis explores the many facets of life in Hillsboro and the surrounding areas. From delving into the latest trends in local business to highlighting community events and leaders, their writing offers a unique perspective that captures the essence of the area.

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