Ellen Baudler, Director of Housing Access for The Arc Minnesota, has been meeting with members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation to advocate for affordable housing for people with I/DD. She attended the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ “Coffee with Congress” event to discuss housing policy with Sixth District Congressman Tom Emmer. Additionally, she joined members of the Protect Our Homes coalition in a meeting with Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison. Congress is considering massive cuts to housing and it must pass a budget by the end of September.
Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced their support for an affordable housing initiative funded by a bond and a fee on real estate transactions. The Arc California supports this initiative and is also seeking to ensure that people with I/DD have the supports they need to live in the community. Specifically, The Arc California and the Lanternman Coalition propose that the state lease the properties of closed developmental centers, use the revenue to increase the supply of integrated housing, and use the savings from the closure of these developmental centers to fund community-based services.
The Arc California is advocating for passage of two bills to address the state’s shortage of affordable housing. SB 2 would create a $75 fee on real estate transaction documents, up to $255 per transaction, and excluding commercial and residential real estate sales. It passed the Senate 27-12 and has been sent to the Assembly. SB 3 would put a $3 billion housing bond issue on the 2018 state ballot. It passed the Senate 30-7 and is being considered in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.
The Arc Maryland has been advocating for passage of the Home Act of 2017 (HB 172/SB 728). This bill bans discrimination in residential sales and rentals based on source of income. Many people with I/DD face housing discrimination due to their use of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and other public benefits. HB 172 has passed the Maryland House of Delegates and is now pending before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.
The Arc Minnesota and the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities recently organized an advocacy day at the state capitol. Participants made posters of stories showing the need to increase income and asset limits for Medicaid. Guthrie Byard of The Arc Greater Twin Cities spoke in favor of increasing housing assistance, while Steve Larson, Executive Director of The Arc Minnesota, spoke in favor of increased access to consumer-directed community supports.
Executive Director Steven Kroll was recently quoted in an article in Politico entitled: “Developmentally Disabled New Yorkers Face Residential Crunch.” The article highlights the severe shortage of community- based residential placements in New York State and the crisis facing aging caregivers of individuals with I/DD who are unable to help transition their children with I/DD to appropriate placements before they die.