Wheelchair access is an entrance or ramp that makes it easier for people with physical disability to enter their houses without facing obstacles. This would have been a welcome development for people living with disabilities if a majority of houses had one. However, this is not the case as seen by the numerous statistics available from different surveys. As at 2020, there were 15.2 million households with a physical disability in the USA but only 6.6 million homes were livable to people with moderate mobility difficulties. Of this 6.6 million homes, only 1.2 million homes were occupied by people with physical disabilities. This paints a dreary picture of things and gives an answer to the question. Many houses do not have wheelchair access.
Challenges faced by people with disabilities in finding suitable housing
People living with disabilities have it tougher than able-bodied people finding suitable housing. The challenges are as follows;
Afforability and accessibility
For people living with physical disabilities, accessibility is of paramount importance when searching for a new home. No matter how attractive or affordable the price is, an an inaccessible home is unsuitable for the tenant. Housing cost may also represent a significant burden on the finances of the renter. This is because people living with physical disabilities earn lower in comparison with their able-bodied counterparts and are unable to find suitable accommodation for lower rents. It is actually safe to say that while housing accessibility is improving very slowly, it comes with a price that is unaffordable to many people with disabilities.
Reluctance of housing providers to build accessible homes
For many housing providers, building houses to the specific requirements may seem a little more expensive and less profitable to construct. They seem to have their hands full with just providing accommodations for the able bodied people who are also desperate to acquire affordable accomodations. Hence, some developers may feel it is a waste of space to build a bungalow in a spot that can accommodate a four storey building.
Moreover, with the increasing jostle for limited space, it may be impossible for developers to satisfy all the accessibility requirements of people with disabilities especially if the house is expected to be affordable. Since most disabled persons earn less generally, housing providers may believe that specifically catering for the housing needs of the disabled may reduce their profit margin by a great chunk. Hence, their reticence to working on housing facilities more suitable for persons living with disabilities.
These are the plights of people living with physical disabilities. We can only hope that the future holds a better plan for housing people living with disabilities.