Homeownership has never been seriously perceived as a possible housing solution for people with disabilities. It is a problem that has developed over decades—a problem that goes beyond financial concerns to include attitudes, ignorance, myths and stereotypes about where and how people with disabilities can and should live.
Yet, for many people with disabilities, the motivation to own a home is powerful. Homeownership offers control and choice in where and how they live. It provides something of value on which to build financial stability. It is a much preferred alternative to nursing homes, institutions and other restrictive settings that are too often the only other housing options. In their own homes, people with disabilities can put down roots and carry on with their lives, secure in the knowledge that their housing needs are taken care of for the long term.
Recently, more attention has been given to people with disabilities throughout the home-buying process, and financial assistance has become more accessible to them. Down payment and closing cost assistance is vital to helping most consumers with disabilities clear a major obstacle to purchasing a home– having enough money to pay the down payment and closing costs.
Financial assistance is also necessary for people with disabilities to modify their home according to their needs. A seller may be willing to address the necessary repairs but additional accessibility modifications may be required. These modifications can be costly and generally unaffordable to people with disabilities and a low-income. With the help of HOME, CDBG, volunteers, partnerships with home improvement centers, and partnerships with other organizations or local governments, people with disabilities are able to receive the loan products and services necessary to modify their home.
Today, more people with disabilities are becoming homeowners, and more communities are starting to realize the importance of this long overlooked segment of the housing market.
Home of Your Own Guide (PDF)
A Home of Your Own Guide walks prospective home owners through the complex process of buying a home, from the initial decision to make the purchase, through the steps for acquiring a mortgage, and finally, to life as a homeowner. The new guide introduces a “person centered approach” to homeownership, which places people with disabilities at the center of the decision-making process on issues affecting their personal lives and living situations.