COLUMBIA - A new housing complex unveiled Monday includes eight accessible apartments for people with disabilities.
The Boone Point Apartments opened to tenants this month. The complex includes two locations, with 32 total units.
"There is such a lack of affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities and this is a step in the right direction," said Boone County Family Resources (BCFR) Executive Director Robyn Kaufman. "A year ago, when we were deciding to build this, we wanted to offer an affordable, accessible solution for people who didn't have many."
Kaufman said all units were designed to meet needs of tenants with various disabilities, but eight are designed specifically for people with physical disabilities. Those apartments include widened doorways, large showers, and sinks with room to roll under, for a tenant with a wheelchair.
Max Lewis moved into his new apartment at Boone Point Central last week. He said the independence and freedom of having his own apartment changed his life.
"It feels like the first day that I've taken a step towards being independent. I'm breaking the barrier of public housing and living on my own."
Lewis also serves on the BCFR Board of Directors. He said he hopes the Columbia community makes building more accessible housing a priority.
"I hope the community will dive in and help us. Help ease the problem and making housing more affordable for other individuals. Not just the fortunate ones like myself living here, but all individuals. All individuals want to live in their own place they can call home."
Kaufman said her agency noticed people with disabilities spending as much as 70 percent of their monthly income on housing.
"I want everyone to think about what it would be like if you had to spend 70 percent of your money on your living situation. What decisions would you have to make?"
Kaufman said space in both facilities filled up rapidly and there is already around 25 people on the waiting list.
State Representative Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, says the wait-list shows more housing is needed.
"This is an issue in a lot of places, not just Columbia. And it's great that we can do this for individuals that need housing to give them more independence," Basye said. "People don't think about this type of thing, but people with disabilities need more of our help and more of our attention and we need to give it to them."