Columbia Inclusive Housing

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Inclusive Housing Development Corporation joined the Columbia Inclusive Housing Team Thursday night to discuss the need for equal housing rights for people with disabilities.

The executive director for MIHD, Wayne Crawford, said the team was formed in order to be a voice for people whose voices don’t always get heard.

“It’s not only affordable housing, but it's universally accessible housing, it's safe housing, it’s housing that makes a person inclusive to the community,” Crawford said.

Two of the biggest topics discussed were affordability and safety for housing.

“When you are on a limited income and when you are trying to better your life and rise out of poverty and the rent is above your ability to pay with your income stream, you have nowhere to live, and we see people now struggling to come up with enough money,” Crawford said.

He said the first step for the team to create change among the community is to create a goal.

The team worked on its goal of “developing quality, affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities in safe locations where they can access support services, transportation,employment, and recreation throughout their lifespan.”

Even though the team all came together to advance the resources given to people with disabilities, some were hesitant of using the word affordable because what is affordable for one family might not be the same for another family.

The Housing Team said most people who have a disability are struggling to make ends meet.

“It is really difficult for them to afford housing for one and they have to spend almost all of their income on their rent, which doesn’t leave money for many other things,” Columbia Inclusive Housing Team member Lara Wakefield said.

Also, it was stated in the meeting that people who can’t afford certain areas have to live in low income areas, which in some cases have a higher crime rate.

Wakefield said some people are forced to live with their parents or other family members because they are not able to sustain housing by themselves.

“As their parents age, then they have issues, because parents will pass away and then those individuals are left trying to figure out what they will do for their own independent living,” Wakefield said.

She said she has witnessed her brother go through this before.

“He was vulnerable to things and overly trusting potentially and so he was taken advantage of a lot or he might forget to lock his door,” Wakefield said.

However, she said even though some houses have alarm systems, a person still has to remember to set it and that can still be worrisome.

At the next meeting, the group will discuss who will be the leader and secretary for the group on May 10.