October 30, 3:14 AMAtlanta Low Income Issues ExaminerDannis Cole
If you are moving to Atlanta, you may be thinking, more jobs, more services, more choices. Oh, yes, Atlanta is a great place to live! There are more disability services, and more jobs. But, there is also more competition for all of this. MARTA gives a way to cut your transportation costs by a good bit, but food may be more expensive than rural areas, while gas may be cheaper. Car repair is available in many price ranges. There are many, many free things to do here. But, getting into low-income housing is tough. It takes patience, and planning.
On the Internet, you can find help for this daunting task. For a database of low-income housing, there is HUD's Web Site. Lists of resources vary from public housing, which is scaled to income, and you live among other low-income folks; subsidized housing, in mixed-income complexes; and various programs designed to help you afford a house of your own. Each program has its own set of rules. Accessible housing has its own difficulties, because accessibility definitions seem to vary with each place to live! People with disabilities vary in what they need. You must make sure that you explain your needs, and ask your independent living center or occupational therapist for advice. There are low-cost ways to make a regular place into an accessible one, depending on what's needed. Another excellent site is GA Housing Search. Listings here have details, if given by the landlord, of accessibility. Some that don't include this can be accessible; many landlords don't know much about how accessible their apartments are.
You can get ideas from NPR's article about Concrete Change that addresses visitability, or the ability of a person with mobility handicaps to enter a building. If you visit the Concrete Change website, there is a cornucopia of information on how to make a house accessible. A new house can be outfitted for about $200.00, more or less. Yes, the decimal point is in the right place. If you know a house builder, spread the word. For a building under construction, the small changes to make it accessible are cheap! For rentals, there are portable ramps that you can take with you when you move, and ways to use your furniture to help yourself. A portable ramp is preferable to a built one; a permanent ramp usually causes housing values in the whole neighborhood to go down. Aluminum ramps don't require rebuilding every few years, they don't rust, and require no maintenance. There are also ramps made of old tires that do not degrade. Wood ramps require maintenance; what if the recipient isn't able to sand and paint, or even to bend far enough to inspect for termites, etc.?
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Check out the page on Examiner.com for links to all sorts of help! Links to the right, under the ad blocks, are your key to finding low income services of all sorts in metro Atlanta.