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CL Press Release on new legislation

Legislation threatens housing complex for people with severe
physical disabilities

Monday, March 6, 2006

COLUMBUS - In recently proposed legislation, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has inadvertently threatened the housing options for Central Ohio higher education students with severe physical disabilities. This proposal intends to prohibit student-athletes with athletic scholarships from receiving Section 8 rental assistance; assistance that allows students, regardless of financial need, to live at a greatly reduced price in government housing while exempting those students over 24, married, veterans or those who have dependents. However the legislation has failed to exempt students with disabilities. Senator Harkin has put in jeopardy the housing options for students with disabilities. Several are tenants of Creative Living, and ultimately, this legislation threatens the core of the organization as a whole.

Creative Living is a non-profit organization based in Columbus, Ohio that, for the past 31 years, has promoted independent living for adults with severe physical disabilities. Operating two housing complexes next to The Ohio State University campus, the organization has two HUD approved preferences of, one, having a disability of a permanent nature and in a wheelchair, and two, pursuing job training or educational goals. The majority of Creative Living’s applicants for residency are under the age of 24 and receive funding from the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR). This funding pays for educational supplies including books, computers, and resident assistants, among other necessities. With the new legislation, this funding will be counted as income and would increase rent to an unaffordable level for students with disabilities.

In essence, Senator Harkin and the members of congress who approved the bill are displacing people with disabilities. With the current mandates this legislation holds, several students would have to find alternative housing immediately, the remainder of the residents would have to declare BVR funding as income, increasing their rent to an excessive level. For those who must leave the facility, few options exist and none are as highly desirable as the supportive environment Creative Living provides. Many residents would be forced into nursing facilities which is not only a more costly alternative but is a step backwards for these students striving for their independence.

Simply by reopening the legislation and allowing “individuals with disabilities” to be added to the exemption list, students in need of protection against such statutes will be afforded another small victory in the constant struggle to get the assistance they so desperately need.

Creative Living exists as a non-profit organization to encourage independent living for adults with severe physical disabilities. We provide wheelchair accessible housing and assistance and create a supportive environment for people in which to learn, live and contribute to the community. The unique resident assistant program provides residents with on-call assistance around the clock every day of the year.

 

 

 
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