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Limited Accessible Housing Opportunities In Detroit-Shoreway For Disabled People

Kelly Margaret Heikkila throws light on the limited housing opportunities for disabled community members and emphasizes the need to provide accessible housing for them.

May 23, 2023

One of the best things about the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood is its accessibility. Kelly Margaret Heikkila says that she can take different bus routes from where she lives. Moreover, there are parks, the beach, and a diverse community supporting each other.

Kelly Margaret is disabled by birth. She is deaf in the left ear, has autism, and is visually impaired. She never made a big deal out of her disabilities. She aimed to self-accommodate at work and disclose as little about her disabilities as she can.

Later on, a snowstorm hit Cleveland in February 2022 and there was a shutdown in the city. Due to the shutdown, Kelly stayed at the hotel for a week where she used to work. She was desperate to get to her home because her cats were trapped in the cottage. Consequently, she took an Uber but got tripped and there was a massive blood clot behind her knees. While Kelly stayed at the hospital for a week, she had to give up on her job.

During my stay at the hospital, Kelly took the help of a walker to go to the bathroom and wondered how to get into the door of the one-floor house. She was grateful that her apartment was at the ground level but she was thinking of people who have permanent mobility issues. How do they manage to find accessible housing and if yes, are they able to afford it or not?

It was then she realized the need to look for accessible housing for the ones who had permanent mobility issues. She started researching such apartments on Google and managed to find some. Finding such apartments is easy but finding affordable apartments is difficult. She headed to the Northwest Neighborhoods CDC which was in charge of offering low-rent homes to community members in need. Kelly was eager to know how many housing units they have for disabled individuals with mobility issues.

Josh Forbes told her about 15 buildings being offered as affordable housing. Out of these 15 buildings, only five buildings have elevators, and 18 housing units are designed for people with wheelchairs. The seniors and disabled need to have vouchers to live in the apartments above Gordon Square Arcade.

Kelly Margaret came across an organization known as the Northeast Ohio Coalition of Disability Organizations (NOCDO). This organization includes fifty different organizations in Cleveland and they aim to serve the disabled people.

One of the organizations included in the NOCDO is MaxHousing. The main goal of MaxHousing was to provide affordable housing to disabled community members.

Beth Glas, Vice President of MaxHousing says, “ The waiting list for our units in Cleveland is about 40 people”. The accessible housing units are the ones that have pre-equipped things like rollout shelving, lower counters, level handles, lower switches, and roll-in showers. Beth informed Kelly that the Fair Housing Act legally covers accessible housing for private residences.

There are different rules and regulations for the apartments getting Federal Funding and offer more protection than private residencies under the Fair Housing Act. With plenty of individuals on Supplemental Security Income, it can be difficult to get a home with limited income.

Even if you find a home, then the cost of making it accessible will be on the disabled individual which in turn can be burdensome.

Kelly Margaret considers herself fortunate enough to have a good family and friends on which she can depend. She feels that if we want to make the community inclusive and beloved, then including disabled members is a must. She hopes the Detroit-Shoreway community can open the doors of the future to disabled community members.

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The content provided in this article draws inspiration and includes quotes from various reputable sources, including news articles, government data, and interviews. Affordable Housing 411 strives to ensure accuracy and credibility, but the information presented may be based on some external sources. We encourage readers to refer to the referenced materials for more in-depth insights and verification.

Heikkila Margaret Kelly. “Limited: searching for affordable mobility-accessible housing in Detroit-Shoreway”. Thelandcle, May 23, 2023, Limited: searching for affordable mobility-accessible housing in Detroit-Shoreway – The Land (

Last Updated: September 20, 2021