Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mortgage Foreclosures and People with Disabilities. Information Bulletin #356 (4/2012) On Sunday, April 22, 2012, Secretary of HUD, Shaun Donovan, met with several hundred ADAPT members in Washington, D.C. During a lively question and answer period, one suggestion particularly raised our interest and we wanted to share it. This suggestion to Secretary Donovan came via ADAPT member Eleanor Smith founder of Concrete Change. Several million families have lost their homes to mortgage foreclosures in the past few years. Many of these foreclosed homes stand vacant. These homes are owned by HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and/or many, many banks. Here is a suggestion that could have a direct impact on people with disabilities who need accessible housing. HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Banks which hold these foreclosed homes should: 1. Identify (and publicize) which of these homes have a “no step” entrance and/or a one-step entrance. 2. Prioritize these homes, using the no step properties before the one step units. 3. Identify those foreclosed homes which also have a bathroom where the door entrance could be widened to 32” without moving a wall. Those identified properties are the easiest and cheapest to make minimally accessible. 4. Require that this basic access be built into the resale of each foreclosed home. 5. Those identified properties should be advertised to people (and families) with disabilities who need accessible homes. 6. Funds for both making these units accessible and for purchasing them exist in your local and state-wide HOME Investment Partnership program and the Community Development Block Grant program and probably other programs. 7. Tax credits (banks always like those) and tax deductions are available to meet accessibility costs. If your community has addressed this issue, please send us information. Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues Back issues of other Information Bulletins are available online at with a searchable Archive at this site divided into different subjects. As of August, 2010, Information Bulletins will also be posted on my blog located at To contact Steve Gold directly, write to or call 215-627-7100. Ext 227.

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