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Shortage of accessible housing leaves disabled Detroiters with few options

ID: “Baba” Baxter Jones in the yard outside the Coronado Apartments, where he’s lived since 2013. Photo credit: Aaron Mondry. Jones is wearing a black hat, white shirt, and dark-colored pants. He is sitting in a wheelchair in a garden. There is a tree, plants, and a brick building in the background.

The city has higher rates of disability than the state and country but less accessible housing. It’s causing people to live in substandard conditions or leave the city altogether.

Dessa Cosma founded Detroit Disability Power in 2018 to organize those in the city’s disabled community towards political and social change. Despite the lack of data, she’s seen enough through years of organizing to know Detroit’s housing stock is not meeting the demands for accessibility.

“We get calls all the time from people who need help finding accessible housing,” she said. “I’m certain we don’t have enough accessible housing. You have old, pre-ADA housing stock, disinvestment in infrastructure and higher rates of people with disability in cities with high rates of poverty. It’s just logical.”

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