NV Disability Community Feels Lawmakers Are 'Missing the Mark' on Housing
Thursday, April 6, 2023
While some Nevada laws such as Senate Bill 68 aim to increase supportive housing for those with behavioral, mental and physical disabilities, others say such proposals simply do not go far enough when it comes to accessible housing.
Ace Patrick, board member of the Nevada Statewide Independent Living Council, knows firsthand the struggle of having to look for housing. Patrick said not only does more need to be done to get at the root of the problem which many with disabilities face, but lawmakers need to do better in listening to their disabled constituents who have unique challenges.
"I really do believe we need to do more cooperative living here," Patrick contended. "I think we are kind of missing the mark on that. We need more intentional community housing. We need multigenerational housing. We need housing where you have people of all incomes."
Patrick pointed out Betty's Village in Las Vegas, an independent living community for adults with disabilities, is a model for what housing should look like for all disabled Nevadans across the state. The establishment is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Patrick noted as an advocate for their community, they feel issues brought up to Nevada legislators "fall on deaf ears." Patrick commended Asw. Tracy Brown-May, D-Las Vegas, and Asw. Lesley Cohen, D-Henderson, for listening to the concerns of those in the disability community, but realizes it is only two lawmakers out of many.
Patrick added the Nevada Statewide Independent Living Council is aiming to get more individuals with disabilities directly involved in the legislative process.
"We may give public comment, or we may say, 'Hey, this is not going to work for us,' and then the bills get passed," Patrick explained. "What does that say? That said that 'you aren't very significant.' Yes, we allowed you some space to talk, but beyond that we are going to do what we are going to do?"
Patrick added many intellectual and developmentally disabled individuals are struggling to make ends meet on fixed incomes, a problem exacerbated with increasing housing costs. They say many fortunate individuals receive help to pay rent from family members, but added it would not be a permanent fix to the issue.
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