Hunting for an apartment, in general, can be exhausting. Doing it with a disability in a city like New York presents additional challenges, because let us face it, New York City, and the entire world, is not constructed with the needs of disabled people in mind. If you are disabled, or apartment hunting with someone disabled, you will have to do more research to ensure that you are getting an apartment that is accessible for your/their disability.
You can also look at publications such as AbleNews.com, AbilityMagazine.com, and NewMobility.com, which may have units specifically designed for disabled tenants. Local newspapers, as well as universities, may have a forum or section where you can find accessible apartments.
Market Rate vs. Subsidized Housing
Third, figure out if you qualify for market-rate housing or subsidized housing because of your disability. Many local housing authorities have a lottery system that have preferences to provide housing with individuals with certain disabilities, whether mobility, or cognitive. Rent controlled or rent-stabilized apartments may also be available for disabled renters.
Some excellent resources include the NYC Housing Preservation and Development’s Affordable Housing Guide for Applicants with Disabilities, where renters can read to better understand how to apply for affordable housing. The NYC HPD also has a joint lottery with the Housing Development Corporation – 5% of new developments are set aside for mobility-impaired renters and 2% for those with visual and hearing disabilities. There is also the Breaking Ground program via the NYC HPD website, which also provides subsidized and accessible apartments through a lottery.
Assistance While Applying for Housing
If you feel overwhelmed by your options and need assistance in applying to housing that is accessible for your disability, you can reach out to HPD’s Housing Ambassadors, who can provide information and guide you throughout the application process.
When your Apartment Needs Modifications
When you have found an apartment that meets your criteria but still needs some renovation to suit your needs, you can use the HPD’s Rental Assistance and Home Modification Site which offers you resources on how to get the modifications you need for your accessible apartment. Be sure to be clear with your requests and outline how a potential accommodation can meet your specific needs with your disability.
You can also reach out to Project Equal Access, which will determine whether the landlord can meet your disability accommodation request for the apartment in question. If Project Equal Access determines that it is not possible for the landlord to accommodate your request, they will work with you to find an apartment that is a better fit for you.
Were our tips for how to hunt for disabled-accessible apartments in NYC useful to you? Let us know if you have found a better way to hunt for disabled-accessible apartments in NYC, especially if you found it in an incredibly unique way!