Fiona lives in San Francisco, she is the Director of Systems Change at Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco and serves on the San Francisco The Long Term Care Housing Task Force, which The Kelsey also participates in.
“Growing up in San Francisco’s Richmond District, I feel pretty lucky to live here. Work is close, and there are things like Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park nearby. Most places are easy to get to, which is nice for me, but I think it’s something everyone could appreciate. I could use more independence outside the house, but it works; I’m 30 and I live with my parents. They also double as my caregivers, and it’s been like this all my life.
While I have all I need, it required a major renovation of my childhood home. It was a huge undertaking for our family, took over a year, and wasn’t cheap. So why does this feel like the only option for chair-users like me who need greater accessibility at home? It requires people to have a family home, the financial resources to renovate, and parents who can provide caregiving. Those three things are hard to come by for most people.
When people with disabilities everywhere in the Bay Area are struggling to find affordable, accessible housing, living with my parents isn’t so bad. When I talk with people about housing, most are unable to find suitable options for their needs. Even the friends of mine who do live independently are forced to settle for something less ideal because of the lack of housing options.
Housing isn’t accessible in San Francisco for people with disabilities, and it should be. Everyone deserves a home. We need more universally designed places, and not just the kind that say they are “accessible” but lack access features such as automatic door openers. To me, universal design benefits everyone because we are all going to age. And, ideally housing can be inclusive so that we all have the opportunity to create community. This solution is one that can be advantageous to not only people with disabilities, but truly useful for everyone.”
Stories by The Kelsey are collected to illustrate the housing issues facing people with disabilities and elevate the voices of adults with disabilities and their families. If you’d like to share your housing story, contact us today.