Isaac’s Housing Story

Isaac Haney Owens, a dark-skinned man with a moustache wearing glasses, is pictured painting on a piece of cardboard.

Isaac is the Communications Fellow at The Kelsey working on sharing the stories of people with disabilities. Born in Oakland, raised in Emeryville, and now lives in San Francisco’s East Cut. He is an advocate for Inclusive Housing, an Artist at Creativity Explored (check out his exhibit ‘Cityscape’), and a Member of the Board of Directors for the Golden Gate Regional Center.

For me, I received my housing by luck. After four and a half years, many email exchanges, over 20 apartment applications with multiple housing lotteries, and visits to the Mayor’s Office of Housing, I found housing after being given a housing voucher. It allowed me to join a smaller lottery for others with vouchers and made it possible for me to get into my current home.

Home to me means independence. I feel good being able to pay my own rent, and not having to live with my mom. I just want the same responsibilities that others with non disabilities have. I love my neighborhood because I live walking distance to Philz Coffee and downtown San Francisco where there are many things for me to do and ways to get around even though I prefer walking.

While I enjoy where I live and my freedom, my apartment building doesn’t connect me to anyone in the building. I’ve lived here for almost two years, and I’ve only met one person in my building. Even though I want to talk to people I may see as I pass in the hallway, It’s not easy for me. I’m still working on it.

I think that not knowing people in your building can be easily fixed. It’s just having someone help you make community. I support The Kelsey’s solution to situations like mine. If I have an Inclusion Concierge and Inclusion Hours, I can meet others. Maybe even see them when I walk my dog Jenny. What is nice is that Inclusive Housing is also a way for others, who might not yet have the skills to live on their own, gain more independence, plus it’s affordable for everyone.

More people like me would want to live on their own, they just don’t right now have the option.

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.