Jennifer’s Housing Story

Jennifer, white young lady staring at camera with her dog. She is smiling at camera.

My name is Isaac Haney-Owens and I'm a Communications Fellow at The Kelsey collecting and sharing the housing stories of people with disabilities. People in our legislature, our city government, the Mayor, and people who give money to housing issues don't often think about people with disabilities. This is because they aren't aware of all the ways the lack of affordable housing affects people with disabilities. The housing stories I collect and share show the different housing issues people with disabilities face, and what we care about when we are looking for our own place in the community. I hope the stories create action, more options, and additional resources for disability-inclusive housing.

“I’ve worked at Safeway for 13 years. Now, I think I’m ready to live on my own. It feels like the right next step since it’s been something on my mind. So far I’ve thought about living in San Francisco or Santa Cruz. While I haven’t moved out yet, I know that I want to live in a big city. I want to live near work, hang out with friends, and walk places. Since I started taking the bus, I have learned how to navigate public transit which has helped me get to work independently. Living in a city would also be great so I could live nearby friends to go places with because the community is important to me. I want to be able to have friends over, and maybe host a potluck in a community room. With living in a big city, we could watch an Oakland A’s or San Francisco Giants game on the weekend.

My mom supports me and takes care of my grandma who lives in Oakland. Since my grandma has gotten older, she’s 90 now, and more of my friends move away, I’ve thought more about housing. I’m not sure what will happen to me if something happens to my mom or grandma. I’ve been placed on a Section 8 waitlist, but it’s been over two years. I just applied for a new place last month, but I’m not sure how long it might be until they pick residents, since it’s not built yet. After talking with my Regional Center caseworker, they told me any housing in the Bay Area would be too expensive, so I’m still not sure how I can afford it.

My friends and I have talked about living on our own. My friend Rachael and Will have also talked about it, and seeing Isaac do it is cool. But I still wish there were more affordable housing options, so I could live near my mom and my brother but in my own place.

#MyOwnHome story meant overcoming obstacles, never losing hope, finding a group of friends that embrace me, and supporting myself at all costs. In recognizing my privilege in having a housing, I am eager to advocate for affordable, accessible, and inclusive housing for everyone, not just a select few.”