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For people with disabilities, their advocates, families, and service providers, trying to access affordable housing in the community is a difficult task. This is especially true today. Reductions in federal funding for affordable housing programs, and changes in how these affordable housing programs operate, are affecting who will benefit from these programs in the future.

In the face of pressures to balance the federal budget, in an effort to limit the role of the federal government in housing, and in the wake of welfare reform, the future of affordable housing is under scrutiny and debate at the federal, state, and local level. The outcome of this debate is likely to be less funding for new affordable housing, less affordable housing targeted to the very poor, and greater state and local discretion over who gets access to affordable housing assistance.

In this context, it is critical that the disability community assess and quantify the affordable housing needs experienced by people with disabilities in their communities. The measure of housing need is, in large part, the means for deciding who gets affordable housing assistance. Quantifying and describing the acute housing need experienced by people with disabilities is an invaluable first step in the effort to advocate for additional housing assistance. With good data, people with disabilities, their advocates, families, and service providers can convincingly make the case for needed affordable housing at the local, state, and federal level. (Opening Doors)
Opening Doors
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services