Home is Where the Heart-land Is: Rural Housing Solutions


Karen Michalski-Karney

How Blue Ridge ILC has begun to address housing for rural consumers.

Resources for housing solutions in rural areas.

More about how we as a movement can continue to address housing for people with disabilities. 




State of Rural Housing


Bob Williams

Unpacking these complicated issues surrounding housing and move forward as a community towards solution focused thinking.  Although our focus is housing in rural areas, we acknowledge that these issues are not isolated to rural and so we welcome everyone to participate in the conversation.  We discussed: Themes for future discussions and trainings, emerging practices, and success stories from the field, beginning a framework for working together as a community to address housing as a barrier. 




Fair Housing Act Training


Dylan Richardson

Don Dew

Moving out may look easy, but there’s a lot you need ot know before you look for a place of your own. 

Learn the terminology needed to understand before you move out.

Your relationship with your landlord.

Making your home usable for you.

Managing landlor/tenant conflict.

What to find affordable housing.


Advocating for Basic Home Access


Dot Nary, Darren Larson

Discover new ways to address rural housing issues and how they can be used by transitioning consumers and to increase community participation.

Hear what studies say about how “invisitable” homes contribute to social isolation and how “vistable” homes contribute to meaningful relationships, healthy communities, and greater participation. 

Learn how to develop your own housing task force to advocate for visitability.

Learn how to use the research to engage stakeholders and begin creating “visitable” housing in your area. 

Discover how a recent study is documenting the far-reaching and negative effects of invisitable homes on the lives of people with mobility-related disabilities. 



Rural Housing Solutions


Jeff Hughes, Debie Fidler, Pam Pulchny, Craig, Henning



APRIL Annual Conference

Home Usability to Support Community Living: Results and Next Steps from the PICL Project 

Lillie Greiman, Sarah Heldman, and Becky Strieff 


In this workshop attendees will learn about the results of the home usability research project and explore how your center can start your own program. Attendees will hear success stories about how home usability made an impact on consumers' lives and ability to live independently, how home usability can complement existing home modification programs, and explore possible funding strategies.


The Home Usability Program | Life starts at home. (umt.edu)


Growing Partnerships to Improve Housing Options for People with Disabilities

Regina Blye, Georgina Alvarez, Brooke Curtis, Daniel Davis


Rising housing costs in rural communities makes finding and retaining accessible, affordable housing more difficult. While workforce shortages and distances in rural areas can complicate access to home and community-based services, new federal funding provides opportunities for CIL/housing sector collaborations to improve options for affordable, accessible housing and voluntary services. This workshop will have highlights of Central Coast CIL's successful housing partnerships, 2 structured dialogues with participants, and short presentations by experts. Participants will learn about different CIL/housing partnerships, best practices for initiating and sustaining partnerships, and new resources available that partnerships can use.

PDF of Housing Slides





Moving’ Out? Thinking About Getting a Place of My Own


Rebecca Williams, Rene Cummins

Thinking about getting your own place but confused about how to go about it? Knowing your rights and responsibilities will guide you through this process. From applying for a loan to buy a home, to completing apartment applications, to moving in, to paying rent the Fair Housing Act protects people with disabilities. During this interactive workshop you will learn the many ways the Fair Housing Act protects you and how other civil rights laws apply. Your understanding of the Fair Housing Act will move you along in search for a place of your own.






Movin Out Thinking about Getting a Place of My Own

Q&A from the session: 

Q. Can they ask you about being able to do different tasks such as lawn care?

A. If someone is buying a home/condo that includes responsibilities for maintaining a yard a person can be asked whether they will be able to maintain the yard – such as keeping the grass cut, tree limbs cut back so they don’t hang over a sidewalk, leaves raked, etc. The issue is not whether the person buying the house/condo/etc. does the work themselves but will they have a means/way to make sure the work is completed. A person can hire someone to do this work.

Q. Can they ask limit your allowance of time to have caretakers at your unit? (example: overnight caretakers)

A. An individual cannot be limited in the amount of time a caretaker needs to be at the residence to provide services.

Q. Can they ask what type of assistance that you need in relation to your disability?

A. No. Disability related questions are not permitted and a housing provider [landlord, management company, realtor, etc.https://adata.org/factsheet/service-animals">https://adata.org/factsheet/service-animals

While Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals, they are not considered service animals under the ADA. These support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. Even though some states have laws defining therapy animals, these animals are not limited to working with people with disabilities and therefore are not covered by federal laws protecting the use of service animals.  Therapy animals provide people with therapeutic contact, usually in a clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning.

Source: Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals


Under the ADA only service animals are recognized. A person who has an emotional support animal does not have any rights to take their emotional support animal with them into public areas such as a store, restaurant, movie theater, drug store, hair salon, etc. The Fair Housing Act [FHAhttps://www.hud.gov/program_offices/field_policy_mgt/localoffices">Find the address of a HUD office near you

Q. Don't all apartments have to have grab bars?

A. No. There are no requirements in the Fair Housing Act Design and Construction requirements for grab bars in bathrooms in residential units. There is a requirement for units constructed after March 13, 1991 for bathroom walls to be reinforced so grab bars can be installed if needed/requested. If you need grab bars for safety/access you can request to install them [at your expensehttps://www.hud.gov/program_offices/field_policy_mgt/localoffices">Find the address of a HUD office near you

Q. is the FHA/ADA for private housing/private colleges too or just public?

A. The Fair Housing Act applies to publicly funded housing and private housing. It applies to all housing situations including housing on college campuses regardless of whether it is a pubic college/university or a private college/university.

Q. Can a PCA be allowed to live in a dorm with a college student if they need them to?

A. This is a request that would fall under reasonable accommodations under the Fair Housing Act. If a college student needs a live-in attendant they should discuss their needs with the office that provides services to students with disabilities. If the request is denied the college/university would need to show that such a request would impose an undue financial and administrative burden or it would fundamentally alter the nature of the college’s operations. The determination of undue financial and administrative burden must be made on a case-by-case basis involving various factors, such as the cost of the requested accommodation, the financial resources of the provider, the benefits that the accommodation would provide to the requester, and the availability of alternative accommodations that would effectively meet the requester's disability-related needs. When a housing provider refuses a requested accommodation because it is not reasonable, the provider should discuss with the requester whether there is an alternative accommodation that would effectively address the requester's disability-related needs without a fundamental alteration to the provider's operations and without imposing an undue financial and administrative burden. If an alternative accommodation would effectively meet the requester's disability-related needs and is reasonable, the provider must grant it. An interactive process in which the housing provider and the requester discuss the requester's disability-related need for the requested accommodation and possible alternative accommodations is helpful to all concerned because it often results in an effective accommodation for the requester that does not pose an undue financial and administrative burden for the provider.

Source: Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act


Q. Please clarify and confirm that there is never any requirement to show any documentation to prove animal is a service animal. Under the ADA if a person has a disability and has a dog or miniature horse that provides a task (action) related to the person's disability. I have a service dog and will never be required to provide documentation to prove it. I may need to provide documentation that I do indeed have a disability.

A. The ADA and the Fair Housing Act have different requirements when it comes to service animals. Under the ADA a person cannot be required to disclose their diagnosis/type of disability and can only be asked: 1) is that a service animal needed because of a disability, and 2) what jobs/services/tasks has it been trained to do. The Fair Housing Act does permit housing providers [landlords, management companies, HOA/COA, mortgage lenders, real estate agentshttps://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/DOC_7771.PDF">https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/DOC_7771.PDF