Housing is one of the most critical access problems facing seniors and disabled people in San Francisco. The homelessness and subsequent death toll of our elderly and sick population is exploding. It is a crisis that many are aware of, but few know what to do about it. I hope to change that with some information shared on this page.
!DISABILITY RIGHTS FOR ACCESS DO NOT APPLY
TO RENT CONTROLLED APARTMENTS!
One thing that continues to shock people (understandably) is that rent controlled apartments are not required to be accessible.
This is because the Fair Housing Act of 1990 only requires NEW units built after March 13th,1991 to be accessible. Since rent control laws were established for units built on or before 1979, this doesn't apply to them.
So what does this mean?
If you are in a rent controlled unit and you get injured or disabled, you're pretty screwed.
If you are living on SSI disability income (around $950/month), you won't be able to afford post-1991 ADA accessible housing.
If you are severely disabled on SSI you are going to be homeless unless you have special circumstances (i.e. had rent control prior to being disabled, help from family members, or something like that).
To be severely disabled in San Francisco is to be homeless.
Mr. Oglander of the SF Human Rights Commission gave this must watch presentation on disability rights and housing.
These presentations can be a little dry but I learned so much from this one, it's hard to put into words how helpful is.
Image: cover of the January SF Street Sheet. Shows a woman with blue hair and bright orange and yellow colors with the word "Fearless" on the bottom
Departments and volunteers In San Francisco try to keep track of how many homeless residents there are by doing what they call a "Point in Time count" each year.
Note, that these figures are extremely conservative. Much of the homeless population is hard to see from the street, live in alleys and under bridges away from danger. These statistics give some insight though.
2019 Homeles Point in Time Count (PDF link)
8,035 Total Homeless
(Point in Time, 2019 SF official statistic)
24% said disability was the major obstacle to gaining employment = 1,928 people
74% Health Condition = 5,946 people
27% Physical Disability = 2,169 people
31% Chronic Health problems
15% Have brain injury
07% Auto-immune disease such as AIDS/HIV
10% Seniors (over 61) = 803
13% Said homeless from eviction