Nonprofit helps family find home adapted for disabilities

Christine Sands, right, helps her daughter Kathy Sands with a drink at their home in South Austin on Friday, July 23, 2015. The mother and twin daughters, all with disabilities, live in a home that is equipped to fit most of their needs. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)

Christine Sands, right, helps her daughter Kathy Sands with a drink at their home in South Austin on Friday, July 23, 2015. The mother and twin daughters, all with disabilities, live in a home that is equipped to fit most of their needs. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)

For Linda and Kathy Sands and their mother, Christine, it’s the little things in their home that make the difference.

The 48-year-old twins have cerebral palsy, a disorder that impairs control of movement due to damage to the developing brain, and spend most of their time in modified hospital beds in their South Austin home. Linda is talkative, with a good sense of humor, but Kathy’s disorder is more restrictive and her movement is limited to gestures with her arms.

Christine, 77, has cared for her daughters their entire lives, but suffered a series of mini-strokes in 2007 that made it difficult for her to continue taking care of them. The family now relies more on a professional caretaker, and with the help of Accessible Housing Austin, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities find affordable and accessible housing, moved into a home that better fits their needs four years ago.

The 48-year-old twins have cerebral palsy, a disorder that impairs control of movement due to damage to the developing brain, and spend most of their time in modified hospital beds in their South Austin home. Linda is talkative, with a good sense of humor, but Kathy’s disorder is more restrictive and her movement is limited to gestures with her arms.

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How Housing Policy Is Failing America’s Poor

Section 8 was intended to help people escape poverty, but instead it’s trapping them in it.


A painting by a second-grade class in an Austin apartment where Section 8 vouchers are accepte

When a woman in McKinney, Texas, told Tatiana Rhodes and her friends to “go back to your Section 8 homes” at a public pool earlier this month, she inadvertently spoke volumes about the failure of a program that was designed to help America’s poor.

Created by Congress in 1974, the “Section 8” Housing Choice Voucher Program was supposed to help families move out of broken urban neighborhoods to places where they could live without the constant threat of violence and their kids could attend good schools.

But somewhere along the way, “Section 8” became a colloquialism for housing that is, to many, indistinguishable from the public-housing properties the program was designed to help families escape.

Read the rest on The Atlantic

Apartment association files lawsuit over discrimination ordinance


LaTorie Duncan is grateful to call a house in North Austin home, but getting it didn’t come easily.

“I can’t see somebody else going through what I went through,” said Duncan.

Duncan has a disability and an autistic son. She receives Housing Choice Vouchers, formerly called Section 8. Last year, the house she rented went into foreclosure, leaving her to search for a new home.

“There was like three houses that were for rent on my street and nobody took Section 8. So, I was just kind of surprised, you know and so then I just kept looking and looking. I had like six realtors help me and they were like, ‘Nobody’s accepting section 8,'” said Duncan.

She tried renting at an apartment complex, but still had no luck. “I mean I had my deposit. I had my application fees. I had everything, and I was looking and looking and it was tough.”

Duncan and her son ended up staying with her mom in a one bedroom apartment. She was within two weeks of losing her vouchers when she finally found the house she lives in now.

Read the rest at KVUE.com

Keep Austin Affordable-Disabled Advocates

KEYE Coverage of the Keep Austin Affordable support from advocates for the disabled. Story features Krystal Cates, a woman with Cerebral Palsy who gained affordable and accessible housing as a result of the 2006 City of Austin bond funding.

Last year’s Season for Caring families have a lot to be thankful about today

Last Thanksgiving, Tony Plunkett and his family were living in an unfinished house with one working bathroom, no carpet and no working kitchen sink.

Curtis Dorrell lived in a broken pickup in the parking lot of a hardware store.

Cherie Mitchell and her critically ill toddler, Cody, were close to being evicted.

These were three of the families chosen to be part of last year’s Season for Caring campaign. For 12 years, the Austin American-Statesman’s charity program has helped our featured families and hundreds of other families like them through Central Texas nonprofit agencies. The 13th Season for Caring will begin Sunday.

This Thanksgiving, the Plunkett family is living in a used mobile home purchased with Season for Caring money. Tony Plunkett, 34, says he now loves washing dishes: “That may sound weird coming from a guy. I can wash them in a sink and put them up in the cabinet.”

Read the rest on Statesman.com