SDHP welcomes Kathy McCarthy as the new RHC serving Region 9. (Berks, Chester, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Schuylkill) Kathy has brought with her more than 20 years of professional experience to apply as she pursues the goals of SDHP and the RHC program.
Most recently Kathy worked in Chester County government administering funding for programs and activities that benefit low-income and other disadvantaged populations, with a focus on housing affordability and diversity. While at the County, Kathy designed and led a study of housing options for low-income Latino farm workers, which identified a significant need for more decent and affordable housing for very low-income residents.
Kathy also has a passion for ensuring Fair Housing Act compliance among developers, landlords, and municipal leaders. She worked to educate communities about eliminating discriminatory regulations within local zoning ordinances, with particular emphasis on housing access for persons with disabilities.
In 1994 SDHP began as a project to increase housing options for people with disabilities in Pennsylvania. Four years later we realized to move our mission forward we needed to become a 501c3 non-profit and grow our activities.
There have been improvements to the systems that support people with disabilities to live independently in the twenty years since SDHP began, but there is still much work to be done. Overwhelmingly, people with disabilities have their housing choices limited by the lack of accessible, affordable housing and insufficient access to the information needed to make informed choices. SDHP has always worked to ensure people with disabilities have the tools needed to make informed decisions about where and with who they want to live. “My Home, My Choice” was the name of an early SDHP publication. While no longer in print, the theme of “My Home, My Choice” is still very relevant today. At SDHP, we believe everyone has the right to have choice and control about where they live. That belief continues to drive SDHP’s efforts every day. Please explore our website to find out how.
At SDHP, one of our goals is to educate housing and social service providers about Fair Housing, so that disability discrimination becomes a thing of the past. Jeff Fields, Region 10 RHC, recently provided a training for Nursing Home Transition Coordinators covering the Southeast region of the state (See picture). Nursing Home Transition (NHT) is an innovative state program that helps individuals move out of Nursing Homes and into community settings with support. The NHT Coordinators learned about the protected rights of people with disabilities in housing and how to advocate for those rights through reasonable accommodation and modification requests. They also learned about special topics related to service/assistance animals and hoarding. By providing this education to service professionals that serve hundreds of consumers with disabilities who are moving into housing each year, the RHC program is doing its part to celebrate the spirit of the ADA and the FHA in ending discrimination against people with disabilities.
The ADA Legacy Tour is rolling across the country raising awareness and building excitement toward ADA25 – the 25th anniversary of the ADA in 2015!
The past 115 years of the disability rights movement is explored in this unique mobile museum in a modified tractor trailer. There are sections that explain ADAPT (Americans Disabled for Attendant Programs Today) and the transportation struggles, the deaf culture movement, Ed Roberts and Judy Heuman’s journey. Information on the ADA, African Americans with disabilities, and Deinstitutionalization are also presented.
RHC outreach to local landlords increases housing options in rural North Central PA
Developing the trust of landlords is an important way RHC’s increase housing options for many low income people with disabilities. The RHCs have a unique opportunity to dispel many of the misconceptions that landlords may have about renting to older adults and people with disabilities, thereby reducing the landlord’s anxiety around home modifications, reasonable accommodations, and housing choice vouchers.