Disability Rights | VideoAmy Fox | 1/17/2013
ďAt any moment, anyone of us could become a person with a disability, if we arenít now. And, the likelihood of that happening with the population aging increases,Ē said North Dakota Protection and Advocacy Project Executive Director Brent Askvig.
Thatís why the Center on Disabilities and the North Dakota Protection and Advocacy Project is discussing several bills that could affect those with disabilities. Askvig said, ďItís not only helping to clarify the issues, itís being able to read though some of the legal issues and documents in the legislative bills that are being proposed, and itís also providing skills and information to people.Ē
"Any time we can get a united voice, we`re going to make an impact,Ē said Dawn Olson, Independence Inc. Independent Living Specialist. ďThe problems are I think, that people kind of sometimes give up and say, ĎWhatís the use?í We`ve been complaining and talking about this for so long and nothing ever gets done. So, I think sometimes they`re just kind of surrender to the whole thing."
It doesn`t matter if it`s creating lower level apartment units, flatter surfaces for wheelchairs or wider doorways, it`s all about creating more accessible housing. "Many people with disabilities are on a fixed income and they have difficulty affording the rent that is out there. And, then, accessible housing is extremely short," said Olson.
But, as Askvig explains, there may be a bill that could help. ďBill 1083: they`re looking at the bill for housing finance for multi-family units. They`re looking to either give tax credits or breaks to either the developers or those folks that are trying to access that housing, so that the higher costs of construction, the higher costs of materials, today, to be passed on directly to the individuals with higher rent."
In addition to housing, bills on employment and healthcare are also being introduced in the House and Senate this session. The group will hold a legislative forum Friday at Minot State University to discuss disability rights.