Vouchers are the Right Option for Disabled Children
I received an e-mail from a family member that detailed protests by disability rights activists of Sen. John McCain. Here’s some of it:
The 2008 election campaigns have included rhetoric about tax breaks for middle income families, and media coverage has included stories about families who have children with disabilities. Left out of all the election rhetoric are the candidates’ positions on and commitments to those babies with disabilities who grow into adults with disabilities who all-too-often survive on extremely low incomes (less than 30% of the median income). These extremely low incomes are often the fixed benefit amounts of SSI and Social Security.
In 2006, according to Priced Out in 2006, the federal SSI benefit was $603/month and the average cost nationally of renting a studio/efficiency apartment was $633/month.
There are not enough AFFORDABLE, ACCESSIBLE, INTEGRATED housing units to handle the current demand in communities across America. When the Community Choice Act (S 799, H.R. 1621) passes, and older and disabled people can choose to live in their own homes instead of being forced into nursing homes and other institutions, the need for affordable, accessible housing will increase. And as the baby-boomers continue to age, the demand will grow exponentially.
HUD, Congress and the Administration have broken promises, cut funding for housing stock and housing subsidies and enforcement of anti-discrimination housing laws, and simply ignored the nation’s low-income people with disabilities altogether.
ADAPT has established “DUH City” (reverse of HUD) to bring attention to and document the struggle of low income people with disabilities. When the average rent for even an efficiency apartment is more than your monthly income … where do you wind up? All too often you’re forced out on the street or into a nursing home or other institution. DUH!
ADAPT’s tent city will be a typical community complete with its own newspaper, TV coverage, and other services.
For Information Contact;
Randy Alexander (901) 359-4982
Marsha Katz (406) 544-9504
I found this e-mail disconcerting. I have Asperger’s syndrome myself, and I experienced hell from the public school district in the liberal city of Seattle all through my childhood. I think the public school system, as well as public housing and all other programs that turn people from adults into leeches of the state, to be loathsome. I strongly support school vouchers of the kind that have been successful in Sweden.
Barack Obama has said that the call for vouchers is “peddling” on the part of conservatives. In contrast with Obama, John McCain, who the above press release calls for protests of, supports a voucher program. So do most African Americans. A voucher program would allow lower-income parents to send their children to a private school which could specialize in children with disabilities. The opposition to vouchers typically argues that it would take away from mainstream public schools. Do these people protesting McCain really think that mainstream American public schools have worked for the disabled? If they do, they are so profoundly clueless that they’re not worth listening to.
When it comes to many issues, Barack Obama seems better than John McCain. On the issue of how we treat the disabled, however, I believe the people from the above e-mail are barking up the wrong tree. If those with disabilities grew up attending schools with curriculums geared towards them instead of in a public school that just wants to treat them like a round peg being jammed in a square hole, they might gain enough confidence in their own person to not need subsidized apartments.