My name is Kisha, I live in the city of College Park. As a resident of the state of Maryland, I have held the title of Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2022. I am a college graduate of Prince George’s Community College. I have the pleasure of advocating for myself and the issues that others with disabilities face. My disability is Cerebral Palsy, which affects my mobility like walking long distances or standing and it also affects my fine motor skills in my hands.
As a person with a disability, I have been on several housing waiting lists for more than 5 years. I was facing homelessness due to a major decline in my mobility, I could no longer function in the place I was living. As things changed, I was no longer able to do for myself, and my accessibility needs became more of a challenge for all living in the home. My lack of independence led to other health problems affecting my day-to-day living, and my ability to be an active member of my community. All this combined with being asked to leave the house I began calling homeless shelters, was placed for a weekend, and then moved to a more permanent situation. About six months later I got a call for an available unit that I had applied for and not long after I moved in.
Today I live in an income-based apartment and I am the lease holder. My living environment is accessible for all of my mobility. I am able to live independently. Giving myself a chance to get used to my daily routine took time but I learned how to take care of myself and tell others ways that they could be of help to me. I have the choice to use my wheelchair as my main mobility aid to get around and be the active person I desire.
My pain is managed without medicine and I have recovered most of my abilities that allow me to function independently. Being able to live in an environment that is stable and meets my mobility needs gives me a feeling of peace and has reduced the level of stress and worries that come along with trying to get my basic needs met. With this need handled I no longer have a feeling of lingering depression.
I believe independent rather than group settings allow people with disabilities to have what they need and be able to access the community the way they desire. It needs to be a priority to find a way to get housing for those with a one to three-member household. Lots of people need housing, we need creative ideas to increase housing opportunities.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. I hope you will find nuggets of inspiration to make a change in the community for people with disabilities and their families. Every great moment starts with an idea. Just one idea can be the start of a movement that could bring lasting change. Join Independence Now’s #housingtruthtellers so we can work together to increase housing opportunities!
If you want your story told or you are interested in being a Housing Truth Tellers Activist. Contact Felicia Latimore (Housing and ADA Navigator) at firstname.lastname@example.org.