WXXI AM News

Accessible Housing

Ericka Jones

When Erica Jones looks for a place to call home, her must-haves are non-negotiable.

“Can I get through the front door? Are there steps? And can I get inside the bathroom and turn around?" she asked. 

Jones uses a wheelchair, so space is important.

“If I can't maneuver the bathroom, that deems the entire apartment unlivable,” she said.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 made public spaces more accessible, but many of the civil rights law’s regulations don’t apply to residential housing.


More than 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), finding accessible housing remains a challenge for people with disabilities. As WXXI host and reporter April Franklin reports, many of the regulations that fall under the ADA do not apply to residential housing. That leaves the number of accessible and affordable units limited. This hour, we explore the state of accessible housing with our guests:

  • April Franklin, "Weekend Edition" host and reporter for WXXI News
  • Catherine Lewis, director of the Disability Services Office in the Department of Student Affairs at RIT
  • Stephen Beard, realtor and accessibility specialist at Keller Williams Realty in California 
  • Ericka Jones, disabled community member

This story is part of Dialogue on Disability Week, a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies in conjunction with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community Series.

Sasha-Ann Simons / The Innovation Trail

Jensen Caraballo has spinal muscular atrophy type 2, and he's used a wheelchair since he was a kid. He's also on a fixed income.

Though Rochester, New York often ranks high on lists of cities with the most affordable housing in the United States, for Caraballo, affordability isn't his only criteria.

"You know, if they're accessible there just not affordable and if they're affordable there just not integrated with everyone else.”