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Addressing housing needs for people with intellectual disabilities

A group in Stevens Point is advocating for more housing that helps adults with intellectual disabilities.
Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 10:31 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - A group in Stevens Point is advocating for more housing that helps adults with intellectual disabilities. They spoke at the Housing Task Force meeting Wednesday night.

The group “Door 2 Dreams” said the housing needs of people with disabilities aren’t being met in Stevens Point. They hope to increase affordability and access to more independent living.

“We’ve looked at the housing that exists and it does not meet the needs,” Door 2 Dreams and Stevens Point Housing Task Force member Mark Petersen said.

Petersen said the city’s housing needs to focus on those with intellectual disabilities.

“We need to create that housing so that they can be in appropriate housing,” Petersen said.

Petersen said many people with disabilities rely on their caregivers for housing, but would rather, and are able to live on their own. He wants more options closer to stores, work, school, and more affordability, but it’s not all that easy.

“There’s many different needs, so there’s not a one size fits all or a one thing that the community can necessarily do to meet all the different needs,” Petersen said.

The group also wants to increase access to transportation. Right now, there’s nearly 2,000 adults with cognitive disabilities living in Portage County and many caregivers have concerns about housing.

“One of the stories I hear over and over again is what’s going to happen when I’m not here anymore to care for my loved one, what are the housing options,” Door 2 Dreams member Shannon McKinley said.

McKinley has been supporting people with disabilities for 25 years and says all of them are important parts of the community. She wants to work with the city, so no one’s left out.

“Individuals want to own their own front door, they want to make decisions about who’s coming in who they’re living with, where they’re going, how they’re spending their time,” McKinley said.

This is just the first step in supporting the housing needs of those with intellectual disabilities. McKinley hopes more advocates will step up and get involved going forward.

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