Michiganders with disabilities are living in poverty, struggling to afford basics

By Nushrat Rahman: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Jamie Junior is in the market for a wheelchair accessible van but the cost is steep — up to $50,000 for a used one.

In the meantime, Junior relies on the city of Detroit’s paratransit services to get to and from work. But the system is not efficient, she said. 

Junior has cerebral palsy and osteoarthritis.  To use the city’s paratransit service, she must be up at 5 a.m. and may not get home until 7 p.m. It can take up to half an hour to commute the 8 or so miles to her job, and when she’s done with her shift, she waits another 30 to 45 minutes to get picked up, then another hour or more back home. 

Transportation — and just getting around one’s neighborhood — is a big barrier for people with disabilities, she said. It’s one of the challenges, advocates say, that contributes to the financial instability nearly half of people with disabilities in the state face. 

Add rising costs, trouble finding work and difficulty getting affordable housing and economic hurdles are that much harder to navigate.  

“If you are lucky enough to be in the middle class and live in a two-income household, you get some relief. But again with inflation being what it is right now, if you want to be in a position to build wealth — which would require you to own a home and things like that — you’re up against the gun,” said Junior, 46, of Detroit. 

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