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Finding an Accessible Apartment as an Adult With Cerebral Palsy

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It’s finally happened, I’m becoming an adult. I’ve been on a six year odyssey focused on one single goal, ideal and mission: moving into my own home.

It’s been hard. Illinois is one of the worst states for people with disabilities and budget cuts are always forced on the disabled population. The amount of accessible housing is severely limited and it has often left me frustrated and full of despair. I watched people move out before me and even though I was proud, I was also envious and jealous. However, everything is changing and I’m no longer the young man I once was, although I’m not that old either. At 30, I’m going to have the freedom and independence I’ve dreamed of, but how did I get there? Here is my story.

When I first graduated from college, all I wanted was to move out of my family’s home. My mind had one singular thought and dream. But as I explained earlier, my options were limited. At first I sought to find a house, and my realtor Katie was very accommodating and receptive to my wishes. However, there were two things standing in my way. I couldn’t afford it as I only work part time, and my roommate had just found a significant other and wanted to move in with her. I was hurt because all my dreams and ambitions seemed to be crashing all around me, but since this was my dream I didn’t give up. When I go after something I usually go one direction: forward. However, as the search narrowed, no options were found and I began contemplating alternatives.

There are a few facilities where disabled and able-bodied people live
together as a community. Luckily for me my parents had the brilliant idea of building one. It seemed ideal and it provided with a dream of equality and the proper amount of accessibility. However, we as a family had too much on our plate and we had to put the dream on hold, at least for now. But just like my dream of finding a girlfriend, I never stopped looking.

Then a third solution appeared, and it felt like a miracle. The town of LaGrange started building an apartment complex which was supposed to have 250 units with 50 of them being for people with disabilities. My ray of hope had finally shown and it seemed like my dream was coming to fruition. I watched and waited as a cloud of dirt became my vision of hope and beauty.

As time moved forward, my leasing agent Kaileen proved to be more than accommodating, answered all my questions and tried to make my apartment as accessible as possible. Suddenly everything that seemed mundane and monotonous was hopeful and accommodating. At 30 years old I have found the fountain of youth and have begun to become young again. I move out tomorrow!

It has taken a while, but everything is now in order. With more order comes more responsibility and I’m ready. I’m a man of action, dreams, and words, but most important to me is the fact that I’m an individual with cerebral palsy who always strives to make my disability better and more beautiful to society. With this apartment I have achieved my dream of being an independent individual. Patience is most definitely a virtue!

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Thinkstock image by Lordn.

Originally published: June 21, 2017
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