People with Disabilities

The availability of affordable homes is an important part of addressing California’s housing needs, but many households bear additional challenges. Both overt and subtle discrimination, inadequate accommodations for people with disabilities, lack of transportation access, and stringent financial requirements and background checks are among the barriers that prevent many people from finding an affordable place to live. 

For example, studies show that persons with disabilities are more likely to experience discrimination when seeking housing compared to other protected classes. In California, 41 percent of the discrimination complaints received by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development were due to a disability.

The State of California defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that “limits a major life activity” (Government Code Section 12926-12926.1). This segment of the population needs affordable, conveniently located, and accessible housing, which can be adapted to accommodate the limitations of a specific disability.

According the U.S. Census, California has 3.8 million persons with disabilities.  Housing for this group may require reasonable accommodation for their disabilities or homes built with universal design standards (DOC). In addition, 20 percent reported having an independent-living difficulty that requires flexible housing solutions (e.g., housing with supportive services, group homes, etc.).

The number of persons with developmental disabilities is difficult to quantify in California. The California State Council on Developmental Services uses Gollay and Associate's national prevalence of persons with developmental disabilities estimate of 1.8 percent to calculate that 684,000 Californians meet the federal definition of having a developmental disability. Client data from nonprofit regional centers and development centers contracted with the California Department of Developmental Services shows 250,000 people received assistance in 2015.

In addition to policy work on housing for people with disabilities, HCD administers the following programs:

Learn more about the housing needs of people with disabilities in California's Housing Future: Challenges and Opportunities.