Apartment buildings seem to be unable to maintain accessibility

There seems to be a re-occurring issue of apartment buildings with broken elevators that result in tenants with disabilities getting trapped. Recently, we brought you the story of Michel Cordey, who was stuck in his Montreal apartment for over a week when the elevator broke and he was unable to navigate the stairs in his wheelchair.

Now comes a similar situation in Denver, Colorado. The Congress Park Commons, part of Denver’s government subsidized housing, has had multiple maintenance issues. According to several tenants of the building, multiple necessary repairs are going unaddressed, such as the broken elevator, water damage, and mold. One of the tenants, who uses a wheelchair, told CBS Denver that she has been trapped in her home for over two weeks due to the broken elevator. Due to the situation, she has been forced to miss doctors’ appointments and is unable to even go to the grocery store. In words eerily similar to Cordey’s, who called his apartment his “thousand dollar jail” during the time that he was trapped, this tenant states that she now considers her apartment to be a prison.

Why is this issue something that property managers seem to be unable to address? Shouldn’t government subsidized housing be accessible to its tenants? What will it take to ensure that buildings that are accessible at the time a tenant moves in remain accessible?

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Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.