KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A home isn’t a home if you can’t get inside.
That’s the concern of one Northland mom since her family’s rented home isn’t wheelchair accessible. And she’s not the only one asking for comfort for people with disabilities.
“II’s never been home perfect home because it’s so small,” said Becca Cooper, a mother of three,.
Their current house just isn’t working for Cooper and her 17-year-old son Logan, who was born with spina bifida.
“We are trying to find somewhere that can accommodate a wheelchair,” she said.
Cooper said that search is getting her nowhere since very few available homes in the metro are accessible.
Their 800-square-foot apartment in the Northland was workable when her children were younger. Now, it’s suffocating. Logan has to crawl inside the home and upstairs to his bedroom.
“Somebody in a wheelchair should be able to get in and out of the house and should have opportunity to have a house or an apartment, whatever it is,” she said.
Ramps alone won’t do it. Cooper said people in wheelchairs need multiple entries to and from their homes and chances to live independently — without spending a fortune.
The metro mom believes it’s been an oversight that more local housing isn’t wheelchair accessible. Travis Rash, who works with the organization The Whole Person, said a small percentage of homes in the Kansas City area meet this need.
“Here in Kansas City, where new construction studios are often priced at $1,000 per, and that’s just for a studio, so in short, it’s a very difficult challenge for a person with disability to find housing that fits their needs,” he said.
It wasn’t until late 2020 that accessibility features were added to the local MLS system, Rush said.
Cooper said she’s ready to see change.
“I don’t know where that’s going to go, but to people who are sympathizing or seeing this, let’s start an awareness, and that’s where I’m at with it right now,” he said.
And stuck in tight quarters, Cooper said it’s the best she and her kids can do for now.
The Coopers hope to find a new place in the Northland, preferably one that will keep the kids in Park Hill Schools where they’ve grown up.