Public Housing Preference for Wheelchair Accessibility

Home Forward would like to create an ongoing preference on its public housing waiting lists for applicants who need a home that is accessible to wheelchairs.

Currently the agency manages vacancies for accessible apartments by identifying applicants on the waiting list for that apartment community who have have indicated they need this feature.  If there are no applicants, the agency must work through all applicants who need accessibility, regardless of apartment community.  This time consuming process is not always successful, as prospective tenants typically want to live in the apartment communities for which they have applied.  If there is no match, Home Forward has to open the list publicly or rent the apartment to someone who doesn't need the accessible features. 

"Our current system requires a significant amount of time to administer while apartments sometimes sit vacant longer than we would like," said Rodger Moore, assistant director, Real Estate Operations.  "Our proposal increases access for applicants who need wheelchair accessibility and reduces the time it takes to fill vacancies."

Creating a preference for those who need wheelchair accessibility will allow Home Forward to accept applications on a continual basis, rather than waiting for an apartment community's waiting list to open.  Under the proposed system, applicants can choose up to three apartment communities that have wheelchair accessible apartments.  By accepting these applications at any time, Home Forward expects more robust lists of applicants who have a preference for wheelchair accessibility at its public housing communities that have apartments with these special features.

Home Forward's Board of Commissioners will consider the proposed change at their meeting on June 19, 2012.  You can comment on the proposed preference by email to or by letter to Home Forward, 135 SW Ash St., Portland, OR, 97204, attention: Elise Anderson.