San-FranciscoIt’s not easy to find a new home. The place needs to feel comfortable, warm, with good ambience and a little feng shui. When you use a wheelchair there’s a whole extra checklist — not to make it feel like home, but just to make it possible to live in. It can make finding a place much harder and, unfortunately, more expensive. Even worse, laws around accessible housing requirements don’t do many favors for us rollin’ folk. So it takes some work to find good housing, and with some systemic changes, things could be much better all-round.

I learned about the housing conundrum the hard way when I finished college. During school I was lucky — in freshman year I was in a wheelchair-accessible dorm, and from sophomore year onward I lived in a 56-person student co-op. The place was as big as a large fraternity, with hardwood across the entire ground level. I had my own bedroom and bathroom with a roll-in shower, and there were auto door openers on the main entrance and my bedroom. The overall accessibility was top-notch, but I took it for granted. That’s why having trouble finding an accessible place after college caught me so off guard.

I gave myself a couple months to look around, but really it wasn’t enough. The checklist was huge: ground-level or with a ramp or elevator, 32-inch wide doors, hardwood floors, at least a two bedroom, ideally with my own bathroom (since my morning routine takes so long),