Handicapped Residents of the Virginian Struggling To Find New Housing
By Dave Walls
Lynchburg, VA - Time is almost up for residents of the Virginian in Lynchburg.Tenants of the affordable income property continue their housing search in a market with limited availability. For those with accessibility issues, however, finding a new home is proving to be an even greater struggle.Just off the elevator in the Virginian lives 75-year-old George Coles. With just one month left before the Virginian shuts its doors, no one's sure what will happen to him and others in the same boat. A Lynchburg resident for more than 40 years, he spends his time in his home, with health and mobility issues keeping him inside. Nearby residents, and a caretaker keep a watchful eye on him. Coles says "I've got a couple of friends in here, in the same boat that I am in, but he done found him a place."George, however, has not been as fortunate.With a move out deadline one month away, friends are worried George Coles will be on his own. His caretaker, who asked not to be identified, claims one apartment manager changed his mind about making modifications. The caretaker stated "A week later, the man decided that he didn't want to do it because he stated that he didn't want to take the time to build a ramp for Mr. Coles."Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers are required to "make reasonable accommodations" so persons with disabilities may have "equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling". However, the Act does state that accommodation requests can be denied, if they pose a financial or administrative burden on the housing provider.With affordable housing in Lynchburg in short supply, his caretaker knows they are running out of time. She expressed her concerns by saying, "No one wants to open up their doors, and I am really afraid for Mr. Coles."Coles says his former employer of more than 30 years has offered to build a ramp for him, provided he can find housing.
WSET ABC 13 covers news, sports and weather in the Heart of Virginia: Lynchburg, Danville and Roanoke and nearby communities including Amherst, Lexington, Cave Springs, Blacksburg, Martinsville, Farmville, North Shore, Glasgow, Altavista, Gretna, Chatham, Blairs, Bassett, Rocky Mt, Penhook, Moneta and Buena Vista