50 Arrested as ADAPT Takes Affordable, Accessible Housing Crisis to Congress


Washington, D.C.—From their base at “DUH City”, groups of ADAPT activists fanned out on the Hill to hit congressional leaders who have responsibility to help solve the housing crisis for low income people with disabilities. Visits to the offices of Rep. Barney Frank (D, MA), a longtime leader on housing issues, and Senators Chris Dodd (D, CT) and Richard Shelby (R, AL), the Chair and ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs resulted in a total of 50 arrests.

“Our first stop was to see Rep. Barney Frank,” said Diane Coleman of ADAPT in Rochester, New York. “ADAPT has been in talks with him over the past year, and early on he told us in no uncertain terms that he could get 500 housing vouchers from HUD that would be targeted to free people with disabilities who live in nursing homes and other institutions. He repeated that promise for months, and we kept trusting his word, and then one day he suddenly says he can’t help us. We were also working with him to get funding that pays for segregated housing redirected to support integrated housing and more vouchers. Sen. Frank arranged a hearing on this funding, and not only did he not invite any people with disabilities to testify, he didn’t even notify us about the hearing. So, today, we decided to confront him on his broken promises and bad faith.”

Shortly after 13 ADAPT members entered Franks’ office, he ordered staff to have them arrested, refusing to even discuss the ADAPT concerns, or strategies to address the housing crisis for low income people with disabilities trapped in institutions for lack of affordable, accessible, integrated housing.

ADAPT went to the offices of Dodd and Shelby because HUD and housing fall under the purview of their committee. Sen. Shelby declined to work with ADAPT saying, “I don’t help people who can’t help themselves.” There were 19 arrests made in Shelby’s office. An aide to Sen. Dodd spoke with ADAPT, but declined to put her remarks on paper after indicating she might be willing to do so. ADAPT continued to wait for the written statement, and eventually nearly 25 people were arrested.

“The TV is full of news about the bank crisis, and the mortgage crisis, and the need for candidates to appeal to middle income people,” said Cassie James, Philadelphia ADAPT organizer. “Meanwhile, people who live on disability benefits, and people who are trapped in nursing homes because of no housing are being held hostage while the government bails everyone else out. Rent has gone up so much, it’s higher than many monthly disability benefits. Not only do us younger people with disabilities need affordable, accessible housing, older people need it, too. This is a crisis, and we need help to solve it.”

ADAPT has been in D.C. since September 13, erecting DUH City, a tent city, on the plaza outside HUD headquarters to bring attention to the situation of the people who have been ignored in this election year- low income people with disabilities. The crises with the economy and housing extend well beyond the middle class, but the Presidential candidates and their parties have seemingly forgotten that fact. Not so, ADAPT.

From Amber via twitter:

1 AM last night: just released from dc police custody. all those at dodds in process of release. shelbys protesters released already. our small group is cheering those leaving the accessible entrance at dirksen, will split to head home soon. FREE OUR PEOPLE!!

7 AM this morning: adapt is lining up again this morning! 7 am, no mercy. all arrestees made it home last night


Filed under activism, disability, links

5 responses to “50 Arrested as ADAPT Takes Affordable, Accessible Housing Crisis to Congress

  1. Pingback: Senator Shelby (R, Alabama) To Activists with Disabilities: “I don’t help people who can’t help themselves.”! « Charlottesville Prejudice And Civil Rights Watch

  2. “I don’t help people who can’t help themselves.”


    Are you freaking KIDDING ME?!

    He said that? Seriously? I’m speechless. I knew Shelby was a scumbag, but that he would actually dismiss and reject people with such an ableist remark, to their face, just like that?


  3. Pingback: ADAPT Press Release: 50 Arrested as ADAPT Takes Affordable, Accessible Housing Crisis to Congress « Questioning Transphobia

  4. Monica Helms

    Only 13 to 15 people were arrested, not 50. One of my good friends was amongst the arrested. Peter Kovar also said it was 13 to 15. Why is ADAPT stretching the truth. Fifteen is bad enough. You don’t help your cause by putting out untruths.

  5. hey monica, looking into the numbers.
    this is what i received from susan, the person who led the ADAPT blogswarm:

    Arrests were over two days and at 4 different offices. The 13 number may be the first day of arrests. There were definitely over 50.

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