Layne wins Corrie Bair award from state disability rights coalition
By JERRY WOLFFE
David Layne won the Corrie Bair Building Inclusive Communities Award from the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition for 20 years of advocacy for affordable accessible homes for people with disabilities.
"I was so honored," said Layne, the Nursing Facility Transitions specialist at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. Layne, of Rochester who has twin 19-year-old sons, Jacob and Joshua, has worked for MORC as a contract housing specialist since 2009.
"To hold such people in esteem and have them give you an award is an honor of a lifetime," said Layne referring to retiring MDRC Director Norm DeLisle and assistant director RoAnn Chaney, formerly of the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living.
He was nominated for the award by the Michigan Disability Housing Workgroup which meets every other month in Lansing.
"The goal of all of this is to build inclusive communities," said Layne, who helps transition people from nursing homes to their own places through Mi-Choice or with the assistance of the Disability Network, formerly Centers for Independent Living.
"I've worked on finding affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities since the 1990s," he said. "I used to line up group homes for MORC, the State of Michigan and Oakland and Macomb counties."
He is a licensed broker and has been a real estate agent since 1977.
"There's a huge housing shortage for those with disabilities and the elderly at a time when rents are going up," said Layne, noting an average one-bedroom apartment costs $600 to $700 a month and a person on Supplemental Security Income receives $733 a month, making it financially impossible for a person with a disability to afford to rent a home.
He said the Olmstead ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court found a person with a disability has a civil right to housing and it is not an entitlement, Layne said. "It is a civil right to live in the community and receive services when possible," he said.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said "we have an obligation to provide affordable housing," said Layne. "Inherent in the Olmsted ruling is the obligation that housing choices are made available to the elderly and those with disabilities."
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263 8950.