By Anida Pollo
My name is Anida Pollo and I am a part of the Mayor’s Disability Council in Jacksonville, Florida. I have been on the council a little less than a year now, and the Florida Housing Coalition Affordable Housing Conference was the first conference that I have ever attended as a council member. For my accommodations, I needed to have a wheelchair accessible hotel room with a shower chair, and I also brought my sister as my personal care assistant due to some recent health issues.
As it was my first conference, I learned a lot about affordable housing and was also shocked at how many different resources there are out there. In terms of disability, affordable housing is crucial to the quality of life of any person that is disabled. One thing I noticed was that many people lacked the understanding of how critical it was for their developments to be accessible for everyone. While they did have a certain percentage of their apartments labeled as “accessible”, it is still very difficult for someone with an impairment to find housing. This is why I believe the Conference Accessibility Initiative by JP Morgan Chase and WID is an asset in making a difference for the disabled community. It allows people to be exposed to different environments and gives them the chance to grow and advocate for themselves. Our presence also helped others learn how to help break down barriers and make areas more accessible for everyone. On a personal note, I had an amazing time! I felt very honored to have had the privilege to attend the conference representing WID and the disability community. It was a new experience for me and it helped me learn the importance of being an advocate, as well as information to help with affordable housing in Jacksonville. It was also awesome having the conference be in a different city as I am someone who loves to travel. Finally, none of this would have been nearly as enjoyable without the amazing company of Tom and John from the WID team. They are some of the most kindhearted people I know and spending time with them throughout the conference is something I will forever cherish. Thank you WID for this incredible opportunity! I definitely look forward to doing it again!
Would you like to be a Disability Ambassador with WID and JP Morgan & Chase? Keep an eye out for applications for 2020, coming soon!
To read more about our Disability Ambassadors’ experiences at Florida Housing Coalition’s Affordable Housing Conference 2019, follow either link below:
For more Disability Ambassador blogs, check out our Conference Accessibility Initiative 2019 page.
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