Conference Access Blogs: Sharon Hoffmeyer Dykes

By Sharon Hoffmeyer Dykes

My name is Sharon Hoffmeyer Dykes and I live in Jacksonville, Florida. I recently had the opportunity to attend the Florida Housing Coalition Affordable Housing Conference in Orlando, Florida. I have been unable to attend many important conferences because of my disability, which makes traveling expensive. Due to the support from WID and the JP Morgan Chase Conference Accessibility Initiative, I was able to attend this conference by renting a wheelchair accessible van. The WID staff made sure that the room was accessible for my needs. This allowed me the opportunity to focus on the conference and what we would be able to bring back to our community.

A white woman in a powerchair faces the camera
Disability Ambassador Sharon Hoffmeyer Dykes outside of the conference.

Often people with disabilities are not included when it comes to creating affordable, accessible housing. The developers tend to forget about people with disabilities. Being at the table gave developers and other stakeholders the opportunity to hear directly from people with disabilities and what we would like to see when it comes to developing affordable housing. One of the points we emphasized was universal design. We would like to see developers create accessibility features in every unit instead of just a handful of units. An example of this would be a roll-in shower in at least one of the bathrooms in each unit. We have also been able to show that all people with disabilities deserve affordable, accessible housing. We often find that units are being built to house only one specific type of disability, but we would like the housing market and developers to include units that work for all disabilities. We would not have been able to engage in these type of conversations if we were not present at the table.


Would you like to be a Disability Ambassador with WID and JP Morgan & Chase? Applications for 2020 are now available!

To read more about our Disability Ambassadors’ experiences at Florida Housing Coalition’s Affordable Housing Conference 2019, follow either link below:

Anida Pollo’s Affordable Housing Conference blog

Natalie Alden’s Affordable Housing Conference blog

For more Disability Ambassador blogs, check out our Conference Accessibility Initiative 2019 page.

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