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With obstacles at every turn, accessible housing for those with physical disabilities is often hard to find. Many of the homes in upstate New York are old and weren't built with accessibility in mind. From personal stories to changes in the accessibility landscape, here's coverage from WRVO News.

DeFrancisco legislation gives housing renovation tax break for limited mobility

Tom Magnarelli
Agnes McCray (left) with state Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse).


Syracuse-area state Sen. John DeFrancisco is pushing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation he has sponsored that would give a tax break for renovations that makes housing more accessible for those with limited mobility.

Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News
Agnes McCray is on the board of directors for ARISE Child and Family Services.

Agnes McCray, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, is an advocate for the legislation.

“It's not so much about disability but the capability and the success of us all,” McCray said. "We cannot rest until there is equal opportunity for all no matter where we are in this community.”

McCray and the staff at ARISE, which is a nonprofit that helps with disability services, have been advocating locally in Syracuse and in Albany for the bill, which would provide a tax break up to $2,750 dollars for adding what they call visitability to a new or existing residence.


The guidelines, still yet to be determined, would most likely mean a zero-step entrance, wider doorways, and at least one first floor bathroom.


 DeFrancisco said this bill will help seniors and those with disabilities be able to stay in their current homes.


“People with mobility issues know that not only they can access their homes but others will have the ability to do as will so you can live a full life,” DeFrancisco said.


He admits the bill's tax credit can only help so much.


“But it certainly makes it more affordable than just having to pay the entire freight to make your home more adaptable to those who have mobility issues," DeFrancisco said. 


Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News
Staff and members of ARISE with state Sen. John DeFrancisco.

DeFrancisco said the bill should arrive at the governor's desk this week. The Republican senator has another bill that passed both houses which would allow for same-time transcripts in a court preceding for the hearing impaired which he also hopes the governor will sign.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.