Discovering a Residence that Can Accommodate a Incapacity

Finding a Home that Can Accommodate a Disability

When Jason Knebel moved into a new apartment about two months ago, he made a rare purchase for a single move-in: a second bed.

Over the past four years, Mr. Knebel, a 34-year-old software engineer, has developed a pain and movement restriction that makes standing for long periods uncomfortable and makes sitting almost impossible. He prefers to work lying down, but didn't want to spend most of the time in bed where he sleeps.

So now he has a bed and a work bed, both of which are adjustable. And he has his TV and monitors mounted in the latter's field of vision for a completely reclined work-from-home setup. "The nice thing about it is that it makes watching TV and playing video games very pleasant," said Mr. Knebel with a laugh.

The extra bed was part of a larger mission when he moved. "The whole move was about paying the extra money and optimizing my life around the pain," said Mr. Knebel. “It's awful, but it makes it easier. I feel better overall. "

$ 2,433 | Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

Profession: Software developer
To the benefit you may not know you have: Mr. Knebel, through his employer, has taken advantage of his health care benefits to a large extent by finding nurses to help him collect medical records and help him find a wheelchair manufacturer to take over his insurance. At $ 12 a month, he says, "This is the best money I've ever spent."
His favorite bonus: His new studio has soft-close cabinets that close more gently and quietly than their standard counterparts. “I didn't like the gentle closure before I moved in,” says Mr. Knebel.

Mr. Knebel's previous apartment was a maisonette on the third floor of a walk-in apartment in Williamsburg that he shared with a roommate. He had the top floor of the maisonette with a private balcony to himself, but it was only accessible through an 80-pound trapdoor at the top of a flight of stairs. When he moved there in 2018, he was dealing with tendinitis in his foot, for which he wore orthopedic hiking boots.

By 2019, he learned that he was actually dealing with a nerve problem which he believed was due to an improperly taught fitness class that he is still trying to understand. At the time, he was using a wheelchair and working from a recliner, which was an imperfect solution at best.

It was difficult to get up and down the four flights of stairs between his apartment and the street, and his friends or roommate had to bring his laundry to and from the laundromat for him. "When I got there, I thought I would get better," said Mr. Knebel. “And I just didn't have the acceptance to live like that. Last year I noticed that it would be there for a while. "

When rents all over town began to rise this spring, Mr. Knebel knew it was time for him to move. His lease expired in late August, but he predicted prices would continue to skyrocket, so he decided to move in late June and sublet his apartment in his previous apartment for the last two months of his lease.

His priority was to find an apartment near a transportation hub with a dishwasher and elevator, ideally something with laundry in the building. Mr. Knebel looked at apartments near Grand Central Terminal and Fulton Street in Manhattan, but ended up in a 500-square-foot studio in a mid-height apartment building near the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. His rent is $ 2,443 a month, but he was able to negotiate two months for free on a 14-month lease.

One aspect of the new apartment that makes Mr. Knebel's life a lot easier is the washer / dryer in the unit, which is a great relief from relying on others. “The biggest part of all of this is the lack of agency,” he said. "To say, 'I want that thing on the other side of the room, but how much do I want it?' Because sometimes it's not worth the pain."

The location is also ideal. Due to the proximity to a major traffic junction, friends of Mr. Knebel can visit him without any problems. His apartment building also has a spacious roof with strategically placed greenery to allow some privacy between gathering groups. It also offers a private lounge area that he could reserve for a dinner party, for example. (Given the size and layout of his apartment, he can only accommodate a few people at a time.)

Larger transit stations such as the Atlantic Terminal also offer better accessibility. Mr. Knebel currently uses a walking stick but is working on getting a recumbent wheelchair and living near an accessible station with elevators will make his way to work near Battery Park easier once his office reopens.

In the meantime he has enjoyed getting to know the area. Its neighborhood is dense with restaurants and bars, like Patsy & # 39; s Pizzeria, which has become a new favorite. "I'm really lucky that this is the second closest restaurant to me," he said. And he enjoyed walking the more inhabited, tree-lined back streets of Park Slope.

Mr. Knebel's latest project is building a workbench for his 3D printer, which will allow him to work on side projects that offer an opportunity for creativity and strengthen his sanity.

“I want to have ideas for things that I can design and make my life easier,” he said. “One of the things I realized is that I need to be able to build things. I physically need something to talk to. "


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