A recent look at the best and worst cities for people with disabilities highlighted lackluster findings for North Carolina.

What You Need To Know

  • A WalletHub article found Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Fayetteville, and Charlotte in the bottom 30 worst cities for people with disabilities

  • Christine Jarret and Nick Hunt have been searching for housing since January

  • Jarret lives with both physical and mental disabilities

  • Scotsdale, Arizona was ranked as the best city for people with disabilities

WalletHub’s recent analysis ranked four North Carolina cities as some of the worst for people living with disabilities. Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Fayetteville, and Charlotte sit in the bottom 30 out of 182 cities.

WalletHub researched cost of living, employment rates for people with disabilities, cost of medical care, and accessibility. Greensboro ranked 11th, Fayetteville ranked 16th, and Charlotte ranked 26th.

At the top of the list, Winston-Salem ranked fifth worst city for people living with disabilities.

Christine Jarret currently lives in Winston-Salem with her fiancé Nick Hunt. The couple moved to North Carolina at the beginning of the year, and says finding a place to live has been a challenge.

Hunt says, “Our search for a place has been arduous to say the least. We were just victims of a rental scam.”

Jarret lives with disabilities, both mental and physical. She used to work as a tattoo artist, but the pandemic has stripped away her main stream of income. Jarret and her fiancé say they have endured egregious experiences with housemates and landlords, from pest infestations to aggravated assault.

Jarret says, “They threw rocks at me and hit me in the head, they cracked one of my teeth, they threw beer cans at me.”

Hunt works as a manager for a fast-food chain, but because of the length of his employment, leasing offices won’t accept this as a consistent stream of income.

The pair have reached out to government agencies, charity organizations, made Facebook posts, and the few friends they have in the state. So far, nothing has panned out.

They are currently staying with a friend, but their time is coming to a close as she moves forward with the adoption process. Jarret says they’re starting to get desperate.

She says, “Yes, there’s rent, and then there’s food cost, and then there’s other costs, and if you don’t have full medical insurance that covers everything, I still have to cover medication. It adds up.”

The one thing they want people to know: They’re not looking for a handout, but an opportunity to have a roof over their heads.

Our team reached out to several different disability advocacy programs across the state to see how cities are improving conditions for their residents living with disabilities. Winston-Salem’s Solutions for Independence says it works with the city’s attorney’s office and human relations department to raise advocacy, awareness, and education.

Raleigh’s Alliance of Disability Advocates trained all bus drivers of the GoRaleigh system on empathy, to recognize disabilities that may not be as visible, or understood.

The organization’s Sharif Brown says, “There are the invisible disabilities, the mental health issues, that aren’t going undiagnosed, but they weren’t being noticed.”

We contacted Charlotte’s Disability Rights Resources, but have not yet received comment.