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Old 05-19-2013, 06:00 PM
 
3 posts, read 4,751 times
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Although I am a two-time author, a poet and an artist, I have had no income but SSDI and SSI due to a disability. However, I could earn money from the sales of my art, if I had a studio in which to produce it and lived in MA where the healthcare system promotes independence. Is it possible to find such a studio near if not in Northampton, say in Easthampton or even a bit farther away? I do not mind rural, but I have narcolepsy among other things and driving long distances is a problem...Where would that place be and how would I go about finding it? How much should I expect to pay? Is using Craigslist to find a rental truly safe?

Right now, I live in HUD-subsidized housing, so I only pay a third of my income, which is to say, only a bit over $200.00/month. But I would be able to earn at least $700.00 month if I had a studio, and have resources from my family to pay a much higher rent, if necessary. One thing I do know is that getting on Section 8 is impossible at this point, the waiting list being closed "for years to come."

Any suggestions or advice from anyone with information will be greatly appreciated. I am so tired of being disabled...I am trying to get off SSDI/SSI and out of poverty but they make it impossible to do so in CT. I think in MA it might be easier, or at least up to me. Thanks!

BTW you should know that while I am not by any means young, and frankly I am not even middle-aged, even I feel excitement at the prospect of embarking on a new life, a new beginning. What a joy to be doing this. I cannot wait!

RobinWren
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:43 PM
 
Location: near bears but at least no snakes
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Easthampton is probably the best answer but I don't think MA is any better than CT for SSI since they are both federal programs. Craig's List or the Daily Hampshire Gazette for apartments--or google a few realtors who do rentals in Easthampton.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:46 PM
 
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Hi, my problem is that in ct when you are as poor as i am and disabled you have to be on title19 medicaid... And to keep it you have to remain at or below 60% of the federal poverty line. But in order to earn money and get off medicaid it is almost an impossible catch 22. SSI is not necessary to me once i can start selling any art at all. It is simply the legal restrictions put on disabled low income people in CT that is forcing me to move. Once i have any income at all, i will let go of my small SSI check. It would be glory hallelujah the best day of all if i could one day say sayonara to the ssdi one as well.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Massachusetts
6,288 posts, read 8,649,480 times
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I have heard that the town of Southbridge has a thriving artist community. You would have to check with the town about available shuttles and other means of public transportation and services. There is also an artist community around the North Quabbin area. Either of these areas will be less expensive than UMass area.
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:49 AM
 
1,053 posts, read 1,022,546 times
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I agree that Easthampton is a good choice. No doubt Southbridge and/or N. Quabbin (e.g., Orange) would be cheaper, but MUCH more isolating, especially given the OP's driving issues.
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 20,759,095 times
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Easthampton rents are getting up there, close to those in Northampton. Northampton is unaffordable. You could check out Greenfield, it is a small town with lots of artists and an organic foods market on Main St. There are many places there to rent studios, more affordable than N'ton and E'ton. If you need to be near public transportation, not sure E'ton has that.

If you are over 62 (or 65?) you can probably get senior subsidized housing that is not connected with Section 8. The more popular towns with senior housing will have long lists. Places like Belchertown have senior housing that may not be in so much demand, and B'ton is next to Amherst and may be included in the 5-college free bus system. The bus system is worth its weight in gold. You can find both the college bus system route and the Pioneer Valley Transit (PVTA) routes online.
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:57 AM
 
3 posts, read 4,751 times
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I am 60 and i do have a car and drive it but not long distances...am comfortable only on back roads, absolutely no longer than 20-30 min tops on the highway at a time. The reason for E'ton or N'ton is that i have friends and family in the area so i wouldn't be starting this new life utterly alone....that might be asking for too much trouble. I really just need one large room, but a very large one with windows, so i can do my art, and also cook and with bathroom or bathroom/shower usage...i really do not want to go into a living situation like the one i am already in of a elderly/disabled complex. Would rather rough it in less posh circumstances, than live in subsidized housing where there are restrictions on what i can do...and earn.
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:11 AM
 
Location: near bears but at least no snakes
24,760 posts, read 24,417,383 times
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You want to move to MA because our state has health insurance. You could get off SSI and still be able to have health insurance. I think I get it now. Yes, I think Greenfield would have the cheapest rents by far and it's a fairly large place with lots of old houses with rentals in them. You still wouldn't be that far from relatives in the Northampton area and you don't necessarily have to drive on the highway to get there.
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