For most people, a home is more than a building: it is a state of mind, an expression of personality, the one place where it is possible simply to be. The types of homes in which people live reflect their tastes and priorities. Deciding to change that home, whether through remodeling or relocation, is a major decision. Finding the right house or apartment requires attention to a myriad of details: price range, location, aesthetics, overall floor space, the number of bedrooms, and more. People with disabilities face the same considerations, but as important as they are, they are overshadowed by the need for housing to be accessible: housing that enables people with disabilities to live their lives as independently as possible.
If a house is inadequate for the needs of the people living in it, it never quite becomes a home. For people with disabilities, a dwelling must be fully accessible to become a home. The purpose of the Informed Consumer Guide to Accessible Housing is to examine what accessible housing is, to discuss the types of products available to achieve accessibility, and to offer resources to assist in this endeavor.
For more information, see our Resource Center on Accessible Housing.
Whether or not a home is accessible depends upon the nature and extent of one's disability. As a practical matter, an accessible home is one which enables an individual to do what he or she needs and desires to do as independently as possible. For some, access may be as simple as adding grab bars and a tub seat in the bathroom. For wheelchair users, access may require ramping entrances, widening doorways, lowering counters, adding lever or loop-style hardware to doors and drawers, and modifying storage areas.
Individuals with sensory disabilities also require accessible housing, although their needs are different from those of people with mobility disabilities. Individuals with hearing disabilities require visual adaptations for such items as the telephone ringer, the doorbell, and smoke alarms. People who are blind may require tactile marking of changes in floor level and stair edges and braille markings on appliances and controls. People with low vision may be accommodated with large print markings and displays, contrasting colors to distinguish changes in level or transition from one area to another, proper lighting, and reduced glare from lighting and windows.
Because the requirements of accessibility vary so widely, several terms have become widely used. Accessible design generally refers to houses or other dwellings that meet specific requirements for accessibility. These requirements are found in state, local and model building codes, and regulations such as the Fair Housing Amendments of 1988, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standards A117.1-1986, and the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS). These laws dictate standards dimensions and characteristics for such features as door widths, clear space for wheelchair mobility, audible and visual signals, grab bars, switch and outlet height, and more. The accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulate the accessibility of public buildings and facilities.
Adaptable design allows some features of a dwelling to be changed to meet the needs of a person with a disability. Essential design elements such as wider doorways and halls and barrier-free entrances are included as integral features, while provisions are made to allow other features to be added as needed. To qualify as "adaptable," it must be possible for changes to be made quickly without the use of skilled labor and without changing the inherent structure or materials. Adaptable design allows the house or apartment to meet the specific needs of the user, while maintaining the appearance of the dwelling until more obvious accessibility features are needed. For instance, bathroom walls may be designed with additional supports to allow for the installation of grab bars in the future. Cabinets under sinks can be designed to be removable, allowing the storage space to be provided until such time as the knee space is required by someone using a wheelchair. Similarly, closet rods and counter tops can be installed on adjustable glides, allowing them to be positioned for the needs of the user. Criteria for adaptable housing are included in the ANSI standards and UFAS.
Universal design addresses the need for access by creating designs usable by all people, whether or not they are disabled. This is accomplished by designing wider halls and doors, barrier-free entrances, elevated electrical outlets, lowered switches, adjustable closet rods and shelves, adjustable counters, touch switches, and other features as inherent elements in the building. This type of design makes the home usable by all family members, and recognizes that human abilities change over the life span.
It is not necessary to own a house in order to obtain accessible housing. The Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), which became effective on March 12, 1989, extended the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 to cover housing for people with disabilities. Under the FHAA, it is illegal to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of a dwelling, to refuse to process an offer, or to refuse a legitimate offer on the basis of an applicant's disability. It is also illegal to use differing applications or criteria for persons with and without disabilities or to segregate persons with disabilities to specific units or areas. Further, the Amendments render it unlawful to inquire as to whether the buyer or renter has a disability and as to the severity of the disability. These prohibitions apply to most housing options, including multi-family buildings, condominiums, cooperatives, and mobile homes. However, the FHAA does not apply to the sale or rental of single-family homes unless the owner owns more than three such homes at the same time and the sale or rental is conducted without the use of a real estate broker, agent, or salesperson. The Amendments also do not apply to multi-family dwellings of four or fewer units if the owner occupies one of those units as his or her place of residence.
Further, the Fair Housing Amendments set out design and construction guidelines for multi-family residences begun or occupied for the first time after March 13, 1991. All units in a multi-family building of four or more units equipped with at least one elevator and ground-floor units in buildings of four or more units without elevators are required to be accessible. All such buildings must have at least one entrance on an accessible route (unless prohibited by terrain), have doors into and within all units wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, have an accessible route in and through all dwelling units, have accessible switches and controls, provide reinforcement of bathroom walls for installation of grab bars, and have all public and common areas accessible.
Within all housing units, the FHAA requires that the landlord or rental agent not refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, and services required to enable a tenant with a disability to occupy and use a housing unit. Further, the law requires that the renter be allowed to make reasonable modifications to the dwelling at his or her expense to accommodate a disability. The landlord has the right to require that such modifications be accomplished in a professional manner, that the tenant acquire all necessary permits, and that the interior premises be restored to their original state upon termination of occupancy if such restoration can be readily accomplished and if the accommodations may interfere with a future tenant's use or enjoyment of the unit. For instance, the landlord may require that grab bars be removed and walls repaired, but not that the supportive blocking behind the walls be removed. Similarly, it would be considered unreasonable to constrain the tenant to restore doorways to their original width once they had been widened to accommodate a wheelchair. It is also considered unnecessary to restore exterior modifications because necessary modifications do not restrict future tenants' use of the dwelling.
While achieving accessibility may mean finding a new apartment or designing and building a single-family home to the specifications that meet the needs of a person with a specific disability, it is often possible to adapt or modify current and existing housing using various assistive technologies.
Although often overlooked as a population in need of housing adaptations, people who are deaf or hard of hearing require modifications in areas where audible signals are utilized. The most familiar adaptive device for people who are deaf are text telephones (also known as TT, TTY, or TDD); these devices enable people who are deaf or have communication disabilities to converse on the telephone using a keyboard and visual display. For those with less severe hearing disabilities, amplified handsets may suffice. However, access is also required for other systems in the home: Smoke alarms, security system alarms, doorbells, telephone ringers, and even knocks on doors should be converted to visual signals in order for people with hearing disabilities to fully and safely enjoy their homes.
Some signal systems are multi-purpose units, using microphones and transmitters to cause connected lights to flash or a bed or pillow vibrator to activate in response to doorbells and chimes, telephone ringers, burglar alarms, and door knockers. Some units are also designed to detect the sound of a crying baby. Most of these types of systems are equipped with adjustable sensitivity levels in order for ordinary sound and activity to be screened out. Still other systems are designed for specific purposes: interfaces connected to standard burglar alarms can cause lights to flash, and smoke alarms may provide both audible and visual warnings. Both permanent and portable systems are available.
Accessible housing for people with visual disabilities may, in large measure, be achieved with relatively minor modifications. For example, clear travel paths in hallways and through rooms frequently can be achieved simply by rearranging furnishings. Furniture placement may also be used to facilitate establishing a route of travel from one room to another.
Safe travel from one room to another, or from one level to another, is also facilitated by the use of tactile warnings. Tactile warning strips may be used to mark abrupt changes in floor level, the edges of steps, and the transition from one area to another. For those with low vision, similar results may be achieved using contrasting colors or tape markers on surfaces to indicate changes. In addition, door thresholds should be flush with the floor or fitted with small beveled ramps to eliminate tripping hazards.
Lighting and environmental controls also play a large role in making a home accessible to people with low vision. Lighting should be bright and at consistent levels throughout the home, but care should be taken to eliminate as much glare and reflection as possible. Lighting systems that sense people in a room, automatically turning lights on when someone enters a room and turning lights off when the room is unoccupied, are an option in lighting control. Computerized environmental control systems are also available, allowing lights, televisions, stereos, heating and cooling systems, security systems, etc. to be controlled from a computer keyboard, remote control units, switches, or via voice command.
"Low tech" solutions to environmental access are offered as well. Light switches can be marked using braille labeling tape or large print labels to indicate "on" and "off" positions. Using switches with definite on and off positions rather than rocker switches is also helpful. In addition, thermostats with tactile or large print markings and braille and large print appliance control overlays assist in making a home more accessible to those with visual disabilities.
Adaptations such as the door sill ramps, environmental control units, and proper lighting mentioned above are also beneficial to individuals with mobility and other physical disabilities, but further accessibility measures are often required for walker and wheelchair users, as well as those whose disabilities affect the use of their hands.
For persons with mobility disabilities requiring the use of wheelchairs and/or walkers, accessibility barriers frequently begin outside the home. The presence of even one or two steps can make entry impossible. Depending upon the severity of the incline, several options are available to overcome such barriers. For curb-height obstacles and small steps, several manufacturers offer a variety of wheelchair ramps, frequently made of aluminum or fiberglass, designed for temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent applications. For longer, steeper inclines, it may be necessary to construct a wooden or concrete ramp. Ramps should be at least 36 inches wide and have a maximum incline of 1:12 (12 inches of length for every 1 inch in rise). Exterior ramps in climates where ice and snow are common should have a more gradual incline, preferably 1:20. In those instances where the ramp has a rise of more than 30 inches, a landing platform should be constructed half way up. Additional safety requirements include handrails on both sides and a non-slip surface.
In cases where ramping proves impractical due to terrain or where entries are too high to be accommodated, such as those above a walk-out basement or on a deck level, platform lifts and enclosed residential elevators provide an alternative. Models are offered to meet a variety of installation requirements, and are available with such features as powered doors, internal lighting, emergency systems, and custom controls and cabs. (These devices are also options in providing indoor access in multi-level dwellings).
Once access is gained to the dwelling, the next barrier is frequently narrow doorways. In order to accommodate most wheelchairs and walkers, doorways should be a minimum of 32 inches wide to provide sufficient space for the wheelchair or walker width and allow ample hand clearance. In homes where moving walls to widen doorways is not an option, additional width may be gained by removing doors or installing pocket doors which slide into the wall when not in use. Another option is the use of offset hinges which allow the door to swing clear of the opening and provide up to two inches of additional space in the doorway. Also, wherever possible, small rooms should be fitted with doors and hinges that open outward to prevent the door from being blocked from the inside in case of emergency.
Door knobs and locks are another major consideration in accessibility. Standard round door knobs and other types of handles which require grasping, twisting, or pressure are often unmanageable for those who are unable to use their hands or who have diminished strength and grasping ability. Ideally, standard mortised lock and knob sets should be replaced with lever-style handles. In those instances where knob and lock replacement is not possible, several manufacturers offer lever handles that fit over the existing knob. Some of these devices are portable, allowing them to be moved from room to room or used when traveling.
Security is another consideration in knob and lock selection. Push-button locks which disengage when the door is opened from the inside are among the most accessible for people with disabilities, but may not provide adequate security. Some options include slide bolts, remote control locks, electronic keypad security systems, and in some instances, push-button padlocks.
Adequate space is of paramount concern in hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms. Hallways should be a minimum of 36 inches wide, and in hallways where turning around is required, a five-foot radius of clear space should be provided. That same radius of maneuvering room should also be available in kitchens and bathrooms to allow an individual to turn around and have full access to appliances and fixtures.
In order to be accessible to a wheelchair user, bathroom fixtures must be at the appropriate heights. Toilet seats should be at least 15 inches above the floor and equipped with grab bars (floor- or wall-mounted or attached to the toilet itself). The necessary height can be achieved through the installation of a specially designed tall toilet, a wall-mounted unit, or with an elevated seat. It is also important to remember that the tissue holder needs to be mounted within convenient reach. Further, the sink should be mounted at a height that allows the wheelchair to roll underneath it, usually a 30-inch clearance. Frequently, this necessitates removal of below-sink cabinets, and care should be taken to cover exposed pipes and sharp edges and surfaces. Faucets should be within easy reach and easily operable with one hand. For individuals without the use of their hands or who have limited strength, faucets equipped with electronic sensors to automatically turn water on and off are available. Another access option is the installation of a faucet which can be activated using a single switch.
Access to bathing facilities is critical. In order to prevent injury and to facilitate transfers, enclosures should be free of door tracks or other obstructions and sharp edges. Further, tubs and showers should be equipped with grab bars and built-in seats or portable tub benches. Seats should be located opposite the controls and within easy reach. Offset controls which allow regulation of the water temperature from outside the tub or shower, anti-scald valves to prevent water temperature from exceeding a pre-set limit, and hand-held shower attachments are also beneficial.
Some of the same adaptations made to the bathroom are beneficial in the kitchen as well: removal of under-sink cabinets to allow wheelchair access, faucet control modification and anti-scald valves, and adequate floor space to facilitate turning and access to all fixtures and appliances. Cooktops with a 30-inch clearance and a separate self-cleaning oven at an appropriate height are also helpful. Both appliances should feature front- or side-mounted controls and be adjacent to counter space to facilitate moving and preparing food.
Another consideration in the kitchen is storage: at least one shelf in each cabinet should be a maximum of 48 inches above the floor. Where such a feature does not exist, or where more space is required, powered cabinets which lower the shelving unit to the countertop are available.
When considering which areas of a home to make accessible, it is essential that the person with the disability evaluate the rooms and spaces in terms of usability: If the person with the disability needs or desires to use the space, it must be accessible. This includes living, family, and recreational areas, as well as closets and laundry facilities.
Frequently closets can be made accessible simply by lowering the hanging rods. When the existing rod is an integral part of the closet, a second one may be installed below it. Another option is the use of modular storage systems which include hanging rods, shelves, and drawers that can be configured to the specific requirements of the user. Powered units which raise and lower and/or rotate shelves and racks also are available.
Laundry facilities also need to be accessible if full independence is to be achieved. As with other areas, this involves providing sufficiently wide doorways, space for maneuvering, and suitable appliances. Most often, front-loading washers and dryers with easily operated, front-mounted controls provide the necessary access.
Whether one is building an accessible home or modifying an existing residence, the cost can be prohibitive. A home equity or other bank loan may be one financing alternative. Depending upon one's circumstances and the nature of the disability, assistance may also be obtained through medical insurance, medical and social services, income support, or vocational services from any of a number of different resources. Consumer-oriented disability organizations and rehabilitation facilities may also provide information resources on funding assistance available in the local community. Additional information on funding accessible housing is available in a number of the publications listed in the Resources and Recommended Additional Reading section at the conclusion of this Guide, as well as in the ABLEDATA Informed Consumer's Guide to Funding Assistive Technology.
This ABLEDATA Informed Consumer Guide is a broad introduction to the legal and practical aspects of accessible housing. It is designed to enable the reader to consider what can be done and what needs to be done to make a home accessible. More detailed discussions of particular issues can be found in the following resource list. However, specific questions need to be addressed by legal, medical, and rehabilitation professionals. These are the people who can address issues unique to particular municipalities, and help determine the best course of action to meet the needs of specific disabilities.
Once the kinds of modifications needed are determined, information about specific products to help achieve the goal of accessible housing is available from the ABLEDATA database of assistive technology which provides information about and descriptions of more than 31,000 products for people with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. Information Specialists are available to help provide specific information about a particular device or type of device or manufacturers and distributors of assistive technology.
For more information, see our Resource Center on Accessible Housing.
A discussion of remodeling considerations that apply in adapting housing for the disabled. The authors begin by pointing out that 10 to 15% of the US population is chronically ill and that the number is sure to rise; thus the need for adaptive housing. Evidence is provided that the benefits of adaptive housing far exceed the costs. The main body of the paper concerns the evaluation of housing and the design criteria that apply. Addressed are the evaluation process itself and the accessibility of various rooms, especially the bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen. Critical in all these rooms is a 5-foot diameter clear area, needed for full rotation of wheelchairs. The heights and distributions of various fixtures is discussed, and illustrated designs are offered. Also addressed are the geometry of access ramps and of stair lifts.
The article discusses issues that must be considered by consumers and builders or remodelers when doing housing modifications for individuals with blindness or visual impairments. The article describes consumers who are blind, noting various complicating factors and explaining the difference between individuals who are blind and those with low vision. It examines new construction and remodeling, focusing on the types of modifications needed for people with visual impairments. A final section presents various suggested modifications for the (1) exterior, (2) entrance, (3) elevator, (4) doors, (5) floors, (6) lighting and electrical systems, (7) windows, (8) room layout and shape, (9) kitchen, and (10) stairs, ramps, and corridors.
Examines problems of accessibility in the home for people with physical disabilities. Discusses reasons why accessible design has not been popular among architects -- these include the confusion caused by conflicting design requirements, and the misconceptions that exist concerning disability and accessibility. Also examines the concepts of universal design, life span design, and adaptable housing. Universal design refers to design features which can be used by all people all of the time. These include products such as bathtub grab bars, push-button faucet controls, and lever-type handles. Life span design takes into consideration the fact that people's needs change as they grow from children to adulthood to old age. Adaptable housing refers to housing which is initially accessible to all people but which can be modified later through minor changes to meet specialized needs. This article discusses the steps needed to make universal design the standard in architecture. It presents examples of universal design features, permanent accessibility features, and accessibility options that can be implemented as needed.
Presents second part of two-part final report on three-year project about least restrictive housing environments funded by National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Project was collaborative effort between Barrier Free Environments, Inc., and several subcontractors. Seven chapters focus on: vehicular transportation and parking (accessible transportation, vehicle types and use, parking spaces, passenger drop-off areas outside traffic lanes, carports and garages, and extended roof shelters); entrances and site design (types of houses and accessibility, construction types, house placement for entrances, let the vehicle do the climbing, entrance approach, entrances, and walks; doors and doorways (doorway width, clear floor space, thresholds, door hardware, force to open door, types of doors, and modifying door widths and door swing); windows (clear floor space, window height, force to operate windows and locks, types of windows, improving use of windows, and windows as exists); kitchens (e.g. maneuvering space, knee space, turnaround space, heights and reach ranges, and three examples of accessible kitchen); bathrooms (e.g. bathing, getting in and out of tubs, removable seats at tubs, controls at tubs, roll-in showers, toilets, sinks, and grab bar installation); and bedrooms (e.g. room size, maneuvering space and clearances, space considerations for assisted transfers, emergency exits, closets, and sample bedrooms).
Final report from a project studying features of housing environments that enhance or limit the everyday functioning of persons with blindness or low vision. Two focus groups were conducted, one composed of working age and older adults with visual impairments and the second composed of professionals who serve infants and preschool age children with visual impairments. Participants identified housing features in specific areas in and around their homes and discussed the impact of these features on performance of activities normally conducted in those areas. They also discussed features they would like to have and believe would benefit their functioning in a particular room or area. This report presents the results of the focus group discussions, recommendations concerning housing design for persons with visual impairments, and list of additional readings.
Presents the story of the architectural home modification of one family who had a 10-year-old son with spinal cord injury and paraplegia following an automobile accident when he was 2 years old. After the accident, the parents began to work with representatives of the insurance company, the county orphans court, and the bank trustee to make accessibility changes in their home. The architectural basic services consisted of five phases, including schematic design, design development, construction documentation, bidding and negotiations, and construction contract administration. The goal of the project was to modify the existing residence so the child could fully share all of the family life in the neighborhood. The goal was also to help him regain independence and freedom in his daily activities. The article discusses the (1) accessible outdoor space, (2) appearance of the home, (3) exterior safety, (4) garage, (5) elevator, (6) bathrooms, (7) first floor, (8) kitchen, (9) vestibule, (10) exercise space, and (11) laundry/pantry.
Pamphlet provides information on grab bars. Grab bars are defined with federal standards provided. Installation is described covering diameters, spacing, and reinforcement requirements. The types of grab bars available are illustrated. A product resource list is provided.
The article examines funding for home modification and repair problems for the elderly individuals who have disabilities. The paper discusses (1) funding sources; (2) the Older Americans Act of 1965; (3) Title III funds; (4) Title V funds; (5) city and county funds; (6) state funds; (7) block grant programs (community development block grants, community services block grants, and social services block grants); (8) foundations; (9) charitable contributions; (10) fund raising; (11) client fees and contributions; (12) the U.S. Department of Energy; (13) parent agency income; and (14) publications relating to home modification (under the categories of general information, assessment, financing, program development, resource identification, and education). A resource summary is provided.
Describes the custom construction of a house designed to accommodate the needs of a wheelchair user. Includes an copy of the floor plan and several photographs illustrating selected features. The description covers both the exterior and interior design, including: walkways and driveway, entrances, the garage, basement, interior arrangement of walls, electronic controls for lights and for selected appliances, closets, window placement, bathrooms, kitchen, outlets and switches. The builder followed specifications outlined in the Veteran's Administration's "Handbook For Design: Specially Adapted Housing" (pamphlet #26-13, 1987), for two reasons: to allow the homeowner to qualify for financial aid and because the handbook provides valuable information about accommodating a wheelchair. An addendum to the article (from a separate author, Sam Clark) provides suggestions for modifications to entries, bathrooms, and kitchens.
Describes home modification for people with disabilities who find too many barriers in conventional homes. Looks at one home in particular with a barrier-free one-story build (three bedrooms and two bathrooms). A special central space called a bridge offers electronic controls for lights and appliances and affords view of kitchen, dining room, living room, entry way, and back yard. Attached garage provides convenient parking and ramp access to kitchen door. Basement has electric stair lift, utilities, and plenty of storage. Looks at ways to make wheelchair easier to operate (e.g. with concrete walkways at least five feet wide outside, ramps in front of house and inside garage, and all doors being at least three feet wide). Discusses adherence to Department of Veterans Affairs specifications because they are so helpful in providing tips on accommodating wheelchairs. Details on garage and basement provided.
Book providing practical information on adapting home environments to meet the individual needs of older persons with physical limitations. The book explains design concepts, products, and resources to help make an existing home more liveable for older individuals with limitations in movement, strength, dexterity, eyesight, or hearing. The accompanying illustrations show how to make your own modifications and also serve as a guide for designers and building contractors. The book includes information about physical and functional losses in older persons; solutions for accessible corridors, appliances, doorways, stairs, ramps, bathrooms, and kitchens; sources of funding for home modification; advice on hiring and working with building contractors; resources for additional information; and manufacturers of devices and hardware.
Book providing sketches and plans for 13 multi-resident and 13 single-family homes. Each entry includes brief descriptions of notable or unique features. An order form for blueprints and specification books is included.
Describes a study that examined assessment methods and identified priorities for home modification services for elderly individuals and people with disabilities. Study participants came from a wide variety of organizations that served older people with disabilities. All subjects lived in community housing. An interview asked a series of questions related to difficulties the subjects had using parts of the home. The self-report data were compared to data collected via a thorough assessment completed by a trained observer. For each subject, researchers prepared a report listing the barriers identified through assessment and making recommendations for eliminating barriers. Assessment included activities of daily living, fire safety, security, behavior problems, and building condition. Researchers visited each household to explain the recommendation and help subjects establish priorities. Data from 51 subjects suggest that methods of measuring environmental barriers deserve more research attention. Self-report data on the presence of barriers to independent living did not provide an accurate picture of the actual living situation. Each individual had a unique set of needs, though there were many frequently occurring barriers.
A guidebook for the disabled prospective homeowner on good design considerations for a barrier-free home. Addressed are preferred home designs, preferred lots and site locations, design elements in the construction of foundations that influence whether to use concrete slabs or ramps, doorways, door hardware, closets, bathrooms, water controls, kitchens, flooring, electrical, telephone jacks, bedrooms, windows, smoke detectors and other safety equipment, and garages. Appended is a list of 10 questions the disabled prospective homeowner should consider before designing and constructing the home. These address such issues as resale value, space requirements, lot layout, the use of ramps or a concrete slab, kitchen design, utility access, the need for therapy space, garage considerations, and bedroom design. Also appended is a suggested reading list.
Pamphlet describes the Universal Home model which meets all accessibility standards and codes. Descriptions and views of the total house floorplan and kitchen and bathroom features are presented. Standard and optional features are listed.
Article examines the role of technology and the home environment in safety for older individuals, noting most antifall interventions are not high technology: (1) safe mobility (proper lighting, object-free walking paths, appropriate flooring, transfers, and stairs and steps); (2) environmental control (including personal emergency response systems, antiwandering devices, and home automation systems); and (3) future needs: there is too little knowledge on how older individuals who are frail or have disabilities do household cleaning, use the shower and toilet, or retrieve objects from high shelves; there are gaps in product development, application, and marketing process; and there is a need for more intervention, training, and information dissemination about safety and technology for older individuals.
Presents information on accessibility for people with physical disabilities. Offers changes resulting from activity concerning accessibility laws and regulations for people with physical disabilities on all levels of government. Information is provided as follows: Public Law 90-480 (42 USC SEC.4151-SEX.4157) The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 as amended August 12, 1968; uniform federal accessibility standards; local laws of the City of New York for the year 1987 no. 58 effective September 1, 1987 (includes amendment local law no. 65, effective November 4, 1988); and American national standard for buildings and facilities: providing accessibility and usability for physically handicapped people.
Information packet contains eight fact sheets about housing for elderly people and people with disabilities. These fact sheets provide information about the following topics: 1) provisions of the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 relating to discrimination based on disability; 2) provisions of the Act relating to reasonable modification of existing premises; 3) provisions of the Act related to substantial equivalency (required for the certification of state or local agencies to handle fair housing cases); 4) provisions of the Act related to design requirements for new construction; 5) the Federal National Mortgage Association home financing program for older people; 6) definitions of the terms accessible, adaptable, and universal as they refer to the design of housing for people with disabilities; 7) benefits of accessory unit housing for elderly persons and persons with disabilities; and 8) financing sources that can help renters and homeowners pay for accessibility modifications to their homes.
Discusses the importance of adapting housing for individuals with disabilities, looking at the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA). There are five chapters: (1) introduction to adaptable housing: the FHAA mandated accessibility in multi-family dwellings and incorporated adaptability into each individual unit; (2) advantages and benefits of adaptable design (to builders and developers, to owners and renters, and to property managers); (3) FHAA requirements (prohibiting discriminatory housing practices against individuals with disabilities and their families; (4) summary of guidelines for new construction; and (5) recommendations of the Eastern Paralyzed Veteran's Association (focusing on covered multi-family buildings without elevators).
Established in 1978, HUD USER is a research-information service sponsored by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Among its many reference and referral services, HUD USER maintains a bibliographic database of research literature on housing and urban development topics. Subject areas include accessible design, building technology, community development, economic development, fair housing, energy and urban infrastructure, and housing for the elderly and people with special needs. Personalized searches of the HUD USER database are available, and printouts contain information on how to obtain copies of documents. While most of the publications contained in the HUD USER database are geared to professionals, many titles are designed for lay people. Copies of some documents may be obtained from HUD USER. Fees are charged for document handling and computerized literature searches. Prepayment is required.
With 25,000 listings, this directory is a detailed source on housing information for professionals to make informed housing recommendations. Two sections in each state chapter concentrate on the government agencies that manage housing in the state. In addition, a chapter on federal and national organizations provides a brief profile of the area of responsibility. Three additional sections in each state chapter describe the housing units themselves - large, residential, intensive care facilities in the state; group homes; and independent living facilities.
The Adaptive Environments Center, a nonprofit organization, offers consultation, workshops, courses, conferences, and resource materials on accessible and adaptive design and accessibility legislation, standards, and guidelines. The center's library contains a comprehensive collection of materials on accessible design. The center is funded through public and private contracts and grants. The center's publications, for which there is a charge, include A Consumer's Guide to Home Adaptation (obtained through the center) and Design for Access: A Guidebook for Designing Barrier Free State and County Buildings and Access Improvements Workbook (obtained through the State House Bookstore), the Title II Action Guide, and other ADA technical assistance materials (obtained through the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers [DBTACs]). The library is open to the public.
Barrier Free Environments (BFE) is a design firm specializing exclusively in the design of products and buildings to be used by aging people and people with disabilities. Product designers, architects, interior designers, and housing designers in the organization practice "universal design," in which all features are designed for use by all people to the greatest extent possible. BFE provides designing and consulting services to individuals, families, corporations, small businesses, and institutions on the following: home and building modifications for accessibility; design or redesign of consumer products and equipment for use by people with disabilities and aging people; and market research, advertising literature design, and media development. In addition BFE provides programs and seminars on accessible design, home modifications, products, equipment for accessibility, and training assistance on issues relating to design for people with disabilities and aging people.
The Center for Accessible Housing was established in 1989 by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to improve the quality and availability of housing for people with disabilities. The center provides assistance and information to individuals and industry through research, collaborative efforts with manufacturers, training, and information services. The center's research efforts focus on identifying and evaluating the success of design solutions to problems of accessibility in products and environments. A Design Advisory Network of more than 1,300 people with disabilities, family members, or close friends provides advice and guidance to the center, and members often participate in research activities. Information services include an information and referral service, a technical design assistance service, and publications. Training is provided directly to people with disabilities, disability advocates, designers, professionals in the building industry, housing providers, and design students at the post-secondary level. All materials and solutions provided by the center are based on the principles of universal design. Publications include a quarterly newsletter, Accessibility Standards for Children's Environments (1992), Accessible Stock House Plans Catalog (1993), Accessible Environments: Toward Universal Design (1991), Action on Accessibility: Proceedings of the International Accessibility Mini-Summit (1991), Design for Independent Living: Housing Accessibility Resource Book (1991), The Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines -- Requirement 1: Analyzing Site Impracticality on Difficult Sites (1992), Financing Home Accessibility Modifications (1993), and Housing Accessibility for Individuals with Visual Impairment or Blindness (1993). Fact sheets and "Tech Packs" are also available. A complete publications list is available.
The Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA) is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the needs of its members, as well as other people with disabilities, to lead full and productive lives. EPVA currently has the following programs: benefits service, hospital liaison, sports and recreation, wheelchair repair, architecture, research and education, program counsel, legislation and advocacy, social services, communications, library and information services, public affairs, and administration. EPVA also provides support for three professional associations: the American Paraplegia Society, the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses, and the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers. These organizations provide SCI health care professionals with an education forum for the exchange of technological information and ideas.
The Housing for Elderly and Handicapped People Division administers the Section 811 Program -- Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities. This program provides capital advances to private, nonprofit organizations for the development of housing with supportive services for people who have physical or developmental disabilities or who are chronically mentally ill. Project rental assistance funds are also provided so that residents pay no more than 30 percent of their adjusted incomes for rent. Types of housing that may be developed include small group homes serving a maximum of 8 people and independent living facilities consisting of individual apartment units for no more than 20 people per facility.
The National Handicap Housing Institute, Inc. (NHHI) was incorporated in 1975 as a tax-exempt charitable organization providing services related to the development of barrier-free housing for young adults with physical disabilities. NHHI has developed, codeveloped and consulted on the development of 1,065 units of barrier-free housing for low income young adults with mobility impairments. In addition, NHHI has provided design-related services and/or marketing consultation for the successful development of other units. The institute has conducted research on barrier-free housing design and developed architectural and product specification standards that are functional and affordable. In this regard, model kitchens and bathrooms have been built to test accessibility by people with disabilities, and virtually all brands and models of appliances and building hardware typically used in multifamily housing construction and specifications have been studied for their use by people with disabilities. NHHI has also surveyed the housing needs and preferences of people with disabilities as well as locational preferences to determine what housing features are needed to overcome problems resulting from specific disabilities. The institute provides information and referral on the availability of barrier-free housing in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota area to a major degree and to out-state Minnesota to a lesser degree. Information on various housing assistance programs that people with disabilities may be eligible for, as well as design and product information, is also provided. The institute has developed the design expertise necessary to assist architects, builders, and owners with many of their problems in creating new buildings and adapting and retrofitting older structures to be accessible. Institute experts interpret the pertinent codes and make recommendations that meet and, hopefully, exceed the codes functionally and aesthetically at minimal cost. The institute has a working knowledge of the requirements of 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and can assist government and industry in meeting the affirmative action and accessibility requirements demanded by this federal law. NHHI is capable of providing imaginative design solutions that overcome the problem of architectural barriers for people with disabilities.