Campaign Urges Greater Housing Accessibility
Most single-family homes are not accessible to people with physical disabilities. Now, a public awareness campaign is looking to change that.
The effort launching this week is encouraging so-called “visitability,” the idea that all housing should be accessible to those with disabilities.
At a minimum, this would mean that homes have at least one entrance without any steps, a wheelchair-accessible bathroom on the first floor and doors that are at least 32 inches wide.
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“The majority of families live in single-family homes, which are not federally required to adhere to any accessibility standards,” said Kat Taylor, disability rights manager at The Equal Rights Center, a national civil rights group which produced the campaign along with the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights.
“In the long run, these standards would not only guarantee more housing options for people with disabilities, but also assist individuals who acquire disabilities later in life to remain in their homes and age in place,” Taylor said.
Taylor and others behind the campaign are urging builders to integrate visitability standards in all new homes, arguing that such modifications are far cheaper to make when a home is built rather than waiting to retrofit it later. What’s more, they say the need for accessibility is going to increase exponentially in the coming years with 1 in 3 families expected to include an individual with a disability by 2050.
The campaign dubbed “what is WRONG with these pictures?” includes an online game where players are challenged to identify whether or not situations are accessible. The effort also includes a series of bus-stop advertisements in Washington, D.C.