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Disability Action Center NW

MAKING IDAHO’S HOMES & COMMUNITIES VISITABLE

Finding housing in the United States these days can be difficult. If you have a mobility-related disability and need an accessible home it gets even harder. When it comes to multi-family housing, like apartments, there are certain accessibility requirements under the Fair Housing Act, which was passed on April 11th, 1968. But private, single-family homes are neither covered by the Fair Housing Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a result we have been building millions of homes for decades that are virtually inaccessible to people with disabilities, or those of us who are simply getting older.

Now some Idahoans are working to change this. The Idaho Access Project, Disability Action Center NW, the Living Independence Network Corporation, and others are working to see more “visitable” single-family homes built in Idaho.

Visitability refers to single-family residential development designed to accommodate anyone unable to negotiate steps; including those using a wheelchair or walker. A visitable house meets three basic requirements:

1. One zero-step entrance.

2. Doors with 32” of clear passage space on the first floor.

3. One bathroom on the main floor that you can enter and use in a wheelchair.

It is about more than just one home. Homes and neighborhoods designed with visitable features replace a sense of isolation with a meaningful, connected community. Visitability features makes life easier for lots of people: an occupant or visitor moving a baby stroller, wagon, or bicycle; a driver delivering new cabinets or appliances; a homeowner or installer moving those items into the house, and very young or very old visitors. This isn’t just about accessibility. It’s about everybody.

Does it cost more? Incorporating visitable design features ads almost no additional cost to new home construction. Removing structural barriers after the fact is always more costly, stressful, and time-consuming than planning ahead. In fact, many real estate professionals see accessible homes as a growing segment of their business. Basic visitability features are a sound investment. Nine out of ten Idahoans want to age in place, in their own homes and neighborhoods. Builders who recognize this reality will stand out. Adding these features increases the resale value and allows you stay in your home when you or a family member experience a change in mobility. But single-family construction isn’t covered by the ADA or Fair Housing standards. Make sure your new home has the features you will need, both now and in the future.

More important, if you know a builder, developer, architect, or city or county planning and development staff who work in residential housing, ask them if they will support building visitable homes and communities.

Idahoans value freedom, independence, and common-sense solutions. Visitable home design and construction supports the freedom to live where we choose and to remain independent as we age. Disability doesn’t care how you vote, what we believe, or where we live. Visitable homes and neighborhoods keep families together and promote strong communities. That’s what Idaho is all about, and it’s time we see these values in our housing.

For more information about visitability, click here.

LINC has three offices to serve you. www.lincidaho.org

1182 Eastland Drive North Suite C
Twin Falls ID 83301
(208) 733-1712 VOICE
(208) 733-7711 TDD

1878 West Overland Road
Boise ID 83705
(208) 336-3335 VOICE
(208) 336-3335 TDD
(208) 384-5037 FAX

703 S. Kimball Ave
Caldwell ID 83605
(208) 454-5511 VOICE
(208) 454-5511 TDD
(208) 454-5515 FAX