Accessible New Housing Project
Accessible and visitable housing is essential for individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) to be fully included in their communities. However, many housing industry professionals are not educated on the importance or the implementation of accessible housing standards. Programs to educate builders and architects on the advantages of building new homes to meet visitability and/or accessibility standards can help ensure accessible housing is more available and that communities become more accessible to all of its members.
Develop a broad coalition of organizations that will work to increase the number of visitable/accessible, new single-family homes throughout the state, which include the first level of accessibility for people with DD.
The project had 31 member builders and certified a total of 46 homes with prices ranging from $130,000 to $1 million. Program staff worked with EasyLiving Georgia to obtain the capacity to certify remodeled homes in addition to new homes.
Program staff offered membership to several builder associations across Texas, providing an opportunity to stay abreast of industry activities and information. They also served as members of several housing councils which provided updated information on more than 50 homebuilding initiatives nationally.
Program staff trained and worked with five Centers for Independent Living to help promote awareness of the program and educate consumers. Staff also educated representatives of community development centers. An executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Waco began ensuring that all homes they constructed were visitable. The director continued to educate other Habitats on accessibility features and how to incorporate them. Presentations and training sessions were given at consumer home shows.
Program staff attended and staffed informational booths, disseminating information about accessibility at builder shows, and at the Association of Texas Realtors Conferences in 2009 and 2010. Educational information was provided to over 5,000 real estate professionals, including a “visitable home” checklist. This checklist was made available online. Awareness of the program was also achieved through ads and news stories across print, radio, and television media.
Program staff provided information to approximately 4,000 architects and interior designers throughout Texas via ads in publications and a statewide mailout. Staff assisted builders in outreach to potential homebuyers by providing marketing resources, posting information on the website, and submitting press releases and announcements for new member builders or when homes were certified. Program staff participated in an advisory capacity on an AARP-directed housing committee, allowing them to educate policy makers. Staff also worked to educate students in the design field by presenting at the Art Institute of Austin’s interior design class and the Society of Student Architects at Texas A&M.
- 46 homes were certified through the program
- 31 member builders were recruited and participated in the program
- 4,000 architects and interior designers were educated on the program
- Over 5,000 professionals received information at the Association of Texas Realtors Conferences
- Radio ads aired in Dallas, Austin, Houston, and surrounding areas and three ads were published in the Texas Realtor Magazine
- News stories aired on El Paso’s Fox news, Telemundo, and on the Focus on Abilities program
- A staff member was a guest on the Home Improvement Zone radio program
- Program staff served as members on multiple committees and associations, allowing them to influence policy makers