Skip to Full Menu

Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

"Visitability" Measure To Be Re-Introduced In Congress
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 29, 2003

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--According to recent U.S. census information, about 20 percent of the population experiences a disability. A University of Michigan initiative estimates that the number will climb to nearly 50 percent by the end of the decade as "baby boomers" age.

But federal law only requires 5 percent of new homes to be accessible to people who use wheelchairs, for example.

"Visitability" is the relatively new term for the movement toward including accessibility features -- such as no-step entries, doorways that are wide enough for wheelchairs, and accessible first-floor bathrooms -- in all homes. The cost of building these features into a new home can be less than $500, while the cost of building these in later can run in the tens of thousands of dollars.

For this reason, U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced the first federal visitability legislation, HR 5683, last fall. He plans to reintroduce it in the new Congress. The measure would require all newly built single-family homes and townhouse apartments receiving federal funds to meet basic visitability standards.

Builders have been reluctant to accept new visitability regulations, but say they would encourage voluntary efforts.

"Unlimited By Design", a traveling exhibit featuring universal design, is now on display at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design through March 22.

Unlimited By Design


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.