Mayor Daley Calls For More Accessible And Visitable
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 8, 2003
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--If proposals by Mayor Richard M. Daley are approved by the City Council, Chicago will become the largest U.S. city to use its building code to expand housing options for people with disabilities, the Sun-Times reported Friday.
Daley's plan calls for 10 percent of single-family homes and town houses to be accessible to people that use wheelchairs and another 10 percent to be "visitable". Such housing would include wider doorways and staircases, with power at the top and bottom to accommodate installing a wheelchair lift. They would also include features such as door levers instead of doorknobs, easy-to-use faucet handles, and easy-to-reach light switches. Accessible homes would include a 3/4 bath on the first floor, while "visitable" homes would have a half-bath.
Officials expect the features to increase the cost of a large residential project by no more than one half of one percent.
Marca Bristo, president of Access Living, said that last month alone, 480 people with disabilities phoned her office to complain that they could not find accessible housing. Bristo applauded the mayor for his efforts, and added accessible housing needs will continue to grow as baby-boomers age.
"All of us will acquire a disability at some point in our lives and none of us expect to," Bristo told the Sun-Times.
"Visit-ability: an Approach to Universal Design in Housing" (Rehabilitation Engineering and Research Center on Universal Design at Buffalo)
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