Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Equal Rights Center Launches Multi-Faceted PSA Campaign Focusing on Emerging Housing Issue of “Visitability”

from the Equal Rights Center:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Equal Rights Center (ERC), a national non-profit civil rights organization, and the D.C. Office of Human Rights (DCOHR), have launched a multi-faceted campaign to raise awareness around the issue of “visitability.” This campaign is the second part of 2011’s “what is WRONG with these pictures?” campaign.

The visitability movement advocates that the design of all new single family homes include minimal accessible features—one no-step entrance, acceptable width doors, and an accessible bathroom on the ground floor—that will allow individuals with disabilities to visit family, friends, and others in their place of residence. Federal law requires some accessibility features in the construction of apartments, condominiums and places of public accommodation, but does not yet address accessibility standards in single-family homes—a substantial portion of the housing market. “Visitable” homes are constructed to ensure that visitors with disabilities can enter the house, move about the ground floor, and have access to a bathroom. These features are much less expensive to include originally than to retrofit later.

“It is estimated that by the year 2050, one in three families will include an individual with a disability. Ensuring families can continue to enter homes and visit their loved ones is a key factor in the visitability movement,” said Ashley White, ERC Communications and Outreach Manager. “We hope that, through this campaign, more individuals learn about the importance and ease of constructing homes to allow those with disabilities to be welcome in any house.”

In 2011, the ERC and DCOHR joined together to establish the, “What is WRONG with these pictures?” campaign. The focus of the 2011 campaign was to give people, both with and without disabilities, a fun and stimulating forum through which to learn more about accessibility. The campaign also provided resources on accessibility, an easy to use complaint form, and testimonials from people with disabilities encountering accessibility barriers in their daily lives.

Building on the success of the 2011 campaign, the ERC and DCOHR launched this year’s campaign on the emerging issue of “visitability.”

“The majority of families live in single-family homes, which are not federally required to adhere to any accessibility standards. Yet, as the population continues to age and veterans return from war, more and more individuals are finding themselves unable to enter their homes,” said Kat Taylor, ERC Disability Rights Manager. “The visitability movement is quite exciting in that it pushes developers and designers to implement basic accessibility features in all new homes. 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.”

The campaign’s website, www.disabilitygame.org, is an interactive forum centered on a game educating users about the three pillars of visitability as well as the benefits of the visitability movement. The tools presented on the site are part of the ERC’s ongoing initiative to encourage everyone to learn more about accessibility barriers for people with disabilities.

The campaign includes a print advertisement campaign in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.

To view the campaign, visit www.disabilitygame.org.