Life starts at home.
A core value of independent living is full and equal participation in life activities. Participation is as much about the environment as it is about the individual. Independent living philosophy emphasizes that much of what limits an individual’s full and equal participation is in the environment in which he or she lives. This includes both the person’s community and their home. In fact, home is the springboard for community participation. Having a usable home is key for a person to live independently and participate in society.
Addressing these basic accessibility needs has been the focus of housing advocacy for decades. Indeed, civil rights legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Amendment Act, is intended to make housing available and usable for people with disabilities. However, data from the 2011 American Housing Survey indicate that over 50% of households with someone who has a mobility impairment still have steps at their entrance. Clearly there are many people today who could benefit from making their existing home or apartment more usable.
Home Usability Networks
A Home Usability Network is a group of individuals and organizations that bring together their knowledge, resources, and creativity to develop customized solutions to individual usability problems. Home usability needs and solutions are diverse and may be unique to the individual. Through building local collations we are calling a “Home Usability Network,” or HUN, we hope to move towards customized home usability solutions. The home usability network (HUN) is a coalition of consumers, Center for Independent Living (CIL) staff, and community providers or professionals vested in helping people solve usability problems. These networks will use innovative strategies to find customized solutions to individual usability problems.
Home Usability Research
While research on environmental factors is increasing rapidly there is not much empirical research on housing usability. Even more, while advocacy interventions have shown promise for addressing a variety of systemic issues, systematic evaluation of advocacy approaches to improve housing usability has not been reported. This project will collect data looking at both the state of housing usability (through the Health and Home Survey) and an individually focused advocacy intervention in partnership with local centers for independent living.
- Project dates: 2012-2016
- Funded by: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research Grant No. H133B110006
- Principal staff: Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D, Lillie Greiman, M.A., Robert Liston, M.A., Andrew Myers
- Project partners: The Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Kansas.
- Related projects: