November 29, 2016

RTC:Rural participating in national accessible housing workshop

On December 12, 2016, RTC:Rural Director Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D. and project collaborator Bryce Ward, Ph.D. Associate Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, will participate in a workshop on accessible housing hosted by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS). The day-long workshop is entitled “Housing for Vulnerable Older Adults and People with Disabilities.”

Housing influences community participation, independent living, and overall health and wellbeing, especially for vulnerable populations. In the United States, the demand for accessible and affordable housing for people with disabilities and older adults greatly exceeds the supply. This imbalance will continue to grow over the coming years as the population shifts to include a greater number of older adults and people living with disabilities.

Dr. Ravesloot was approached by the NAS to be on the planning committee to represent the perspective of research in rural communities. “I am pleased that the organizers want to highlight rural, and especially that accessibility, not just affordability, is a main focus,” he said. In addition to providing planning assistance and nominating Dr. Ward to present, Dr. Ravesloot is also moderating one of the panels.

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Dr. Ward is a research collaborator with RTC:Rural. At the workshop, he will be part of a panel entitled “Design Features of Accessible Housing for Older Adults and People with Disabilities.” His presentation will include an analysis of U.S. survey data sets that suggest a link between housing characteristics (such as number of steps at the entrance, or the presence of an elevator) and how people with disabilities spend their time. He will also discuss differences in housing accessibility between rural and urban areas. Dr. Ward’s most recent collaboration with RTC:Rural includes a new project called Effort Capacity and Choice, which aims to understand how exertion influences community participation, and is an expansion on research findings from RTC:Rural’s work with The Home Usability Network.

Drs. Ravesloot and Ward hope that this workshop continues a national dialogue about the importance of housing for the health and quality of life people who are aging and people with disabilities that translates into national and state policy initiatives.

A drawing of two cartoon houses.

For more information on the RTC:Rural’s research on housing, visit our research pages: