infinitec logo
live tab learn tab paly tab work tab search tab
grey line
For home modifications specific to persons with blindness or visual impairment, see Modifcations for Vision Loss
For Home modifications specific to persons with hearing loss, see Modifications for Hearing Loss

Universal Design

Accessible housing doesn't simply mean a house with a ramp or lift. In fact, the concept of universal design extends to all—old, young, tall, short, blind, deaf, physically disabled, and non-disabled. Even features for persons with mental disabilities can keep people safe and comfortable at home.

We have always had the technology to accommodate, but attitudes have shifted. People expect to be able to tailor their properties and just about anything else. We’re not stuck with standard heights and widths any more, so terms such as barrier-free and ergonomic are common to the average vocabulary.

We can choose to have 80-inch doorways for a nice flow of space. We can install easy grasping door levers, instead of door knobs. If we choose a 60-inch front, back, and bathroom doors, our homes are visitable by most. If we choose to have a ramp or lift, as well as stairs, we have universal design.

Organizations that Promote Barrier-Free Environments and/or Offer Information:

An advocacy organization to keep people with disabilities living in their own homes and communities, rather than nursing homes. Organizes disability rights activists to engage in nonviolent direct action, including civil disobedience to assure the civil and human rights of people with disabilities to live in freedom.

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
National organization for people aged 50 or over offering diverse resources and benefits; the substantial Web site has a search option to locate articles on numerous topics, including those about home modification. Order a free copy of "The Do Able Renewable Home," from a vast collection of publications; AARP also maintains a library.

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
The AFB offers resources and information pertaining to all aspects of life for persons who are blind or visually impaired. AFB Information Center: 1-800-AFB-LINE (232-5463), or e-mail:

Center for Universal Design
Safety standards, accessibility guidelines. products and services, technical assistance, a database of public transportation systems throughout the U.S., and many ore resources relating to universal design

Directory of Centers for Independent Living/ILRU
Look up the Center for Independence near you on The ILRU Web site (Independent Living Research Utilization). ILRU is a national center for information, training, research, and technical assistance in independent living.

Concrete Change
This organization has launched an international campaign to make virtually all homes visitable (accessible to all) by providing the most essential features; such as accessible entrances, exits, and interior doors. The organization advocates quick, widespread construction around the world.

Directory of Centers for Independent Living
Click on your state for the CILs nearest you.
Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities: resources, services, and information available throughout the federal government, including information on the fair housing laws and housing resources.

Disability Resources Monthly Web-Watcher
Thousands of the best disability-related resources on the Internet personally selected by the staff of Disability Resources Monthly and alphabetically arranged by subject.

Internal Revenue Service Info page-Publication 502
Complete list of items you can and cannot deduct as medical expenses. For Instance, you CAN deduct porch lifts, ramps, and construction costs to modify a house for accessibility, as well as expenses incurred for same in rented dwellings, guide dogs, etc.

National Center on Accessibility
NCA is an organization committed to the full participation in parks, recreation and tourism by people with disabilities, technical assistance, courses, information, resources, and maps of accessible trails.
This organization is a clearinghouse of information to help elderly or frail individuals remain living in their own homes as comfortably and as successfully as possible. Among other things, NRCSH equips families and individuals with the knowledge to plan for their housing, health and supportive service needs.

A concise guide covering definitions; fair housing laws and guidelines; initiatives from the Assistive Technology Act grantees; advocacy, financing, modification, and research resources; accreditations; online courses; and a bibliography. (Probably the most complete list of resources available regarding adaptive housing.)

U.S.Access Board
The Access Board is an independent Federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities.