204793 How Many Houses Need Access?: New Demographic Data and Implications for Advocacy

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:30 PM

Eleanor A. Smith, MA, M Ed , Concrete Change, Decatur, GA
Currently a high percent of new houses continue to be built with major barriers such as steps at all entrances and narrow doors. When advocates press for policy requiring basic access in (nearly) all new houses, opponents often assert that only a very small percent of the population need accessible houses. Refuting this assertion, the presenter researched and co-authored "Aging and Disability: Implications for the Housing Industry and Housing Policy” (Journal of the American Planning Association, Summer 2008). The authors demonstrate that the common practice of citing the current percent of the population who have physical disabilities is an inaccurate way to assess the need for accessible homes. We demonstrate that at least one in four new houses built today will have a resident with a severe long- term mobility impairment, and as high as 60% of new houses, and describe how this data was derived. The presenter, who coordinates a national advocacy group pressing for universal housing access policy, will discuss how the data has already been used in specific advocacy efforts for policy change as well as the implications of the data for public health in terms of aging in place, mental health relating to social inclusion, avoidance of falls, prevention of injury to movers and other workers who carry heavy items, and caregiver health.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the percentages of likelihood that a house built in 2000 will have, over the lifetime of the house, a resident with a long-term, severe mobility impairment, using two measures of disability. List the six factors used to derive the percentages. Discuss the uses of the data in advocating for housing policy.

Keywords: Housing, Health Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I co-authored the JAPA article under discussion. I have led many advocacy efforts for accessible houses over the past 20 years. I have presented at national conferences of the American Planning Association, National Council on Independent Living, American Institute of Architects, and many others
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.