RehabWire - Volume 5, Number 3, March 2003

RehabWire goes Home Sweet Home for March. The projects, articles, and resources featured in this issue tackle home-ownership, home modification, and universal design.

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millennium.

Louisiana Community Housing Advocacy Network (LA-CHAN), Louisiana State University (H133G020211) led by Phillip Wilson, PhD. Richard E. Wilson II, EdD, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project recruits, hires, trains, and supports two individuals with significant disabilities to serve as housing advocates. These individuals are the primary point of contact between the project and the communities they serve. The goals of the project include: (1) establishing an array of community housing options for individuals with disabilities and low incomes, (2) establishing programs and supports/services necessary to ensure that individuals with disabilities and low incomes have access to community housing options within participating communities, and (3) a network of key stakeholders concerned with community housing issues.

Survey of Home Ownership Nationwide, University of New Hampshire (H133G000034) led by David Hagner, PhD. Richard E. Wilson II, EdD, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project systematically investigates the quality-of-life outcomes of home ownership for people with severe disabilities and the personal, service system, financial system, and support network variables associated with achieving and maintaining successful home ownership. Five interrelated studies are conducted: (1) a home ownership outcome study, using in-person structured interviews across six states to examine the effect of home ownership on quality-of-life and quality-of-service prevision; (2) a study of facilitating and inhibiting factors in home ownership, based on telephone interviews with disability service system personnel, and informal support persons assisting the successful and unsuccessful home seekers identified in the outcome study above, in collaboration with the UNH Center for Survey Research; (3) an investigation of the predictors of mortgage company underwriting decisions to test the effect of differences in disability, assistance, and income sources on mortgage lending; (4) an intensive case study of selected home owners to examine the personal meaning of home ownership and the process of overcoming barriers; and (5) a follow-along study of the variables associated with long-term success by successful home owners.
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Rehabilitation Engineering and Research Center (RERC) on Universal Design and the Built Environmental at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo (H133E990005) led by Edward Steinfeld, ArchD. William Peterson, Project Officer.
Abstract: The RERC on Universal Design and the Built Environment promotes the adoption of universal design. Research programs include the Buildings in Use Project that demonstrates the benefits of universal design by conduting post-occupancy evaluations of buildings currently in use. The Visitability Initiative conducts training and action research in eight cities to develop visitability demonstration projects, and is a collaboration with Concrete Change, a consumer advocacy organization focusing on making housing "visitable" by people with disabilities. The RERC's activities also include universal design education and technical assistance, along with publication and dissemination of universal design resources.
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National Resource Center on Supported Living and Choice for People with Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Syracuse University (H133A990001) led by Steven J. Taylor, PhD. Ellen Blasiotti, Project Officer.
Abstract: This product conducts information dissemination, training, and technical assistance on community inclusion, with a specific focus on supported living and choice. The Center identifies and documents innovative policies and practices for ome ownership, self-directed support services, self-determination, self-advocacy, and community participation. Activities include the preparation of information materials for direct support staff, a national survey of state funding for supported living, and increased efforts to address the needs of historically underrepresented groups. The project maintains an information clearinghouseon supported living and choice and disseminates resource material to target audiences.
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Exploring Universal Design: Developing and Disseminating Universal Design Education Material Online, North Carolina State University (H133G000025) led by Molly Story. William Peterson, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project develops an interactive web site of universal design instructional materials, project ideas, visuals, teaching strategies, and resources for use by design faculty, students, practicing designers, and user experts.
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graphic of a house with a t-square and a book

Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Universal Design and the Built Environment at NCSU, North Carolina State University(H133E990002) led by Molly Story. William Peterson, Project Officer.
Abstract: This RERC improves the accessibility and usability of the built environment and advances the field of universal design. To achieve its goals, the RERC conducts an integrated program of research and development programs, training programs, and a comprehensive program of information and referral and technical assistance. The major Center research project is developing multidisciplinary environmental assessment tools to evaluate the complex and dynamic relationship between the individual and the environment. Another research project is documenting a set of case studies of successful universal design implementations. Development projects include creating model architectural plans and products that demonstrate maximum universal usability. Training activities include postsecondary and continuing education and supporting the biennial international conference on universal design.
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New Research: Selections from REHABDATA

Newcomer, R., Kang, T., Kaye, H.S., LaPlante, M. (2002) Housing changes and moves into supportive housing among adults with disabilities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 12(4), 268-279. PRO-ED, Inc. Accession Number: J44263.
Abstract: Data from national surveys was used to determine the extent to which the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) was associated with the likelihood of moving among adults with disabilities. The analysis makes a distinction between any moves from independent housing and moves from independent housing to supportive housing. Increased difficult with ADL tasks such as bathing, dressing, eating, and toileting generally increased the likelihood of a move. For older adults, increases in ADL difficulties were associated with moves into supportive housing. Decreased ability in IADLs had little association with the likelihood of moving.

Heller, T., Miller, A.B., Hsieh, K. (2002) Eight-year follow-up of the impact of environmental characteristics on well-being of adults with developmental disabilities. Mental Retardation, 40(5), 366-378. University of Illinois/Chicago. American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR). Accession Number: J44354.
Abstract: The impact of environmental features of residential settings on adaptive behavior, community integration, and health of adults with mental retardation over an 8-year period was examined. Environmental features included residence type, size, choice-making opportunities, physical attractiveness, and family involvement. At the 8-year follow-up, most of the residents hadmoved from nursing homes into community settings. Results indicated that residents who moved to community settings had higher levels of adaptive behavior and community integration than those who remained in nursing homes. A more attractive physical environment and greater opportunity for choice making were associated with higher levels of adaptive behavior. Greater opportunity to make choices and family involvement were associated with higher levels of community integration.

Polister, B., Lakin, K.C., Smith, J., Prouty, R., Smith, G. (2002) Institution residents continue to decrease as community setting residents grow at an accelerating pace. Mental Retardation, 40(6), 488-490. Accession Number: J44358.
Abstract: PResents statistics on the decreasing number of people living in residential institutions and the increasing number of people living in community housing. Tables present (1) number of persons by residential category, (2) number of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in state and non-state residential setting between June 1982 and June 2001, and (3) each state's current distribution of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities by size and type of residential setting.

Gold, S.F., Vaughn, B., Langbehn, K., George, C., Heinsohn, D., Kessler, D., Jones, D.L., Buppapong, R., Petty, R. (2002) Housing resources: Making section 8 work for you: A national teleconference: Participant's manual: March 20, 2002. IL Net. Accession Number: O14292.
Abstract: Participant's manual for a teleconference training seminar on housing resources. Topics covered include an overview of the National Council on Independent Living's (NCIL's) position on housing issues, disability housing issues, the section 8 program, other funding options and resources, and action steps.

Connell, B.R., Jones, M., Mace, R., Mueller, J., Mullick, A., Ostroff, E., Sanford, J., Steinfeld E., Story, M., Vanderheiden, G. (2002) The principles of universal design. North Carolina State University Center for Universal Design. Accession Number: O14381.
Abstract: Describes seven principles that may be applied to assess existing designs, guide the design process, and educate designers and consumers about the characteristics of more usable products and environments. The principles: (1) equitable use, (2) flexibility in use, (3) simple and intuitive use, (4) perceptible information, (5) tolerance for error, (6) low physical effort, and (7) size and space for approach and use.

Smith, E., Levine, D., Bartlett, W., Talboys, R., Yencer, R. (2002) Visit-ability: An approach to universal design in housing.State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Universal Design. Accession Number: )14382.
Abstract: Book presents an overview of Visit-ability, an affordable and inclusive design approach for integrating basic accessibility features into all newly built homes and housing. Contact information for organizations that can assist in developing community Visit-ability projects is provided.

Ostroff, E., Limont, M., Hunter, D.G. (2002).  Building a owrld fit for people: Designers with disabilities at work. Adaptive Environment Center. Accession Number: R08257.
Abstract: Presents the biographies of 21 people with disabilities who are active in the design of universally accessible environments.

(2002) National organizations concerned with mental health, housing, and homelessness. National Resource Center on Homelessness and Mental Illness, Policy Reserach Associates, Inc. Accession Number: R08268.
Abstract: Resource list of federal agencies and national organizations concerned with the mental health treatment, services, and housing needs of individuals and families who are homeless. Each entry provides a mailing address, telephone number, brief description of services, as well as a contact person, fax number, email address, and website address, where applicable.

photo of a construction site

Recently, HUD launched a new education and outreach program on the Fair Housing Act and accessible housing. Known as Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST, the program provides guidance and training on the act, including its design requirements. A new website at provides information on educatoin materials, training sessions, frequently asked questions, and links to other resources. A training curriculum developed by a team of architects and housing accessibility experts includes modules covering the requirements of the act and other disability rights laws, enforcement, common design violations and solutions, and access to kitchens, bathrooms, and other spaces. A toll-free information line is also available at 888/341-7781.