Georgia Coalition Offers Voluntary 'Visitability' Program

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While a handful of municipalities across the country require new homes to meet 'visitability' standards, a Georgia coalition is taking a broader tack.

March 01, 2004

 

While a handful of municipalities across the country require new homes to meet "visitability" standards, a Georgia coalition is taking a broader tack. AARP Georgia, Concrete Change, the Home Builders Association of Georgia and other public and private entities created EasyLiving Home, a voluntary, statewide program that first certified a home in 2002.

To be certified, homes must have first-floor accessibility, including three key components:

  • Easy access: a step-free entrance
  • Easy passage: 32-inch-wide doors
  • Easy use: a main-floor bedroom, kitchen, entertainment area and wheelchair-maneuverable bathroom

Program director Bonnie Bonham says building to EasyLiving Home standards adds $50 to $500 to the home’s cost, including certification fees.

EasyLiving Home lists 18 registered builders, has certified 40 homes and reports that 100 more designed for certification are planned.

Atlanta-area builder Bobby Lunceford constructs 35 homes a year, ranging in price from $300,000 to $3 million, and has been including accessibility features for years. He promotes the EasyLiving Home certification, including its ability to boost resale value, in his marketing.

He says accessible homes appeal to people who want to age in place as well as those with disabilities. He also points out that an injury can temporarily limit mobility at any time.

The EasyLiving Home program offers builders marketing support and use of the logo. Bonham says a national replication process is in the works, with a goal of a spring 2005 rollout in other states. For more information, visit www.easylivinghome.org.

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