Northwest ADA Center Regional Conference in Boise Sept. 19, 20

(From the DBTAC site):

Communities Celebrating Equal Access and Employment Through the ADA

Learn how the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2013 is reshaping opportunities for citizens with disabilities.  The Northwest ADA Regional Conference will bring together an impressive array of speakers to Boise, touching on many of the topics important to our work and play.

Whether you run a business, manage a hotel, work for local government, or have a disability and want to enjoy the recreational opportunities of Idaho, this conference offers excellent information.  Hear experts from the Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Access Board, and from the Job Accommodation Network, as well as regional authorities.

Idaho in September is beautiful and registration is limited. Check out the agenda and speakers to confirm that this conference is the one you don’t want to miss.

Featuring Nationally Recognized Speakers:

Sally Conway
U.S. Department of Justice

Beth Loy
Job Accommodation Network

Peggy Greenwell
U.S. Access Board

Sharon Rennert
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Richard Pimentel
Nationally Renowned Speaker and Advocate

This two-day event will be held at The Grove Hotel in downtown Boise, ID. The conference will offer four keynote sessions as well as 16 breakout sessions on a variety of topics, including:

  •     Employment and People with Disabilities
  •     Role of the ADA Coordinator/ADA Title II
  •     Accessible Outdoor Recreation
  •     Effective Communication
  •     Assistive Technology
  •     Service Animals

Regisratation Cost: $175
(includes lunch and refreshments)
Register Here

Conference Location
The Grove Hotel
245 S. Capitol Blvd
Boise Idaho 83702

Room Block is available at the Hampton Inn & Suites Boise
Room rates are $130 Online hotel registration

For Content Information:
John Dineen 

For Registration Information:
Tammi Olson 

The role of housing in implementing Olmstead, and why it matters to everyone

The 1999 Olmstead decision clarified the court’s intent to afford persons with disabilities the opportunity to live independently in and as part of the larger community, which in turn means access to opportunities available to all persons.

To quote from the ruling, the goal is to seek “the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities” or “a setting that enables individuals with disabilities to interact with non-disabled persons to the fullest extent possible.”

Housing is key to community integration, as where we live determines our access to a host of essential community services. HUD’s message on this is also clear:”Individuals with disabilities, like individuals without disabilities, should have choice and self determination in housing and in the health care and related support services they receive. For this reason, HUD is committed to offering individuals with disabilities housing options that enable them to make meaningful choices about housing, health care, and long-term services and supports so they can participate fully in community life.”

There are many efforts underway in Idaho to achieve the aims of Olmstead, and will take communication and coordination among all partners to create a diverse mix of housing choices throughout the state’s many regions. Housing alone doesn’t make a community accessible, but it’s a really good place to start.

Read more here: Olmstead and housing

Money Follows the Person (MFP)

Money Follows the Person (MFP) is a federal initiative whose goal is to move currently institutionalized persons with disabilities into home- and community based care. This is seen as a way to improve quality of life and enhance independent living for individuals, and to save federal and state Medicaid dollars. Idaho and other states are currently researching the design and implementation of MFP.

Check out the web site for the Welcome to the Housing Capacity Building Initiative for Community Living project here.

See also the information available at TAC.

See also the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services description of MFP here.

Check back for additional resources and information regarding MFP.

Inclusive Design Gets Customers in the Door

By Erik Kingston, PCED

More and more single-family home buyers, builders and designers are recognizing the obvious: we’re all seniors in training (if we’re lucky), and each of us has friends, family members or neighbors with disabilities.

Smart Business Practice. Think of it. What other industry would tell nearly half of its potential customer base, “our products are not for you or your friends and family; we don’t need your business?”

As with most innovation, visitable single-family construction will evolve through a combination of customer demand, builder savvy, and/or regulation. The demand is there, based on the number of folks with mobility impairments who don’t need or want to live in an institution. Baby Boomers are aging, and we (and our parents) prefer the comfort and independence of living in homes that meet our changing needs.

Builders who anticipate these needs will start building and marketing Homes for Life, just as they now build to LEED and “Super Energy Good Cents” standards to attract customers who want to save energy costs. Creative and visionary builders will lead the way to a sustainable housing market, either by acquiring and renovating existing properties or building new homes to Universal Design standards. Here’s what the American Planning Association has to say on the topic.

Simple, cost-effective construction guidelines. Some building professionals are reluctant to consider ‘one more standard.’ There are also many popular misconceptions about the costs of creating ‘visitability.’

Thankfully, the pros at Concrete Change and elsewhere have researched real-world costs to build or adapt homes, and a set of practical, easy to implement construction guidelines that highlight two basic features:

  1. one zero-step entrance.
  2. doors with 32 inches of clear passage space.
  3. one bathroom on the main floor you can get into in a wheelchair

In most cases, visitability can be achieved by simply specifying 2’10” or wider entry and passage doors.

Medicaid savings. There’s plenty of talk about saving Medicaid costs at the state and federal levels. According to estimates provided by the Idaho State Independent Living Council (SILC) in 2002, the average Medicaid recipient with home-based care saves Medicaid up to $32,000 (by some estimates) every year when compared to institutional care. This doesn’t even account for the quality of life issues and personal independence that come with living in your own home. Those interested in maximizing outcomes from Medicaid investments might consider advocating for housing that is both affordable and accessible.

Demographic changes. Wheelchair users are not all seniors. Wounded warriors, athletes and professionals all want housing that is close to services, retail, recreation and culture and that allows them to live independently. They represent a strong market for well-designed and well-built housing that can be used by anyone, whether they currently have a disability or not.

Access means business. Besides residential construction, small business represents a potential market for contractors with knowledge about accessible design practices. There are thousands of small businesses throughout America that can (and should) be made accessible. Someone has to build and install those ramps, widen doorways, and install grab bars in bathrooms. Even better, there are excellent tax incentives for small businesses to remove barriers.* See more on this at

Lean more. Here is one example of how we get to the point of equal access and independent living. To add more news, send an email to and type ‘accessible future’ in the subject line. Let’s do it.


*Note. The former Concrete Change web site contained several helpful resources that are not contained in the current site, although a .pdf version of a portion of the original material is available here:

Archived Concrete Change resources (some links are inactive; as those resources are located they will be posted on this page).

Information from the National Association of Home Builders

Future of Housing: Meeting Accessibility Needs from the AARP

Home For Life, a virtual tour from Remodeling Magazine demonstrating how to create or modify a home for the rest of your life.