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Tag Archives: zero-step
Access Means Business
Ramp Up Idaho began with a late 2012 Idaho Community Review team visit to a retail establishment in Eastern Idaho. One member of the group used a powered scooter, and the economic development professionals in the group realized that the step at the building entrance was not just a barrier to a wheelchair, but also to commerce and retail activity. Click on the link below to read more about this innovative project and to learn how small businesses can make use of existing resources and incentives to increase access.
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.
The Ramp Up Idaho project started as a conversation among community and economic development professionals last year who noted that barriers to access = barriers to commerce. Many rural communities lack a unified approach to accessibility; although many resources are available to fund improvements, few businesses or local governments know where to start.
Ramp Up Idaho aims to change this through outreach, building partnerships and connecting businesses, chambers and communities with available resources and accurate information. By getting various stakeholders to talk about planned downtown projects early enough to leverage investments and existing capacity to remove barriers in more cost effective ways.
“A simple conversation can lead to cost-saving partnerships and tools business owners never knew existed…not to mention expanding access for everyone.”
In just the past few weeks, more partners have expressed interest in joining the discussion. Many see this as a way to expand the discussion about access to new audiences with different perspectives. Whenever people start thinking about access to essential services, it’s easier to make the leap to a broader conversation about more inclusive communities in general.
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.