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VISITABLE HOUSING PROJECT

Photo of a woman and man in an accessible home, relaxing and chatting on a sofa.

The concept of VisitAble Housing has been discussed in the United States since the 1980s. But there is still more work to be done to make it a reality in Canada. VisitAble Housing has three essential features on the main floor including: (i) a no step entrance; (ii) clear passageways; and, (iii) an accessible bathroom.

 

In 2013, the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (CCDS) launched its latest initiative on VisitAbility, entitled: “Collaborative Knowledge Building and Action for VisitAble Housing in Canadian Cities”. This three-year project on VisitAbility funded by the Government of Canada’s Social Development Partnerships Program—Disability Component wrapped up in March 2016.

 

The objective of our project was to promote VisitAbility by highlighting promising policies and best practices, and encouraging the development of strategies to promote VisitAbility. Our work showcased positive aspects of VisitAbility, including active living, social inclusion and sustainability. The project team completed major tasks, including new research on VisitAbility, a case study on the Bridgwater neighbourhood in Winnipeg, the Awards of Excellence in VisitAble housing, and the development of promotional materials.

 

The project team couldn’t have accomplished all of this without the tremendous support of our six task forces. Here are some highlights of their work:

 

  • The British Columbia First Nations task force was highly successful, championing a resolution at the 2015 Assembly of First Nations Annual General Assembly to support the B.C. First Nations VisitAbility activities to improve housing accessibility.
  • The Richmond task force focused on public education, leading several public engagements.
  • The Edmonton task force worked to get VisitAbility on the radar of municipal policy makers, as well as students.
  • The Winnipeg task force created modern VisitAbility standards, did community outreach, and worked with students to teach them about VisitAbility.
  • The Kitchener-Waterloo task force focused on educating professionals in the housing industry, policy makers and political leaders.
  • The Ottawa task force worked with municipalities in the region, forming a partnership with the City of Ottawa’s Affordable Housing Unit to ensure VisitAbility in future projects, and getting VisitAbility included in the City of Ottawa’s 2015 Accessibility Design Standards.

 

Throughout the project, we have seen changes within each community where we worked. VisitAbility is catching on as an inclusive concept as we move forward in creating more inclusive communities. What could be a stronger statement on inclusion than the ability to invite anyone into your home?

If you would like to learn more about VisitAble Housing, check out the CCDS VisitAble Housing Website.

 

There you will find our digital magazine (in English and French) the final product of our project in English and in French. These stories highlight lessons for homebuyers, building industry professionals and policymakers across Canada.

 

Work on VisitAble Housing is continuing at CCDS this year, 2016–2017. Through a one-year grant from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), CCDS is exploring the barriers to VisitAble Housing through interviews with a broad spectrum of stakeholders. It is our hope that this CMHC Project will reveal current barriers, and innovative strategies of implementation, with a hope that the option of VisitAble Housing is available soon throughout the housing market in communities across Canada, and so doing contribute to an ever increasingly inclusive Canadian society for all.

 

For the full report, click here.

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Photo of a woman and man in an accessible home, relaxing and chatting on a sofa.

For the full report, click here.

Photo of a woman and man in an accessible home, relaxing and chatting on a sofa.
Photo of a woman and man in an accessible home, relaxing and chatting on a sofa.
Photo of a woman and man in an accessible home, relaxing and chatting on a sofa.
Photo of a woman and man in an accessible home, relaxing and chatting on a sofa.
Photo of a woman and man in an accessible home, relaxing and chatting on a sofa.
Photo of a woman and man in an accessible home, relaxing and chatting on a sofa.