Friday, June 26, 2009

Visitability Workshop a Success

On Monday of this week, Alabama Power hosted a Visitability Workshop. Eleanor Smith, the main speaker at the workshop, defines visitability as a movement to change home construction practices so that virtually all new homes - not merely those custom-built for occupants who currently have disabilities - offer a few specific features that make the home easier for people who develop mobility impairments to live in and visit. The emphasis is on entering a home and fitting through the interior doors. Ms. Smith spoke to a group of about 100 attendees, and talked about the positive aspects of making a home visitable and the reasons why it is imperative to make all new homes visitable. Graham Sisson, the state ADA Coordinator, gave a brief overview of the City of Birmingham's Visitability Ordinance. Charles Moore, the Executive Director of the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham, spoke about Habitat's experience with visitability. The workshop concluded with a panel discussion, facilitated by Dr. Gary Edwards of United Cerebral Palsy of Birmingham. The panel included Scott Renner, Charles Moore, Cindy Yarborough, HUD Field Office Director , Eleanor Smith, and Scott Phillips. The panel took questions from the audience. There was an opportunity for people to tour two "visitable" homes in Birmingham after the workshop.

If you would like more information about visitability and how to get involved, go to

Independent Living Resources of Greater Birmingham would like to thank our co-sponsers of this event. They are: The City of Birmingham, Habitat for Humanity Greater Birmingham, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Collaborative Solutions, Inc., Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, Governor's Office on Disability, and United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham.

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