Below are a collection of helpful links on various topics providing information to help illustrate the need for accessible housing, and for other assistive programs. These resources are the property of their individual author(s) and are provided to Accessible Alabama for illustrative purposes only. Click on the toggle below to expand the choices for each topic and to open the content.

Accessible Design Links

Residential Rehabilitation, Remodeling and Universal Design

Residential_Remodel_CoverIn recent years it has become more widely recognized that residential design must address a dynamic range of people and abilities. Housing in this century must be adaptable to accommodate the differing needs and requirements of the users. Individual characteristics such as strength or agility should not prevent a person from safely using and enjoying all features in their home. This design approach, known as Universal Design, strives to make day-to-day living and home tasks possible and safer for everyone, allowing a person to remain independent for as long as possible. To read more, click the image at left.

Universal “Smart Home” Design Plans

Schwab HomeUniversal Designed “Smart” Homes for the 21st Century – 102 Home Plans you can order and build.
We work with you personally to design your home or home addition with attention to your specific site and climate and with Life-Span features based on the Principles of Universal Design. Mr. Schwab is also a Certified Green Professional (CGP/ NAHB) and we design with sustainability details and specifications, or even more energy saving methods if you wish. For more information, click here.

HomeFreeHome Online

HomeFreeHomeLogoStarting in 2006 on Long Island, New York, HomeFreeHome is expanding to other states. Architects have already volunteered in many states including; Texas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida and are ready to start work.

Home Free Home is an all volunteer organization that relies on local volunteer architects and university students.  We are currently in the process of reaching out to volunteers across the country to grant resources to families in need. To learn more, click here.

Universal Design – How to Build Your Dream Home

Ability Mag ImageBy all standards I had it all. I had been married for three years to a wonderful man, Mark Leder. We were living in a home we had built when we were first married. My two-year-old speaking, training and consulting business was doing well. Life was plump with promise! Then all of this changed on June 13, 1998. Click here to read more.

Universal Design Laboratory Home

Universal Design LaboratoryUniversal design is a framework for the design of living and working spaces and products benefiting the widest possible range of people in the widest range of situations without special or separate design. Universal design is human-centered design, accommodating people of all sizes, ages, and abilities. Click here to learn more.

Universal Design Living laboratory Tours

Tour Home PicOlder adults and people with physical limitations will get to see how design might provide independent and quality living during tours of the Universal Design Living Laboratory, 6141 Clark State Road, from noon to 6 p.m. daily.

The self-guided audio public tours of the 3,500-square-foot ranch-style Jefferson Township home cost $10, with all proceeds benefiting spinal-cord-injury research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. To learn more, click here.

Livable Design Online

Livable Design LogoLivable Design’s forward thinking concept in home building beautifully integrates long lasting functionality for a family’s ever-changing lifestyle.

A home is more than just a house. For most people, a home is an investment, a place for a family to grow and where memories are created. A Livable Design home not only adds value for families living there, but also provides builders with a differential advantage in the marketplace.

Livable Design’s Seal of Approval provides verification that home environments meet the Livable Design standards. Builders simply integrate the design guidelines into their own unique floor plans. All designs then go through a formal review process, resulting in a seal of approval at one of three levels. Learn more about the seal of approval program. Click here to learn more.

Livable Design’s Seal of Approval

LD Seal of ApprovalLivable Design’s Seal of Approval provides verification that home environments meet the Livable Design standards. Builders simply integrate the design guidelines into their own unique floor plans. All designs then go through a formal review process, resulting in a seal of approval at one of three levels. Click here for more information.

A Shore Bet in Adaptable, Accessible and Barrier-Free Design

Shore Bet_Pic
The important thing for people to understand is the concept of universal design is about ability, not disability,” noted Adrienne C. Hamilton, Director of Construction with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Richard Duncan, Director of Training for The Center for Universal Design, College of Design at North Carolina State University adds, “Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” Click here to read more.

Welcome to!

This web site, a university-based and non-profit effort, is dedicated to promoting aging in place and independent living for persons of all ages and abilities. It offers training and education opportunities for professionals who wish to respond to the increasing demand for home modification services. It also serves as an information clearinghouse on home modification to equip professionals and consumers with a comprehensive inventory of resources such as a National Directory of Home Modification and Repair Resources. Click here to learn more.

Welcome to The Center for Universal Design!

Center for UDThe Center for Universal Design (CUD) is a national information, technical assistance, and research center that evaluates, develops, and promotes accessible and universal design in housing, commercial and public facilities, outdoor environments, and products.  Our mission is to improve environments and products through design innovation, research, education and design assistance. Click here to learn more.

A House for All Children

House for all ChildOur overriding goal in A House For All Children has been to provide guidelines for creating a safe and supportive home environment for children with physical disabilities. We feel strongly that allows children with disabilities to function at the peak of their abilities to function at the peak of their abilities to function at the peak of their abilities – whatever the type and degree of their physical challenges. Learn more by clicking here.

Home Innovation Research Labs

Home InnovationAs the interest in aging-in-place grows, so does the demand for seniors-appropriate new homes, renovations, and assistive devices. This information can help builders and remodelers address the needs of their older clients, and builders focused on building houses for every need. Click here to learn more.

Home Innovation Research Labs

Seal of Approval Standards CoverThe Livable Design Seal of Approval is an independent validation awarded to new homes that incorporate Livable Design’s inclusive, flexible and beautiful design standards. This document provides an overview of the program standards. For specific guidelines and more detailed information, contact us at [email protected]. Click here to download the standards manual.

Livable Design Virtual Tour

Virtual Tour PicBuilt in October 2008, the Livable Design Demonstration Home is an award-winning, real life model that showcases the Livable Design Seal of Approval program at its best. Click here to take a tour.

New Infographics Reinforce the Need for Livable Design

Rural Housing ImageThe Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Kansas recently produced some new infographics illustrating the current housing conditions and how they impact people with mobility challenges.  This comprehensive look gives quick visual data on just how many Americans are living in homes that do not meet their basic needs.  What a great reminder of how important it is to change the way we build homes! For more information click here.

Download Flyer A here.

Download Flyer B here.

Welcome to Zero Step!

Zero StepThe purpose of the ZeroStep program is to provide consumers with information about a home design concept known as universal design. Universal design not only adds functionality to a home, it can also help make it a much more pleasant place to live. A good Universal Design plan should be so attractive that you don’t even realize it’s a universal design home – it’s simply a home that everyone would want. Click here for more information.

For Zero Step links, click here.

Aging in Place, Gracefully, With Universal Design

InMotion HeaderA man’s home is his castle; however, many seniors and people with disabilities may feel like prisoners in their own home if they can’t get around like they used to. To learn more, click here.

The Home Store – Universal Design

Kitchen DesignThese fully accessible Universal Design layouts were designed for The Home Store by the late Ron Mace, FAIA, when he was the Director of the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University . They work well in modular homes that have an interior module width of 12′ 9″ or wider. Click here for more information.

For all of our Universal Design products, click here.

Universal Design Floor Plans

SHD_LogoSpecialized Home Design (SHD) wishes to partner with those companies that produce universal and accessible home design floorplans for single family residential homes.  If you are a designer of universal designed single family residential homes and would like to be recognized on this page, please contact us at 616-887-8130. For more information, click here.

Welcome to American Access

American AccessAmerican Access is a US Manufacturer offering the most complete line of modular wheelchair ramps.  Our customers’ top concern should be their health. Arranging the delivery and installation of the equipment needed to assist them – that’s our job. For more information, click here. 

Generations Series Homes – Homes for Easy Living

Generations CoverGenerations Series Homes are based on The Universal Design Principle and designed to accommodate people of all ages and abilities. Download our brochure by clicking here.

Accessible / Visitable Links

What are VisitAble Homes? – YouTube Video

Visitable Homes_PicThis video outlines the features of VisitAble homes, as well as the advantages of owning one. Click here to view the video.

Blueprint for Action

Blueprint for ActionOur society’s changing demographics include the aging of our Population and an increase in the number of persons with disabling conditions. As a result, many people experience obstacles in their homes that are inconvenient, limiting, and dangerous. They are beginning to realize that their homes can better support their needs through home modifications; that they can remain in their homes and neighborhoods rather than move to more institutional settings. To learn more, click here.

HUD – Barriers to Rehabilitation of Affordable Housing

HUD LogoThe rehabilitation of the country’s aging housing stock is a major resource for meeting the Nation’s affordable housing needs. Large numbers of communities recognize this and use HUD, as well as other public and private resources, to address their affordable housing needs.


Download Part 1 here.

Download Part 2 here.

World Institute on Disability

logoHome Ownership for People with Disabilities: The Not So Impossible Dream.  Disability, in and of itself, is not a barrier to home ownership. The key is building the right team, along with your ability to save money, manage your debts, tap into special programs, and to be flexible. Certainly, your options will increase given the money and cash flow you can generate, but there are options for almost everyone. So long as you are focused, patient and willing to compromise, you can achieve your goals.  Click here. 


Fall LogoWhile many agree that home modification is key to supporting aging in place, evidence suggests that home modifications are present in only a small number of homes. Experts have estimated that more than one million older persons with health and mobility problems need additional supportive features in their homes to age in place.  For more information, click here.

Aging in Place Links

Is Aging In Place A Pipe Dream?

Aging in Place PicFormer secretary of HUD Henry Cisneros’ mom lived in the house she and her husband bought in 1945 until last month, two weeks after her 90th birthday, when she was hospitalized, and the doctor said it wouldn’t be responsible to let her go home because her disorientation and forgetfulness would likely result in another incident. Cisneros reluctantly helped her moved to a memory care facility, and the visits are wrenching. To read more, please click here.

Aging in Place: A State Survey of Livability Policies and Practices

AARP LogoIn the next 20 years, the number of adults age 65 and older will nearly double in the United States. Many of these people will reject high-priced institutional care and, instead, will continue to live in the community, even if they have one or more disabilities. The degree to which they can participate in community life will be determined, in part, by how well their physical environment accommodates them and the level of services provided.

Download our report by clicking here.

Retirees embrace ways to stay put, age in place

USA_TodayThe vast majority of people age 50 and older want to stay in their homes and communities for as long as possible, AARP data show. The group has expanded the definition of aging in place to include people either remaining in their own home or staying in the same community in other possible housing options, says Rodney Harrell, director of Livable Communities in AARP’s Public Policy Institute.

To learn more, click here.

Medicaid Links

Medicaid Matters: Charting the Course to a Healthier Alabama

More than a million Alabamians have Medicaid coverage that allows them to get the regular, timely medical care they need. This report looks at Alabama Medicaid from four angles: how it works now, how it’s improving coverage, who’s still left out and how we can make it stronger.

Download Report (PDF)

Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone

ADA_LogoIn 2009, the Civil Rights Division launched an aggressive effort to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead v. L.C., a ruling that requires states to eliminate unnecessary segregation of persons with disabilities and to ensure that persons with disabilities receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. To read more, click here.

To read Olmstead: Community Integration for Everyone, click here.

To read about Olmstead champion Lois Curtis meeting the president, click here.

To see the “Faces of Olmstead” please click here.

To watch a video about the Olmstead decision, please click here.

Realtor Information Links

Specializing in Seniors Real Estate and Housing

CSHP LogoWe exist to educate and equip senior housing and real estate professionals across North America to effectively navigate the complexities of late in life moves so as to insure that senior adult clients and their families have access to professionals with not only a full appreciation for the unique circumstances involved in transactions involving older adults but the competency to insure their successful completion. To learn more, please click here.

Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham

Neighborhood Housing of BhamNeighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham, Inc. (NHSB) was chartered in 1970 with a mission to stabilize urban neighborhoods in the city of Birmingham by offering programs and services that empower individuals to overcome their present and upcoming financial challenges. To learn more, please click here.

Aging-in-Place Remodeling

NAHB LogoIf you’re like the majority of Americans over the age of 45, you want to continue living in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. According to AARP, older home owners overwhelmingly prefer to age-in-place, which means living in your home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level. To learn more, please click here.

Universal Design/Build

NAHB LogoUniversal Design/Build presents a shift in the approach to residential design and construction. Comfort and convenience regardless of age, stature or ability is the hallmark of inclusive design. Designers suppliers, builders, remodelers, social and health service providers will benefit from the creative design concepts and practices presented to develop market-driven projects that have broad aesthetic appeal as well as the necessary functional attributes. To learn more, please click here.

Types of Home Construction: 50+ Housing

NAHB LogoNAHB forecasts that the share of households headed by someone age 55+ will increase through 2019 to account for more than 45% of all U.S. households. These ever-growing ranks of empty-nesters, new retirees, grandparents and active seniors create an opportunity for builders across the country to meet the special needs and preferences of 50+ buyers looking to relocate, downsize their homes or find a new senior-friendly community. To learn more, please click here.

Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP)

NAHB LogoThe Housing Credit Certified Professional (HCCP) is a specialized designation for developers, property managers, asset managers and others working in the affordable housing industry through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. To learn more, please click here.

Social Security Links

Social Security Disability Benefits Guide

Social Security disability benefits can provide for your family when an injury, illness, or disability prevents you from working and earning an income. Applying for these benefits is often seen as a cumbersome process, however, requiring several steps, a slew of complicated paperwork, and even in-person hearings.


This guide explains how Social Security disability benefits work and features tools to help you determine whether your disability, illness, or chronic condition is enough to qualify.

Click here to visit The Simple Dollar’s Social Security Disability Benefits Guide.

Technology Links

How Will Mobile Device Accessibility Settings Impact Aging?

Technology_PicMobile devices are a critical tool for aging in place, especially for individuals with disabilities. Accessibility settings combat loss of sight with enlarged font and zoom, loss of hearing with video phone calls and Made for iPhone hearing aids, and deterioration of fine motor skills with custom gestures, voice commands and bluetooth joysticks. To read more, click here.

The Smart Apartment for People with Disabilities

Smart ApartmentThe Smart Apartment is the first state-of-the-art interactive model apartment on the east coast to be located within a rehabilitation hospital. The groundbreaking facility gives patients and community members the opportunity to use a variety of hi-tech equipment targeted to help individuals with disabilities lead independent lives in their own homes. To view the video, please click here.

The 5 Best Apps That Wheelchair Users Should Know About

Technology publication MakeUseOf brings their roundup of the five best apps for wheelchair users, including iAccess Life, Wheelmap, and more. All five apps support both Android and iOS devices. Check out the article here.

Veterans' Resources & VA Housing Links

Housing Assistance for Veterans

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and VA Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) partner to provide permanent, supportive housing and treatment services for homeless Veterans. For more information, click here.

Subtance Abuse Rehab for Veterans logo has compiled information for each step of the substance abuse rehab process – from learning about substance abuse treatment programs to accessing treatment. They also provide additional resources, hotlines, and funding programs to supplement or help make treatment possible. For more information, visit’s Substance Abuse Rehab for Veterans section. has also provided their list of top-rated, low-cost rehab programs, as well as a guide to choosing the right rehab program.

Financial Links

Financial Resources for People With Disabilities

This article by Madison Trust Company discusses and links to resources on budgeting, ways to save, setting financial goals, and more. Click here to read the article.