Disability Community News: Update on CCDS VisitAbility Project

CCD is pleased to share information about the VisitAbility Project, being conducted by the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies.  Jim Derksen has been representing CCD on this project.

Project Title: Collaborative Knowledge Building and Action for VisitAble Housing in Canadian Cities

Funder: Government of Canada's Social Development Partnerships Program — Disability Component

Organization: Canadian Centre on Disability Studies (CCDS)

Project Period: 3 years from May 1, 2013 to March 31, 2016

Project Team: Susan L. Hardie, Allen Mankewich, and Youn-Young Park (CCDS Staff)

Definition of VisitAbility

VisitAbility is a movement to change home construction practices so that virtually all new homes offer a few basic accessibility features making the home easier for people with mobility difficulties to live in and visit. Although there are a few interpretations of VisitAbility, three essential features are commonly identified for VisitAble housing:
1) No-step entrance (at the front, back or side of the house)
2) Wider doorways and clear passage on the main floor
3) A main floor bathroom (or powder room) that can be accessed by visitors who use mobility devices

VisitAbility does NOT offer total access, but does allow people with mobility difficulties to enter a house without assistance from others, and provides access to the rooms and bathroom on the first floor.

Goal and Objectives

This project intends to promote VisitAble housing for all people living in Canada, including seniors and persons with disabilities. The project objectives are:

  1. To increase understanding of VisitAble housing by highlighting lived experiences and reviewing current policies and practices, impacts, barriers, and best practices;
  2. To develop and implement strategies to promote VisitAble housing among buyers, builders, policy makers, and other stakeholders; and
  3. To increase the awareness of VisitAble housing by highlighting the positive impacts, such as safety, social inclusion and active living of residents, inclusive community building and sustainable housing.

Key Project Activities

Key project activities include:

  • Six task forces across Canada who promote VisitAble housing locally.
  • Research on VisitAble housing (e.g., literature/document review, environmental scan, case study, interviews).
  • Development of information material and resources on VisitAble housing (e.g., video, factsheet, brochure, display banner).
  • Creation of a provincial/territorial resource list for VisitAbility informaton.

For more information contact CCDS:

Email: ccds@disabilitystudies.ca