Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 5:57am
Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today announced that the City will hold a unique conference on accessible housing coming in April. "Creating Accessible Communities: A Conference for Housing Consumers, Builders, and Developers" will be held at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on April 23.
The conference is sponsored by the Mayor's office, in cooperation with Access to Independence, the Madison Area Community Land Trust, and other groups. Members of the community interested in accessible housing will be invited to learn more about the need for accessible housing in the Madison area, and what can be done to increase the availability of accessible housing for the people who need it. The conference will focus on accessibility in both the multi-family rental and single-family home ownership markets.
"Statistics show that, as the 'Baby Boom' generation ages, the need for accessible housing will increase," said Mayor Cieslewicz. "This generation sets new standards for living longer and staying more active. They want to stay in their homes in the community, not be isolated in nursing homes or segregated in separate buildings or communities."
The "visitability" movement stresses that housing throughout all of our communities should be "visitable" by people with mobility issues, allowing full integration of people regardless of their abilities. The Madison Area Community Land Trust is on the forefront of developing model "visitable" communities and neighborhoods on Madison's east side.
As many local architects, housing developers, and housing consumers can attest, increased accessibility can be attractive and functional. It benefits not only people with disabilities, but also families with young children, seniors, and those with temporary disabilities.
The keynote speaker for the event will be Steven Levine. Levine, a Madison attorney, is the current President of the State Bar of Wisconsin. He is Assistant General Counsel of the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. As a member of the State Uniform Dwelling Code Council, appointed by Governor Doyle, he is interested in how state building codes impact the accessibility of new housing construction. He also has a personal interest in accessibility as a person with Multiple Sclerosis who has used a wheelchair for mobility since 1980.
Additional support for the conference has been provided by American Family Insurance, the Wisconsin Architects Foundation, the City of Madison's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Office, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and the Community Living Alliance.
Registration for the conference is FREE if you register on or before Monday, April 16, $25 if you register after April 16. For more information, contact the Mayor's office at (608) 266-4611 or Textnet/TTY (866) 704-2340.
- George Twigg608-266-4611