On Friday, March 7, 2008, the Coalition for Visit Ability announced to the Virgin Islands its legislative proposal to give tax incentives to homeowners who include accessible entrances, accessible passageways and an accessible bathroom in their construction or renovation.
The Coalition for Visit Ability is made up of five Virgin Islands groups who have spent the last year discussing and crafting legislation that looks to a future that includes everyone and enables people to age comfortably in their own homes. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Ad Hoc Advocacy Committee, the V.I. University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, the V.I. Association for Independent Living, the Disability Rights Center of the V.I. and AARP Virgin Islands worked together patiently to promote their common interest in homes that allow families to care for each other and visit each other as families experience the limitations of age or disability. Many people collobrate and shared their ideas about Visit Ability and how incentives can be legislated to motivate people to look forward and include those with limitations in their daily lives.
Visit Ability has three simple features that allow people with limitations to stay in their own homes and visit the homes of others.
1.) An accessible entrance: At least one entrance to the dwelling should be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities such that the accessible route does not contain any steps; is located on a continuous and unobstructed path from the public street or driveway; will not exceed one inch rise for every twelve inches in length; has a width not less than thirty six inches; and may include curb ramps, parking access aisles, walks and ramps.
2.) Accessible interiors: All first floor doors and passageways that are designed to allow passage within the dwelling should have an unobstructed opening or passageway of at least thirty six inches.
3.) Accessible bathroom: At least one bathroom on the first floor of dwelling should contain a clear floor space of thirty six by forty eight inches centered on the sink. Clear floor space will allow a person in a wheelchair to enter and close the door; use the fixtures therein, reopen the door and exit. This will create a space that is not encroached upon by the swing space of the door. Clear floor space will give a wheelchair user a parallel or head on approach to the sink and toilet without obstruction. Bathroom walls should be strong enough to support grab bars bearing three hundred pounds.
For more information, please call 340-692-1919.