Sending Office: Honorable Janice D. Schakowsky
Sent By:

Deadline for Originals: COB Friday, July 19th

Supported by: Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Council on Independent Living, American Society of Interior Designers 

Dear Colleague:

I invite you to join me as an original cosponsor of the Eleanor Smith Inclusive Home Design Act of 2019. This legislation would make more new homes accessible for people with disabilities, seniors, and veterans.   

Many towns and states have already incorporated accessibility standards into their building codes.  This list includes Chicago, Naperville, Bolingbrook, and Urbana, Illinois; Atlanta, Georgia; Iowa City, Iowa; St. Petersburg, Florida; Pima County, Arizona;
Vermont; Texas; Kansas; Minnesota; and others.  A federal law would build on that momentum.

The Inclusive Home Design Act is based on the concept of integrating basic accessibility features into newly-built homes.  The legislation would require all newly-built single-family homes and townhouses receiving federal funds to meet several accessibility
standards, including:

  1. At least one accessible (or “zero step”) entrance into the home;
  2. Doorways wide enough for a wheelchair on the main level;
  3. One wheelchair accessible bathroom; and
  4. Light switches and thermostats at reachable heights from a wheelchair.

Currently, only 5 percent of new single-family homes and townhouses built with federal assistance require any access features that make it possible for people with mobility impairments to live in or even visit the homes.  The remaining 95 percent are built
with unnecessary architectural barriers.  The average added cost to incorporate accessibility features at the time of construction is between $100 and $600.  Retrofitting a home, on the other hand, can cost thousands of dollars. 

Passage of the Inclusive Home Design Act would mean that all homes built with federal dollars would be accessible, and the number of homes available for people with disabilities, seniors who want to age in place, and veterans would be greatly increased.  

If you are interested in joining as a cosponsor of the Eleanor Smith Inclusive Home Design Act of 2019, please contact Kate Durkin in my office at x52111 or by email at


Jan Schakowsky

Member of Congress 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Civil Rights, Consumer Affairs, Finance, Government, Veterans

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