State of Vermont Housing Program – (DAIL)

A small porch of a house in Bethel, Vermont with a small flight of stairs leading up to the door.

Direct Access worked with the State of Vermont’s Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living (DAIL) on an innovative pilot program with care providers to audit homes of Vermonters with disabilities for accessibility.

Eligible individuals are receiving Developmental Disabilities Home and Community Based Services (DS HCBS), Brain Injury Program services (BIP), or Choices for Care Adult Family Care services (AFC). Direct Access will complete a home visit to evaluate areas of safety, accessibility, and mobility for the residence including, but not limited to, entrances and exits, (walkways, handrails, doorway widths, ramps), common areas, bathroom(s), bedroom, and entrance to and egress from the home. Not only did Direct Access create a plan that ensures safety and mobility within the home; but our accessibility plans included suggestions for modifications that will improve people’s quality of life and ability to access independent daily life activities as well as hobbies and enjoyment activities within the interior and exterior of the home.

Recommendations are developed for home modification utilizing assistive technology to enable individuals with disabilities to maintain independence which is important to overall wellbeing including mental, emotional, and physical health.

These modifications can range from recommendation of simple solutions to fixing railings, modifying entrances for wheelchair access to smart home technology to lock and secure entrances, open blinds, and turn on appliances within the home. Follow up visits were also undertaken to ensure effective implementation of recommendations.


Guidance including the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 were used as the guideline for recommendations; suggestions were also made based on research and the knowledge of experienced accessibility consultants who determined additional solutions outside mandatory guidelines that will support an individual’s independence and overall quality of life. As a pilot program, international standards were also used to trial new concepts such as the UK’s Wheelchair Accessible Homes standard.

The goal of the pilot program was to shift to a completely person-centered approach. While guidelines are critical, it is also important that we think of the whole person. Direct Access aimed to ensure a person can safely access their home but also strived to ensure participants can enjoy life like every other person without a disability.

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