Vermont Housing Program

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

Direct Access is working 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 will Direct Access create a plan that ensures safety and mobility within the home; accessibility plans will include suggestions for modifications that will improve 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 are also undertaken to ensure effective implementation of recommendations.


Guidance including the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 will be used as the guideline for recommendations; suggestions will also be made based on research and the knowledge of experienced accessibility consultants who will determine additional solutions outside mandatory guidelines that will support an individual’s independence and overall quality of life.

The goal of this pilot program is 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 wants to ensure a person can safely access their home but also strives to ensure participants can enjoy life like every other person without a disability.

As a pilot program, international standards are also used to trial new concepts such as the UK’s Wheelchair Accessible Homes standard.

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