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Old 09-07-2008, 06:07 PM
 
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Hello all,
I am considering moving to D.C. for a yearlong volunteer program with Americorps. I need to find my own housing and need a place that does not have stairs at the entrance (to get my wheelchair in and out). I have been emailing people daily on craigslist, with no luck-- most buildings are older and have stairs. The few accessible apartments I have come across seem to be (according to my online research) in high-crime neighborhoods and/or infested with roaches and mice. I live in a great place in FL with affordable rent, so I am not prepared to move unless I know I can find something comfortable. Any ideas?
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Old 09-07-2008, 06:35 PM
 
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I know what it's like as I'm a wheelchair user too. I live in a semi-accessible apartment in Gaithersburg, MD. You can get in and out, it has wide doors in every room, a roomy bathroom, etc.. However, things like the mailbox or the laundry room are not accessible. Trying to get the bathroom further modified would be extremely expensive. Since I have family to help, we went ahead and moved here. There are accessible apartments all over DC, but the better ones have long waiting lists. I know of a very good accessible apartments in Herndon, Va, and possibly Springfield, Va, but those are all out beyond the beltway. Where do you prefer to be?
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Old 08-16-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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Hello,

I have recently purchased an apartment complex in Dundalk Maryland. I am looking to have 5-6 fully handicap accessible apartments in the 14 apt complex.

I would love to gain more information on how to design the apartments to be very easy and accessible for wheelchairs. I would love if you guys could tell me things that are a "must" and things that you really wish your living apartments had.

Moderator cut: removed per request


Construction will begin in the next few weeks and hopefully should be done by january/feb 2010.

Also, feel free to contact me if you are interested in potentially renting in the future!

Last edited by Marka; 10-12-2009 at 05:00 AM..
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:33 PM
 
7,571 posts, read 9,702,686 times
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I'll be happy to advise you. A wheelchair user needs a place that they can roll to every room or part of their home. That usually means 30 inch wide, or wider, doors in every room and especially the entrance. Kitchens can be designed in Saspecial ways to make them good for both those in wheelchairs and those who stand up. Counters are slightly lower than normal, but still high enough that someone standing up can comfortably use them. There are disability friendly appliances that can be used, that are also still good for the non disabled folks. Very important is making sure the bathrooms are disability friendly. Toilets with bars mounted as specified in the A.D.A, Roll-in showers, sinks that are lower, but still hig enough for a wheelchair user to roll under it so they can get close to it, etc... The bathroom needs to be kind of large to accommodate all of that and still have room for chair user to manuever around in there.

The entrance needs to be fully accessible. In my apartments the door opens right out onto a sidewalk that connects to the regular sidewalk. There are no steps or barriers. You need van accessible parking (follow A.D.A guidelines). There needs to be a large striped off area on one side so ramps and lifts can be used. Strict enforcement of who parks there will be needed as all kinds of people will park in the space for "just a minute" but stay there for half an hour or more. Curb cuts throughout the apartment community would be nice. Laundry facilities should accessible, but in unit washer and dryer would be better. Mail boxes need to be accessible as well. Doors should be easy to open and close, and locks also may need to be lowered, but not always. Handles are better than doorknobs for opening the door.

Those are things I think of when looking at my current semi-accessible apartment. The biggest thing is for you to be willing to work with the disabled person to find the best solutions for their needs. Everyone is different, but doing the above things will mean 95% of the work is done, in advance. The A.D.A has good guidelines and whooever is designing should know what is required. You being the owner can demand more than the minimum requirements. When people hear that you have good accessible aparetments, and good disability friendly managment, you will have plenty of people who will want to live there. There will probably be a waiting list for them. Google "universal design" to find out more about how to make them accessible, but still good for able-bodied people.

This is all of the top of my head.
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Old 08-16-2009, 08:42 PM
 
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Thank you so much for all of your help. Another question I forgot to ask was, would 1 bed room, studio, or 2 bed room apartments be the most popular?

what would you recommend?
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Old 08-17-2009, 04:51 PM
 
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That, I do not know. Some live alone, some have families. I have a family so we live in a 3 bedroom apartment. There is no one size fits all.

Dundalk is not a place that I ever considered living in, but I'm glad to see you here asking. You might get better answers at Wheelchairjunkie.com then you will get here though.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:52 PM
 
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is that due to location? area? or other reasons? The area the complex is located is a good quite location. thank you for all of your help!
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Old 09-03-2009, 06:30 AM
 
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It's mostly location. I work in Arlington. I commute from Gaithersburg (only accessible, or semi-accessible, apartment we could find without a waiting list, and that we could afford). The commute from here is bad enough. I could not imagine what it would be like from Dundalk. The only way I would consider a place that far away is if the rent was much lower tham currently, and the accessibility was way better than now.
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:23 PM
 
6 posts, read 31,993 times
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Moderator cut: deleted per request

Also I would like to say thank you to everyone for all of your help, I hope to have the project started soon.

Last edited by Marka; 10-12-2009 at 04:59 AM..
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Old 09-18-2009, 08:14 AM
 
7,571 posts, read 9,702,686 times
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I'm paying $1295 for a 3 bed semi-accessible apartment. (note that this is an income-limited apartment -or subsidized - actual market rate around here is higher). If I could fine a place that is fully-accessible for that, or less, I would jump at it (not forgetting other factors, such as crime and good schools of course.)
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