During housing crisis, need for accessibility draws little attention

JMU News

by Madison Buiting


Harrisonburg, Virginia — The largest minority group in the U.S. is comprised of people with disabilities and it is the only minority group that anyone can join at any time.

Yet, as headlines about the housing crisis appear daily in newspapers and prompt discussion on network news, the need for accessible homes is drawing little attention.

“We need more functional homes in the housing stock for people to choose from,” says Sarah Pruett, an occupational therapy instructor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Pruett also runs a nonprofit business alongside her husband with the goal of increasing universally accessible homes. “With a universally designed home, people won’t have to end up in a crisis where they’re struggling with, ‘How do I get inside? How do I get upstairs? How do I put my child to bed if I can't get upstairs?’” Pruett said.

Universally designed housing is not only suitable to people with disabilities, but it can also allow the country’s growing number of older Americans to live independently as they age.

“People are struggling to find housing, in general. And they're also struggling to find something that's affordable while meeting their functional need,” Pruett said.


Contact: Ginny Cramer, cramervm@jmu.edu, 540-568-5325

More information about James Madison University, including rankings and recognitions can be found at jmu.edu/about.

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Published: Monday, May 2, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2024

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