Commission delivered final report to Congress on June 28, 2002
Return to
Home Page
News Archive

Testimony to
The Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Facility
Needs for Seniors in the 21st Century
November 7, 2001
Michael Conroy

Mr. Chair and Commissioners, I'll try to be brief.

I can speak from any number of perspectives. I'm a Medicare beneficiary since I was 21. I was rendered paraplegic. I live independently, but actually it's closer to the truth to say I live interdependently. I didn't build the roads I drove on, the schools I was educated at nor the homes I live in.

I could count my blessings at length. Over the years I have provided possible solutions to these problems, that is, the lack of visitability, the lack of the ability to visit my friends' homes, my extended family's homes. I've been speaking to people that didn't seem to be interested in solutions. They didn't see that there was a problem.

I was 21 when I was hurt. I discovered medically many conditions I wouldn't have expected to discover firsthand until I was well into my 90s. With God's grace, I will age.

I would hope that people with disabilities in the next generation will have the ability to visit the homes, not just the one that they own, but since the housing stock does change hands, all homes.

I don't see it happening. In my limited perspective, it could be because of organized, consolidated resistance by the building industry over the years, but I don't want to be -- demonize anyone.

I simply implore you to consider the solutions that are out there. I'll site a few. I will give them to your staff person electronically. They obviously do overlap.

Europe speaks of lifetime adaptable homes. I have a tome published in Denmark that surveys that experience there, different countries, from fully private to fully public mandated and everything along that spectrum in between.

The independent living centers have produced a few briefings. California Foundation for Independent Living Center has -- I would excerpt and bring to your attention what has been mentioned before by others about visitability and adaptability.

Finally, I do want to express a pleasure at the HUD grant that is going to bring some of the Fair Housing Amendment Act requirements to the attachment of the model code writers and incorporate them at long last.

I'm sure you have other speakers to hear from. Thank you again.

Actually, my experience is rather broad. If you had any questions for an individual, I'd be happy to respond as best I could. Thank you again for this opportunity.

I'm not representing any organizations, but I've been involved with a great many.

One of my blessings is the ability to contribute to my community, and that is because I have a home that is adapted. When I lose it -- I rent -- I don't know where I'll go, but for the work of you all. Thank you.

The page was last modified on November 29, 2001