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The universally accessible home is easy to construct, welcoming to all guests, creates easy movement, and enables you to remain in your home. Building universally accessible housing adds little to the cost of new construction unlike the high cost of renovation to make a home accessible.

Some universal designs include: 

  • zero step entry
  • First floor exterior door that is at least 36 inches wide
  • First floor interior doors between rooms that are at least 34 inches wide or open doorways that are at least 32 inches wide with thresholds that are level, ramped or beveled.
  • Interior hallways that are level and at least 36 inches wide.
  • Environmental, utility controls and outlets located at heights in compliance with standards adopted by the Vermont Access Board.  For more information on The Vermont Access Board contact the Department of Labor & Industry at (802) 828-5098 or
  • Bathroom walls that are reinforced to permit attachment of grab bars.  This is one of the easiest up front steps and totally unnoticeable.  Conversely, to retrofit the bathroom for grab bars is messy and costly.
  • Full bath or at least one-half bath on main floor.


The Sue Williams Freedom Fund (SWFF)

11 East State Street
Montpelier,Vermont 05602
802-229-0501 (voice / TTY)
800-639-1522 (toll-free voice / TTY)

A program of the Vermont Center for Independent Living and is operated in partnership with the State Independent Living Council (SILC). It offers Vermonters with disabilities and Deaf Vermonters an opportunity to develop an achieve their own goals for living independently. Through the Sue Williams Freedom Fund, people with disabilities can obtain grants and funding for services and equipment that will help them live independently in their own homes and gain control of their lives.


  • Has developed a guide that hopes to help caregivers and those living with disabilities understand the available federal grants and other resources that can help create a home that is accessible. You can see the entire guide here.