Summit’s mission is to promote community awareness, equal access, and the independence of people with disabilities through advocacy, education, and the advancement of civil rights.
To further this mission, Summit has specialized employees and is involved with task forces that work toward improving communities in Montana. We also sponsor several independent groups who do their own work to help make Montana a better place. Here are a few of the projects we are undertaking:
Darren Larson and the housing task force crew are constantly working on improving visitability in Montana homes. To be visitable, a home must have one zero-step entrance, doors with 32 inches of clear passage space and one bathroom on the main floor you can get into with a wheelchair.
At a May meeting in Bozeman, Darren helped convince developers to suggest design changes to the Qualified Allocation Plan board that would require bathrooms in ground floor units to meet visitability guidelines. If the board approves the suggestions, ground-floor housing units that receive low-income housing tax credits that are built after July would have to meet all three visitability requirements!
In September, each CIL in Montana will also be sending a presenter to the American Institute of Architects Montana Fall Conference to increase visitability awareness for architects.
The self-determination task force has a plan to improve access in Montana. Twenty people from around the state participated in a training on June 28 with the DBTAC Rocky Mountain ADA Center to learn the ADA’s current construction requirements. The task force will then investigate and document newly constructed buildings with access issues in several Montana communities.
Missoula People First, which has meetings on the first and third Wednesday of each month in Summit’s conference room, has decided to help out some local teen moms.
Mountain Home Montana recently opened five new apartments, including one fully accessible apartment, for teens in its program to move into.
Missoula People First will be buying a mop, bucket and cleaning supplies for the young women moving into these newly-opened apartments so they can keep their new places spic and span.
Go People First!