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Government’s Disability Budget gives Validation

Media Release

16 May 2012

From: Lifetime Design Limited

Government’s Disability Budget gives Validation

The Government’s announcement that Budget 2012 will allocate $143.7 million to improve the lives of people with disabilities is welcome news according to Lifetime Design Strategy and Development Manager, Travis O’Keefe.

“The Government’s funding boost to the disability sector is going to make a huge difference to the lives of many people with a disability. It will help give them the support they need to live happier lives and increase their level of independence,” says O’Keefe.

Lifetime Design is a not-for-profit organisation which advocates for new houses to be built to a set of design standards that make it safe and easy for New Zealanders to live in their own home for as long as they want, no matter what their physical ability. Homes that have these design standards are given an accredited seal of approval called ‘The Lifemark’.

“Although our organisation, Lifetime Design, is not directly affected by the Budget 2012 funding allocation, it is very reassuring to see the Government taking proactive and positive steps towards addressing the needs of the disabled community. It also gives people who have a disability a form of validation; that this Government does care about them,” says O’Keefe.

Lifemark design standards include wider doorways and staircases, electrical outlets that are placed higher up the wall for easier reach, and the positioning of dwangs in bathroom walls so handrails can be fixed at a later date if needed.

“Although many people may see this disabilities budget announcement as not relevant to them; one day it just may be. They could find themselves disabled overnight through an unexpected accident or slowly over time due to old age. It’s just not realistic to think that when you get old you won’t have any sort of disability.

“A house designed to Lifemark standards, not only you gives people a home they can live in when they are old and/or disabled but also makes it far more marketable when they want to sell it. There are a huge number of people who have physical restrictions looking to buy an accessible property they can live independently in. So it’s a good idea to consider the disabled market if you’re designing a new residential home,” says O’Keefe.

Lifetime Design works closely with architects, designers, retirement village operators, developers and homeowners to ensure the country’s housing will cater for everyone no matter what their physical ability or age. It was established by CCS Disability Action in 2006.

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