The Idaho Access Project – A New Approach to Building Accessible Communities

By Stephen Beard

Welcome to Accessible Housing Matters!   In today’s episode, I welcome Dianna Willis, Jeremy Maxand, and Erik Kingston   Dianna Willis is a co-founder and Board President of the Idaho Access Project, a 501c3 non-profit organization advancing equality for people with disabilities. She worked in public health for eight years and has a diverse educational background. In 2013, she earned a M.Ed. degree. She holds an M.A. from Georgetown University in Applied Demography (1999) and a B.A.  from Boise State University in Political Science (1993).  Dianna consults on creating spatial justice in the built environment. In 2020, Dianna served on the Boise Mayor McLean’s Movement for Everyone committee and recommended programs and policies to improve transportation and walking options for all. She loves to explore pathways and hiking trails with her current guide dog, Teegan.    Jeremy Maxand is the Executive Director of the Living Independence Network Corporation, one of Idaho’s three Centers for Independent Living serving people with disabilities. Jeremy grew up in a small island community in Southeast Alaska and has used a manual wheelchair since 1989.  Jeremy has twenty years of nonprofit management experience, and 10 years in executive leadership.   Jeremy currently serves on the Valley Regional Transit Regional Advisory Council, the Ada County Highway District ADA Advisory Committee, the Idaho State Independent Living Council, the Idaho State Building Code Board, and the Idaho Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster board. He is a founding board member of the Idaho Access Project.   Erik Kingston is the Housing Resources Coordinator for the Idaho Housing Finance Association.  He created the association’s Housing Information Referral Center and Housing Hotline in 1998 and has since contributed to statewide programs, strategic planning and outreach initiatives.  Erik teaches Housing as a Second Language each year through the NW Community Development Institute and coordinated the association’s 2020-2021 Fair Housing Initiatives Program-Education Outreach Initiative (FHIP-EOI) grant to promote greater awareness of rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. He created and provides content for RampUpIdaho.org and FairHousingForum.org with input from stakeholders, and manages housingidaho.com. He is certified as a Professional Community and Economic Development professional. He joined the Idaho Access Project in 2020 as a Board Member and serves on the statewide ADA Recreation Committee. Listen to find out more about:   [00:01 - 13:23] Opening Segment I welcome Dianna Willis, Jeremy Maxand, and Erik Kingston to the Show Bio Dianna, Jeremy, and Erik about The Idaho Access Project Facing challenges on a daily basis What is a Neighborhood Access Review? Visitability of Housing and The Visitability Project How they work with the developers and builders   [13:24 - 28:36] A New Approach to Building Accessible Communities How they make The Idaho Project happen Thousands of doors in Blackfoot, Idaho That’s Not True: Stereotypes and Myths that Have to be Debunked The Idaho Project’s Partnerships  Making homes accessible and smarter What’s available? A powerful moment everyone should experience The Unique Thing About The Idaho Project Inclusive Planning Design and Connections    [28:37 - 30:22] Closing Segment See links below to know more about Dianna Willis, Jeremy Maxand, and Erik Kingston Final word   Resources Mentioned: Aira   Tweetable Quote/s:   “There had to be a better way to address barriers in our community to access.” - Dianna Willis   “It’s really important that we start thinking not only about people with disabilities but people who are aging in place and want to stay in their home.” - Jeremy Maxand   “Planning ahead is always less expensive and more interesting and profitable than planning behind.” - Erik Kingston   “People are more willing to understand what your perspective is and what you’re trying to accomplish and they are more willing to contribute and support that.” - Erik Kingston   You can connect with Dianna, Jeremy, and Erik through https://idahoaccessproject.org/ and be part of The Idaho Project’s vision and mission. To learn more, share feedback, or share guest ideas, please visit our website, or contact us on Facebook and Twitter.    Like what you've heard?  Please review us! That helps let other people know about the podcast.   Accessible Housing Matters is dedicated to raising awareness about important issues around accessibility and housing, and getting conversations going. I'd love to learn more about what's on your mind, and get your feedback about the show. Contact me directly at stephen@accessiblehousingmatters.com to share your thoughts or arrange a call.

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