50+ Action Plan: Provide Housing Options for Every Age

Universal design concepts will ensure that our housing meets the needs of every age and can easily be adapted. 

Much of the housing in our community is Peter Pan housing – built as though we’ll never grow old. New design concepts address the reality that housing must be accessible to both visitors and occupants. Visitability design enables all people to enter a home and access the first floor gathering places and bathroom without barriers such as steps and narrow doorways.

Universal design takes accessibility further, with designs that adapt to the changing needs of current and future occupants. Visitability and universal design benefit families of all ages including older adults adjusting to mobility limitations and boomers wanting to bring aging parents to live with them. Using universal and visitability design is usually less expensive and less disruptive than retrofitting later.

The Department of Housing and Community Development has adopted universal design for future buildings.



  • Promote universal design through county sponsored community educational opportunities, events, and online resources, available in English and other languages for residents, architects and builders.

  • Review housing construction requirements to identify and rectify barriers to universal design.  

  • Provide educational tool kits for building permit applicants and designate a county universal design information specialist to assist residents. 

  • Include in the Board of Supervisors’ legislative agenda, a proposal to amend the Livable Homes Tax Credit to increase the per capita dollar amount for making homes more accessible.

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