Committee Findings

Background

Over the course of the various meetings and conference calls, the committee enjoyed thorough debate on a wide range of issues and subjects. All discussions were open to the public, some of whom attended meetings and provided input during public comment periods provided for that purpose. The committee found that public input enhanced their deliberations and wishes to thank those members of public for their time and interest in this important work. The committee attempted always to approach its mission by developing practical responses to concerns which were raised regarding emergency housing. Often times, this meant that the physical limitation of such housing, based on the geometry of the unit, was a factor.

While the full committee made its decisions by consensus, it was advantageous to divide some of the work among two subcommittees tasked with identifying subjects, problems and solutions relating to particular issues. The two subcommittees were the Definitions subcommittee and the Unit Interior subcommittee. Using these subcommittees permitted members with particular expertise and interests to quickly identify contentious issues and to propose options for consideration by the full committee. In most cases, the full committee either accepted the recommendation as submitted or accepted them in principle with a modification. In a few cases, the full committee did not accept the recommendations. At all times, the full committee achieved consensus regarding their formal recommendation, but not necessarily unanimity. As with any committee process, some members did not agree with every decision made by the committee. Members who disagree with one or more committee recommendations were given the opportunity to submit a minority report on those issues. Minority reports can be found on Page XX of this document.

The committee recognizes that the Access Board’s accessibility guidelines potentially impact federal, state and local government entities as well as non-governmental organizations. Accordingly, it attempted to balance its recommendations to ensure they would not overtax limited resources while still meeting the needs of people with disabilities. The experience of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in providing temporary housing for people affected by our Nation’s disasters contributed valuable firsthand information which assisted the committee’s deliberations. However, in developing its recommendations to the Access Board, the committee did not depend solely on FEMA’s experience. The committee was sensitive to the fact that state or local government agencies or non-government organizations which may be subject to the laws implementing the Access Board’s guidelines may have resources and responsibilities which differ from FEMA’s resources and responsibilities.

Recommendations

This report is comprised of a series of specific recommendations. In considering recommendations, the committee weighed each item to determine if requirements in the guidelines should be set-aside, modified or left intact.

The committee hopes that the Access Board will implement its recommendations which include specific proposed wording that should be considered. In this report, the committee has noted whether the recommended action is, or is not, unique to emergency housing. The comments section accompanying each recommendation is intended to provide more detailed background information, including the committee’s rationale for each recommended change.

There are twenty-one specific recommendations for the Access Board’s consideration. All were developed using a consensus process. Three additional items for which the committee did not attempt consensus are included in Attachment A. The committee urges the Board to review the non-consensus items in the near future, possibly in conjunction with a rulemaking to amend the guidelines.