This report includes the recommendations of the Emergency Transportable Housing Federal Advisory Committee (committee) to the US Access Board. These recommendations are intended to assist the Board to develop new rules or revise its existing requirements for the design and construction of emergency transportable housing subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). (Any proposed rule concerning emergency transportable housing will be made through the federal rulemaking process. This report is not part of any rulemaking.)

The committee was formed in response to needs for accessible emergency housing which were identified subsequent to the Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2005, particularly Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. These events challenged the government’s ability to locate and deploy emergency housing, some of which is still in use. In particular, providing accessible and useable housing units in compliance with the currently enforceable accessibility standards proved to be a significant challenge.

In 2004 the Access Board revised its ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines (guidelines) which underpin the accessibility standards enforceable by the Access Board and other Federal agencies. Because Federal agencies with authority to establish standards under the ADA and ABA are in the process of updating their requirements to include the Access Board’s most recent guidelines, the advisory committee focused its efforts on making recommendations for revisions to those more recent guidelines, as opposed to the currently enforceable standards.

The committee reviewed those provisions that have application to emergency transportable housing units (emergency housing), primarily those dealing with residential units in Sections 233 and 809 of the guidelines. In this report, the committee suggests changes to accommodate the unique set of circumstances that may be present in emergency housing. By its very nature, emergency housing tends to have a smaller footprint than other types of housing and, because it is transported on roadways, it has a uniquely regulated geometry. These factors tend to impact accessibility and to present unique challenges to occupants with disabilities.

The committee reviewed all relevant sections of the guidelines and, where appropriate, made recommendations to address emergency housing so as to ensure adequate accessibility in view of the unique nature of the units and the sites on which they are to be installed. Recommendations for amendments to the guidelines were aimed at achieving several goals including the need to provide emergency housing for everyone affected by a disaster without unnecessary delay and the need to address the accessibility requirements of individuals with disabilities in an equitable manner.
The committee was mindful that its recommendations must address any requirements in the guidelines which would potentially hamper a government or private sector entity’s ability to reach those goals. Also, the committee notes that, in addition to the requirements of the ADA and ABA, government and non government entities that provide emergency housing often have additional obligations under one or more Federal laws, such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (PL 100-707). These federal laws also contain non-discrimination provisions addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Advisory Committee Members

  • Advocacy Center: Charles Tubre, Melissa Losch
  • Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities: Mary Troupe
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Cheryl Kent, Mark J. Mazz
  • Department of Justice: Dov Lutzker
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency: Ryan Buras (Subcommittee Chair)
  • Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform: Mark Weiss
  • Manufactured Housing Institute: Jeff Inks, Colin McLaurin
  • National Center for Environmental Health Strategies: Mary Lamielle
  • National Council on Independent Living: Deborah Cotter
  • National Fire Protection Association: Robert Solomon (Comittee Chair)
  • Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association: Bill Garpow
  • Recreational Vehicle Industry Association: Kent Perkins
  • United Spinal Association: Dominic Marinelli (Subcommittee Chair)

Other Participants:

  • US Access Board: Doug Anderson, Access Board Liaison Member; Marsha Mazz, Designated Federal Official



  1. PURPOSE: This charter establishes the “Emergency Transportable Housing Advisory Committee” (Committee) for the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C. App. 2, and the administrative guidelines issued by the General Services Administration's Committee Management Secretariat, 41 C.F.R. Part 101 6.
  2. AUTHORITY: The establishment of the Committee is in the public interest and supports the Access Board in performing its duties and responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 792) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12131).
  3. SPONSOR AND OFFICE SUPPORT: The Committee shall report to the Access Board as its sponsor. Support services shall be provided or arranged by the Access Board.
  4. SCOPE AND OBJECTIVES: The Committee shall advise the Access Board on issues related to revising and updating accessibility guidelines for emergency transportable housing, including travel trailers, park models and manufactured homes. The Committee shall act solely in an advisory capacity to the Access Board and shall neither exercise any program management responsibility nor make decisions directly affecting the matters on which it provides advice.
  5. DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS: Consistent with the scope and objectives described in paragraph 4 of this charter, the Committee is authorized to make recommendations to the Access Board on:
    (a) design and construction issues related to emergency transportable housing covered by the ADA and ABA;
    (b) barriers to the use of such housing by persons with disabilities;
    (c) solutions to such barriers, if known, and research on such barriers;
    (d) harmonization with voluntary consensus standards applicable to such emergency transportable housing;
    (e) an analysis of the technical requirements for residential dwelling units in the revised and updated ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines; and
    (f) recommendations for revisions to the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines that will provide accessible and usable dwelling units for use as emergency transportable housing.
  6. MEMBERSHIP: The membership will be balanced in terms of points of view represented, including Federal agencies; industry, including organizations representing manufacturers of emergency transportable housing; organizations representing the access needs of individuals with disabilities; representatives voluntary standards setting organizations; and other organizations affected by the accessibility guidelines. Representatives of each of these interests shall be selected by the Chairperson of the Access Board and appointed as Committee members for the duration of the Committee’s existence.
  7. SUBCOMMITTEES: The Committee may form subcommittees for any purpose consistent with this charter. The subcommittees shall report to the Committee.
  8. CHAIRPERSON: The Chairperson of the Committee shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Access Board. The Chairperson of any subcommittees shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Committee.
  9. MEETINGS: Meetings shall be held as necessary at the call of the Chairperson of the Committee, with the approval of the designated Federal official. Meetings shall be open to the public and timely notice of each meeting shall be published in the Federal Register. Meetings shall be conducted and records of the proceedings kept, as required by applicable laws and regulations.
  10. COMPENSATION OF MEMBERS: The Access Board will not compensate Committee members for their service. Committee members will be responsible for their own expenses for participation in the Committee, except that the Access Board may pay for a member’s reasonable travel expenses if the member certifies a lack of adequate financial resources to participate in the Committee and the Access Board determines that the member’s participation in the Committee is necessary to assure adequate representation of the various interests potentially affected by the accessibility guidelines.
  11. ESTIMATED ANNUAL COSTS: The costs for the Committee, excluding the cost of Board staff, are estimated at $50,000. No government staff positions are being allocated to the Committee on a full time basis.
  12. DURATION: The Committee will terminate two years from the date of filing this charter with the appropriate Committees of Congress, unless the Committee is renewed or terminated sooner.

Operating Protocols

Draft Operating Protocols
Emergency Transportable Housing Access Advisory Committee

The goal of this advisory committee is to make recommendations to the Access Board regarding accessibility guidelines for emergency transportable housing covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). The recommendations should include a review of the technical and scoping criteria for housing in the ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines to: determine if these provisions require revision to better address barriers to the use of such housing by persons with disabilities; harmonize the Board’s regulations with voluntary consensus standards, non-consensus standards or regulations which may apply to these dwelling units; recommend research on emerging technical issues or barriers to accessibility; and provide recommendations regarding the contents of the guidelines and advisory materials.

The advisory committee process is intended to facilitate discussion among its members. Participants enter the proceedings in good faith in an effort to reach a speedy and amicable set of recommendations on a variety of issues. Participants agree to participate fully and openly in the discussions with a sincere desire to explore alternatives and solutions to a variety of concerns. All members agree to exchange information to the fullest extent practicable and agree not to divulge information shared by others in confidence. Nothing in these protocols shall prevent a member from making public or using its own proposals in any future proceeding.


  1. Interests Represented. The committee will be composed of a cross section of organizations representing a variety of interests regarding emergency transportable housing.
  2. The Advisory Committee. The committee will be composed of those organizations appointed to serve by the Chairperson of the Access Board. Each member may designate an alternate member(s) representing the same interest as the designated member. The members will fully brief the alternates on the progress of the discussions and will give them full authority when they serve on the committee. Alternates are encouraged to attend committee meetings. No person may represent more than one organization at the same meeting. The Chairperson or co-chairs of the committee shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Access Board.
  3. Attendance at Meetings. Each committee member will make a good faith effort to attend each full advisory committee session. Attendance in person is preferred, but if that is not possible, attendance may be by teleconference or by videoconference. If a given organization is unrepresented for two consecutive meetings, the Chairperson or co-chairs of the committee has the discretion to ask the Chairperson of the Access Board to remove that organization from the committee.
    Committee members may be accompanied by other advisors as that member believes are appropriate to represent his/her interest. Technical advisors and other persons may speak openly during discussions. Should the open discussion become unwieldy, any member may request a more formal process in which advisors are recognized to speak only by the Chairperson or co-chairs of the committee.
  4. Additional Committee Members. Additional committee members shall be added solely to provide representation of stakeholder interests not already represented on the committee. Additional committee members shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Access Board.
  5. Constituents’ Interests. Committee members are encouraged, to the extent possible, to communicate with other organizations similarly situated. Committee members are expected to make a good faith effort to represent the concerns and interests of their constituents and to ensure that any recommendation developed by the committee is acceptable to the organization that the committee member represents.
  6. Right to Withdraw. Any member may withdraw from the committee at any time without prejudice.
  7. Subcommittees. Subcommittees may be formed to address specific issues within the scope of the advisory committee’s responsibilities. Subcommittees are open to anyone although balance among interests should be maintained. Subcommittees may meet at the same time the full committee meets, or in between full committee meetings. However, subcommittees are encouraged to meet in between full committee meetings. Subcommittees may offer recommendations to the committee. However, subcommittees are not authorized to make recommendations for the committee. In subcommittees, anyone in attendance can participate. Subcommittee leadership and methods of work shall be decided by the subcommittee. Subcommittee meetings shall be conducted in a manner that is accessible to all those in attendance. Chairs of subcommittees shall be members of the committee. Subcommittees shall publish their meeting schedules and other work mechanisms in advance to the public.


  1. FACA. The advisory committee meetings will be conducted under the rules of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).
  2. Open Meetings. Advisory committee meetings will be announced in the Federal Register prior to the meeting and, consistent with FACA requirements, will be open to the public. During each day of the advisory committee meetings, there shall be time for public comment.
  3. Quorum. A quorum of two thirds of the committee membership will be required to conduct substantive business of the committee. In the absence of a quorum, those present will proceed with committee work, but may not make substantive committee recommendations.
  4. Minutes. Minutes of the committee meetings will be prepared by the Designated Federal Official (DFO) and distributed as expeditiously as possible to the committee and will be ratified by the committee at its next meeting. A progress report of subcommittee meetings shall be prepared and sent by subcommittee chairs to committee members prior to the next meeting.
  5. Media Announcements. No member will make unauthorized announcements to the media or hold discussions with the media characterizing the position of the committee (until recommendations are final) or ascribing the position of any member, even if that member withdraws from the committee.
  6. Agendas. Meeting agendas will be developed by the DFO in consultation with the Chairperson or co-chairs of the committee.
  7. Ad Hoc Meetings. An ad hoc meeting break can be requested by any committee member at any time. Ad hoc meetings will not be considered open meetings. Members are asked to keep such ad hoc meetings to a minimum and estimate the time needed. Proposals made and positions taken by any participant during ad hoc meetings shall be confidential and shall not be used in any future regulatory or legal proceedings.
  8. Accessibility of Meetings. Full committee and subcommittee meetings will be held in accessible locations and provide for communications and print access. Persons attending committee meetings are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of other participants.
  9. Schedule. Advisory committee meetings will be held approximately once each four to six weeks as determined by the committee. The committee will submit a report with final recommendations to the Access Board at a future meeting of the Access Board.
  10. Discontinue if Unproductive. The Access Board in consultation with the committee Chairperson or co-chairs may discontinue the advisory committee meetings at any time if the meetings do not appear productive.
  11. Written Materials. Written materials that are distributed to the committee should be in print and accessible electronic format. Persons who distribute written materials during committee meetings should provide 50 print copies and sufficient copies in a variety of accessible formats, including, but not necessarily limited to large print, braille and accessible electronic format. Persons intending to provide written materials should contact the DFO for detailed instructions on the requirements for accessible formats and the number of accessible copies. If written materials to be distributed to the committee are provided to the Access Board seven days in advance of a meeting the Access Board will provide sufficient print and accessible format copies.


  1. Product of Advisory Committee Meetings. The intended product of the advisory committee is a set of recommendations in the form of a written statement, which should be signed by all committee members. The recommendations will be used by the Access Board in developing a proposed rule for accessibility standards for emergency transportable housing subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA).
    Committee meetings should be conducted and work performed in a spirit of collegiality and consensus should be achieved to the extent possible. Nothing in these protocols shall require any member to agree on any specific issue. The purpose of the committee is to give advice and recommendations, not make decisions. Members should strive to find common ground and articulate it in its recommendations. Any committee member may prepare a minority report for the record. Minority reports will be incorporated into the committee’s final report.
    Protocol Amendments
  2. The members may amend the protocols at any time.