Public Papers - 1991 - November
Proclamation 6381 -- National Accessible Housing Month, 1991
By the President of the United States
We Americans cherish the many blessings that we enjoy in this land of freedom and opportunity -- including our ability to decide where we live and work. During much of our Nation's history, however, that prerogative has frequently been denied to persons with disabilities. For example, in the past, it has often been difficult for a person who uses a wheelchair to find a home where doorways, baths, and other structural features can accommodate his or her needs. Even now, when an elderly American can no longer climb stairs, he or she may face the emotionally and financially difficult task of finding a suitable single-story dwelling.
Fortunately, all that is changing. In recent years, we have taken important steps to promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities. The Fair Housing Amendments Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing, went into effect in 1989. This legislation provides Americans with disabilities the opportunity to choose their places of residence with the same degree of freedom as other citizens.
The enactment of the historic Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 offered additional evidence of our commitment to removing the physical, attitudinal, and statutory barriers that have too often prevented these individuals from enjoying the same opportunities as other Americans. This legislation, the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for persons with disabilities, prohibits discrimination in employment, transportation, and public accommodations.
Clearly, our Nation has recognized its obligation to become more conscious of, and responsive to, the environmental and structural obstacles that persons with disabilities face on a daily basis. However, we also have a practical interest in doing so: indeed, it is estimated that 70 percent of all Americans will, at some time in their lives, have a temporary or permanent disability.
While the Federal Government has been leading efforts to ensure equal opportunity for persons with disabilities, the public and private sectors share responsibility for promoting the full integration of these Americans into the social and economic mainstream. It is heartening to note that thousands of concerned individuals and organizations have been working together to meet that responsibility. For example, a number of private sector entities have designed a public education campaign that answers questions about barrier-free home designs, which allow easy entry and movement throughout the house. On March 6, 1991, the Department of Housing and Urban Development published ``Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines,'' which instruct builders and developers on how to comply with the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Amendments Act. Public and private sector efforts such as these are not only helping to create more accessible housing for persons with disabilities but also facilitating their full participation in the social and economic life of our country.
The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 184, has designated the month of November 1991 as ``National Accessible Housing Month'' and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate November 1991 as National Accessible Housing Month. I call upon local and State governments, appropriate Federal agencies, and the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:46 p.m., November 26, 1991]
Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on November 29.