United Housing unveils design competition winner

Local affordable housing nonprofit United Housing, Inc. (UHI) unveiled the winner of the “Re-defining Home: Home Today, Home Tomorrow” national design competition at a special event last week in Raleigh.
“The whole point of the challenge is to create a house that you can age in and not have to move from,” said UHI Executive Director Tim Bolding, who explained that the competition also will also produce a toolkit that anyone can use for the rehabbing homes with universal design or “aging-in-place” features like single-story open floor plans, easy-to-reach door and appliance handles and light switches, and wider doorways and ramps to accommodate wheelchairs.
The winning design team from IBI Group - Gruzen Samton traveled from New York to attend the special event hosted by partners AARPAARP FoundationWells Fargo and Home Matters. They received $10,000, and their design will be used for the model home.
Wells Fargo donated the house, which will serve as the model for the design challenge. The winning floor plan includes renovating the carport into a flexible community dining space, and also features community gardens and walking paths outside.
In August, UHI will select a lucky military veteran and his or her family to receive the home. Construction will be handled by Davis Builders and Remodelers and should be completed by Thanksgiving. Additionally, the design challenge partners, including The Home Depot Foundation’s Team Depot volunteers, will help to make the improvements.
“The key issue in my mind is that the number of people over 65 is going to double in the next 15 years, growing from 35 million people to more than 70 million, so the need for the need homes with universal design features is going to skyrocket and Memphis is a part of that,” said Bolding.
As many as 90 percent of the 50-plus population want to stay in their homes as they age, according to AARP surveys, but more than 19 million low-income, 50-plus households struggle with unaffordable or inadequate housing.
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Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.

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