A panel appointed by the San Antonio Housing Trust Foundation has released a proposed set of inclusive design standards for designing new affordable apartment communities.

What happened

On Sept. 21, housing trust officials said their organization’s Sustainable and Universal Design Committee is seeking public comment on their Inclusive Multifamily Design Standards, which would affect how architects and designers could help to develop SAHT-partnered apartment communities to better meet the needs of disabled, aging and other clients and tenants.

Housing trust officials said the select committee included architects, development community members, individuals living with various forms of disabilities and foundation board members who researched and reviewed best practices nationwide along with guidance from accessibility and universal design experts.

According to housing trust officials, the proposed revisions affect such things as stairways, construction and wayfinding signage, sidewalks, appliances, lighting, handrails and barbecue grill and picnic areas.

Get involved

Housing trust officials said local residents and stakeholders may review the draft design guidelines and provide public comment through Oct. 27. Comments will be accepted in writing by email at [email protected] or by mail at P.O. Box 15915, San Antonio, Texas 78212. Comments may also be provided by calling 210-735-2772.

What’s next

The SAHT board plans to approve the standards by the end of 2023.

What they’re saying

Housing trust executive director Pete Alanis said the proposed new design standards go beyond what are regularly seen as typical accessibility requirements and will help enhance safety and access for residents living at SAHT-supported communities.

“They also help to address design inequities inherent to traditional apartment design processes by including input from those who are anticipated to reside at a community,” Alanis said in a statement.