Universal Design

Start At Home, Rebuild Together & Recognize Disability

If you became disabled, could you continue living in your house? I was fortunate enough to find out first-hand about an organization coming to my community that would provide insights and assistance toward answering that question.

HGTV, together with the support of Scripps Networks Interactive and the City of Knoxville, are bringing a local chapter of Rebuilding Together to this community. The kick off event held at Scripps headquarters brought representatives from Rebuilding Together, show hosts, community leaders, media and people with disabilities (including myself) together to learn more about these great opportunities ahead for those in need in the Knoxville housing community.

Rebuilding Together is the nation’s leading nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities. The organization’s network of more than 200 affiliates provides free rehabilitation and critical repairs to the homesof low-income Americans. Rebuilding Together believes in a safe and healthy home for every person. This means that we believe disabled and aging homeowners should be able to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

Josh Loebner, Advertising & Disability blogger (left) and Gary Officer, President & CEO of Rebuilding Together

“Helping to launch a local affiliate of Rebuilding Together gives our employees a chance to participate in our national philanthropic cause and truly ‘Start at Home’ by making a difference in our own community,” said Jim Samples, president of HGTV in a recent press release.

Josh Loebner (left) and Stephanie Cook is the City of Knoxville’s Disability Services Coordinator and liaison to the Mayor’s Council on Disability Issues.

Advertising goes well beyond traditional media placements in magazines or TV spots to also incorporate experiential branding – such as in-store experiences and interactions with employees. Lowe’s, a strong supporter of Rebuilding Together, and, according to the National Organization on Disability (NOD) has a long-time commitment to hiring people with disabilities and utilizes both and the public vocational rehabilitation network to build awareness of the company’s job opportunities for people with disabilities. “We draw on the strength of collaboration, bringing together many unique individuals in the workplace and the community to better meet the needs of our employees and our customers. “At Lowe’s, inclusion means creating a place where everyone has the opportunity to grow and succeed.” – Steve Szilagyi, Senior Vice President

Lowe’s and Rebuilding Together® have successfully completed more than 350 rebuilding projects together since 2007.

With community outreach efforts such as the Rebuilding Together initiative, HGTV’s tagline ‘Start At Home’ is coming to life for many people with disabilities. Advertisers as well as the networks have an opportunity to foster integration within programming, commercials and other brand platforms. You can help to recognize disability by starting at home and rebuilding together.

One in five Americans is disabled – but one in five ads isn’t inclusive. You can help bring visibility and voice to this rarely discussed topic. Please share this post with five others.


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