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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

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The American Foundation for the Blind Announces America's Five Best Places to Live for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired

For Immediate Release
Contact:

Terry Allen
(212) 502-7674
terry@afb.net

New York, NY—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) today presented 2003 AFB Livable Community Awards to honor the best places to live in the United States for people who are blind or visually impaired. The awards, a component of AFB's Livable Communities Project, recognize cities and towns that have developed solutions for facilitating the participation of blind or visually impaired people in community activities.

AFB named Charlotte, NC, the best place to live in the United States for people who are blind or visually impaired, and presented the city with the 2003 AFB Most Livable Community Award. AFB Livable Community Awards were presented to five other U.S. cities for the accessibility they provide their blind or visually impaired residents. Coming in second after Charlotte was Berkeley, CA, followed by Kalamazoo, MI, and New York City. La Crosse, WI, and Louisville, KY, tied for fifth place.

AFB launched the Livable Communities Project to document environmental features—such as the "walkability" of a city, availability of public transportation, cost of living, and availability of jobs at various skill levels—that create or limit access for blind or visually impaired people.

Said AFB president and CEO Carl R. Augusto, "By identifying communities that have found creative solutions for promoting community access, the Livability Communities Project will bolster those who are advocating for equal access to a community's resources for all of its citizens, including those who are blind or visually impaired."

An estimated 10 million Americans are blind or severely visually impaired. This figure is expected to grow as baby boomers age, so it is critical that cities and towns across the country have programs and features in place to enable visually impaired people to lead independent lives.

The American Foundation for the Blind—the organization to which Helen Keller devoted her life—is a national nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate the inequities faced by the 10 million Americans who are blind or visually impaired.

For additional information on the Livable Communities Project, please visit: www.afb.org/livability.asp.

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