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- National Nonprofit Constructs State-of-the-Art, Accessible and Energy Efficient Home in Silver Spring -

Gaithersburg, MD (May 28, 2003) -- AmeriDream, Inc. today opened the doors to a new home and a more independent lifestyle for two Montgomery County residents living with disabilities.  With the finishing touches completed on the newly constructed house, AmeriDream hosted a special ribbon-cutting ceremony for Lauren Wilson, diagnosed with dwarfism and a degenerative bone disease, and Don Woodruff, a quadriplegic.  The two will move into their new home in late June.

The innovative home design, featuring both custom accessibility enhancements and the highest standards for energy efficiency, is the work of a partnership between AmeriDream and Florida-based builder Home Front, Inc.  The two companies joined forces to enable physically challenged residents to enjoy maximum mobility in a unique living environment that costs little to operate and maintain.

“When we first met Lauren and Don, we knew we were in a unique position to help,” said Ann Ashburn, CEO of AmeriDream, Inc.  “We wanted them to be able to live in a home that could give them the independence that so many of us take for granted.  The features that make this house accessible, energy efficient and easy to maintain will make that possible.”

Accessibility features include wider doors and hallways, an automatic door opener, lowered light switches and counter tops, and customized appliances that will enable Lauren and Don to move freely through the house and access appliances and fixtures without assistance.  The energy efficient design of the home earned it an ENERGY STAR label, meaning it is certified to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s strict guidelines for energy efficiency.   A unique building system created by Home Front, Inc. paired with a high efficiency heat pump and other energy-saving features make the home 50 percent more efficient than most homes built in the United States.   

 “AmeriDream took the time to learn about and understand our special needs, and they made sure that all of the features and tools we need to do things on our own are here,” said Wilson.  “It’s a wonderful opportunity.”

AmeriDream, a nonprofit organization based in Gaithersburg, expands homeownership opportunities through down payment assistance, community redevelopment and homeowner education.  Through its Redevelopment Program, AmeriDream restores and revitalizes distressed homes and returns the rehabilitated properties to the market at prices that accommodate low- to moderate-income buyers. 

Recently, the Redevelopment Program began constructing new homes on vacant land to expand the pool of affordable housing on the market.  The home for Lauren and Don is just a part of AmeriDream’s Redevelopment Program, which was launched in October 2002. Since then,  AmeriDream has invested $2.5 million in Montgomery County alone.

“Our work with Lauren and Don has given us a better understanding of the challenges that people with disabilities face,” said Ashburn.  “We now plan on integrating accessible homes in future redevelopment projects in communities around the country.”




The mission of AmeriDream, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, MD, is to expand homeownership opportunities for underserved groups and promote the value of homeownership as the foundation for building strong communities and individual prosperity. AmeriDream, Inc. is a non-profit, publicly supported organization that is tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). AmeriDream, Inc. meets the requirements for a charitable organization, as referenced in the HUD Handbook 4155.1 REV-4, CHG-1 Section 2-10 for FHA insured loans.  In addition to The AmeriDream Downpayment Gift Program, AmeriDream also operates The AmeriDream Redevelopment Program in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and the Community Link Program nationwide. Through the Redevelopment Program, AmeriDream has spent more than $8 million to rehabilitate properties and return them to the market at affordable prices. Through Community Link, AmeriDream has donated more than $1.5 million to a range of community organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, and the Victims Rights Foundation.