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

    NEW YORK, April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- 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. cites 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. LaCrosse, 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:

SOURCE The American Foundation for the Blind

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