About Our Founder


Michael J. Bjerkesett – Founder of National Handicap Housing Institute

NHHI was founded in 1975 by Michael J. Bjerkesett, a longtime advocate and champion for the disability community. Michael’s award-winning efforts to honor his life’s calling of fighting for accessible housing needs lives today as his lasting legacy and the driving inspiration for NHHI’s forty-five years of service.

As one of America’s premiere organizations for affordable housing for low-income adults with disabilities, that inspiration today takes the form of more than 2,000 accessible apartments, as well as senior and shared living residences designed to support residents’ freedom, growth and community participation. Our unwavering commitment to bedrock principles of independent living has sparked pioneering success in our field and had a positive impact on the design, production, and use of affordable and barrier-free housing for those we serve.

Michael J. Bjerkesett Award

For Excellence in Community Service

In honor of Michael’s commitment to serving the community, The Michael J. Bjerkesett Award is given to a resident for their involvement and giving back to the community through volunteering, supporting, improving, giving, or other means.