Stories That Matter
The Home Depot Foundation & Volunteers Build Wheelchair Ramps
By Stacy Hill
Through the Community Impacts Grants Program, The Home Depot Foundation (THDF) awarded $2,500 to Southwest Center for Independent Living (SCIL) to build wheelchair ramps for people with disabilities, veterans or seniors.
The Renovations and Modification ProjectS (RAMPS) program at SCIL donates home modifications to allow low income individuals with disabilities to have access to the community and basic safety and their own homes.
One such individual, Morris, recently had a wheelchair ramp constructed at his home through SCIL and a group of volunteers. Morris has several disabilities, including a chronic health condition and degenerative disorder which create barriers and limits his ability to go up and down the stairs into his home.
“I just can’t get out, and I can’t go anywhere because the steps are too high,” said Morris, a senior and veteran. Because of his disability Morris called SCIL for help.
After SCIL’s Access Advocate surveyed his home, SCIL recommended that a wheelchair ramp would be Morris’ best option to regain access to the community. Because Morris already uses a walker in combination with the quick degeneration of his mobility, he will likely need to use a wheelchair full time.
Morris was added to the SCIL RAMPS waiting list. Due to limited funding, the wait list typically includes 100-200 low-income people in need of home modifications that they cannot afford to purchase themselves. The average wheelchair ramp cost $1,200 for labor and materials. For most on the list, SCIL encourages people to find volunteers to build the ramps to complete their ramps quicker.
With The Home Depot Foundation grant, materials were provided for ramps built with volunteer labor.
Morris’s wheelchair ramp was built by a local family who volunteered their time to build over a weekend. Once the ramp was built, Morris said “It’s great! I can go to church, I can visit friends, and I can be outside. Thank you.”
In addition, The Home Depot Foundation grant funded other ramps for people with disabilities, veterans or seniors. “It’s a blessing to be able to get to my truck and go where I want and need to go,” said Raynell, a person with multiple disabilities. “You never know when you could become disabled; it can come out of nowhere.” Before her family volunteered to build her Home Depot Foundation ramp, Raynell had difficulty leaving her home without assistance.
“We didn’t have the means to do this project ourselves,” said William, a senior. “Both my wife and I have significant disabilities and words can’t describe what getting back the ability to leave our home easily and safely means.”
In all, five people have been provided supports that allow them to choose to live independently in the community in the least restrictive environment.
Thank you to The Home Depot Foundation and to the volunteers that made these projects possible.
SCIL needs volunteers who have the desire to build ramps individually or as a group. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact SCIL at 417-886-1188 or visit www.swcil.org.