I continue to receive comments from readers from around the United States that have contacted their local agencies and have been told that they are not currently able to fund requests to build wheelchair ramps. I have contacted the national Habitat for Humanity organization to see if they could provide some guidance or suggestions, but I have yet to get a response. Locally, in Salem County New Jersey, they have experienced times when their funds for the ramp program have been depleted.
My colleagues that needed ramps, or helped others get ramps, have told me that it is important that newly disabled patients need to identify the professionals working with them as soon as they enter rehabilitation or before they are released from a hospital or rehabilitation center. It is important to ask questions about how you will be able to access your apartment or house and your bathroom. Often there is a team of professionals working with the patient at the hospital and at the rehabilitation center and they create a plan to address the various needs and goals for each patient. It is very important to ask about your medical and rehabilitation plan and secure a commitment that access to your home and bathroom is included in these plans.
Do not assume that this will automatically happen. Advocate for your family member or yourself before the discharge takes place. Once you are discharged, the burden of solving these problems become a lot more difficult to solve. Money is always an issue, but even more so during a pandemic. It would be great to identify a funding source for building ramps and remodeling homes to make them accessible. If anyone has any ideas or specific sources of money, please contact me.