Funds to help ease accessibility

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People with disabilities may now be able to get help making their homes more handicapped friendly, thanks to a grant being executed by REACH of Denton.

The nonprofit organization is using grant money to fund Project Ramp, which builds ramps and installs grab bars and handrails at the homes of those in need, said Missy Dickenson, assistant director of the organization.

“The bottom line of our agency is to help folks with disabilities stay as independent as possible, and these ramps can cost up to $3,000,” she said.

REACH, which stands for Rehabilitation, Education and Advocacy for Citizens with Handicaps, has locations in Denton, Dallas, Fort Worth and Plano and offers information, peer groups, advocacy services and independent living classes for people with any kind of disability.

So far, the agency has assisted eight people and hopes to help out more. To qualify for the program, applicants must have a mobility impairment, permission from the homeowner or landlord to build the ramp, and proof that the total household income meets federal guidelines for low-income households.

This is the first time the Denton branch of REACH has done this type of project, although the Fort Worth branch has for about 15 years, Dickenson said. Because of its experience, the Fort Worth branch has helped the project move along, and connected REACH of Denton with a trusted contractor.

“They act quickly, and their building is just incredible as far as the detail and quality,” Dickenson said. “It has helped these folks become so independent. When you go out to a home and see how some people have rigged a system to get from their home to their car, it can be really scary.”

The funds for the grant must be used by the end of the year, so Dickenson said it’s important that those who think they qualify apply for the program.

For more information or to apply, call Project Ramp coordinator Becky Teal at 940-383-1062.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.

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