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REACH extends helping hand

Kudos to Denton nonprofit REACH for helping people with disabilities make their homes more accessible.

The 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.

To qualify for the program, applicants must have mobility impairment, permission from the homeowner or landlord to build a ramp, and proof that the total household income meets federal guidelines for low-income households.

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.

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.

The results have been gratifying, Dickenson told us, and the program has already helped several individuals.

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, residents should call Project Ramp coordinator Becky Teal at 940-383-1062.

Installing a ramp can cost up to $3,000, which may not sound like a lot of money, unless you don’t have it.

Those who can’t afford to have a ramp installed may be forced to rig up their own entry systems, and some of the alternatives can be “really scary,” Dickenson told us.

Ramps, handrails and other simple devices can make a big difference in the lives of those with disabilities, and we commend those involved with this organization for helping make these improvements available to those who need them.

It’s easy to take mobility for granted — a few steps may be all it takes to gain access to our homes. We never give it a second thought.

But some folks aren’t so fortunate — they need a helping hand and we must find new ways to offer them support.

The bottom line for her organization is to help people with disabilities stay as independent as possible, Dickenson said, and that’s a goal we should all share.