More than one-third of residents at the Veterans Restoration Quarters are living with some kind of disability. Many of those men are dealing with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, knee replacements, amputated limbs, multiple sclerosis, cancer, ALS, severe arthritis, and other joint-deteriorating diseases leading to the need for mobility assistance such as canes, walkers, or wheelchairs.
Those issues can be stumbling blocks for men on the road to restoration and transformation. That’s why ABCCM is so blessed to join the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation on a project to improve accessibility for disabled veterans at the VRQ. Thanks in part to a grant from the Reeve Foundation, ABCCM is renovating in-suite bathrooms in two ground-floor rooms. These renovations will increase the accessibility of the residents’ living spaces.
As a former motel built in 1973, the bathrooms in each room at the VRQ do not meet accessibility standards and will not accommodate a wheelchair. For many of these men, it is very difficult to climb over the bathtub in order to shower. ABCCM’s executive director, Reverent Scott Rogers, said the renovations will open up the VRQ to more veterans ready to move from homelessness and instability to housing and hope.
“ABCCM believes that all veterans in need, including veterans who are living with disabilities, should have access to the programs and services at the VRQ,” he said. “Unfortunately, many of these veterans cannot be accommodated at the facility because of the lack of accessibility. However, through this project and generous support from the Reeve Foundation, ABCCM will be able to serve veterans who would not otherwise have access to these programs, and they would be included in and supported through the same community as all other residents.”
The $8,400 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation was one of 102 grants totaling $721,425 awarded by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access, and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers. Conceived by the late Dana Reeve, the program has awarded over 2,900 grants totaling over $20 million since 1999. Funding for the grants is made available through the Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) operated by the Reeve Foundation under a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“It’s important to find balance while filling the needs of the community, especially those living in underserved areas,” said Donna Valente, Director of Quality of Life Grants. “People may live only a few blocks from an outstanding adaptive recreation program, but if they don’t have a ramp to get out of their homes or accessible transportation to get to that location, they can’t participate in the activity, and we really aren’t meeting the overall goal of this program. That’s why we examine every proposed project to see the impact it will have in the community, and try to determine how we can best help them reach their full potential.”
For more information about how YOU can help improve access for our veterans through volunteerism or other contributions, go to www.abccm.org/volunteer or www.abccm.org/donate.