Thursday, May 23, 2024

Disability Network Capital Area to increase accessibility features in the Lansing area

April 18, 2024
The Austin Blair statue guards the entrance at the Michigan state capitol building, Nov. 18, 2023.
The Austin Blair statue guards the entrance at the Michigan state capitol building, Nov. 18, 2023.

Disability Network Capital Area (DNCA) announced its RAMP IT UP campaign, an effort to install ramps for people and families who need them for accessibility reasons. 

RAMP IT UP is working with the City of Lansing, Habitat for Humanity and Michigan State University to construct and install 50 ramps for various homes in the greater Lansing area.

Ramp installation will officially begin on May 15. Ramps are free to those who receive them and are fully funded by the DNCA and installed by volunteers.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator and housing and disability specialist at the DNCA, Michael Astley, said that helping people with disabilities become more independent is their top priority.

Astley said the organization did an early install of a ramp for a local woman who was struggling to navigate her home independently. 

"She has been trapped in her house; she can't go shopping on her own. She's fully dependent on assistance to help her down five stairs," said Astley. "Now, with the ramp, she can actually do everything on her own. She can go around her community."

Astley said they are serving multiple counties in the Greater Lansing area, including Ingham, Clinton, Eaton and Shiawassee counties, to give people with disabilities more independence.

"One of the initiatives is to service veteran's needs as much as possible. Although we don't specifically work with veterans, we specifically work with people who have disabilities," said Astley. "The veteran population just happens to be an underserved population that we're trying to highlight for this particular event as much as possible. But we don't close the door to anyone who has disabilities."

Right now, the DNCA is only installing ramps in houses and some apartments, depending on the landlord's permission.

DNCA will host a kickoff event on May 15 from 4-6 p.m. at the "Play Michigan!" playground in Lansing. The event is by RSVP and will provide a light dinner.

"Our mission is to create a community where everyone can thrive, regardless of ability," said Executive Director of Disability Network Capital Area Mark Pierce. "The RAMP IT UP campaign is a testament to our commitment to breaking down barriers and ensuring equal opportunities for all. By collaborating with our partners, we are taking concrete steps towards building a more inclusive and accessible Lansing and its surrounding areas."

The campaign is seeking volunteers to help with installation and sponsors to help with funding. The DNCA has a goal of reaching 50 volunteers and 50 sponsors before the kickoff of the campaign.

Astley said people can apply for these ramps as well by calling the DNCA office at (517) 999-2760.

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