MASON CITY, Iowa - Those with accessibility issues may be getting some new help, thanks to a program being launched by the North Iowa Coalition of Governments.
The 'Handicapped Ramp Program' provides a permanent ramp for those who need one at their home and meet certain requirements such as house ownership, a maximum income limit of $27,060 for a 1-person household or $30,960 for 2-person households, and a permanent mobility limitation.
NIACOG Senior Planner Myrtle Nelson says that the program was born because ramps often needed to be moved quickly.
"I was trying to make referrals to other agencies, but because of their awkward size and heaviness, there wasn't a quick solution to that. So we got together with Habitat for Humanity and talked over using aluminum ramps instead of wood," Nelson says.
Clear Lake resident Clint Randall, who has had a history with a wheelchair, says it's a move in the right direction. When he lost his right leg in a construction accident 25 years ago, he used a wheelchair that came with a ramp for about three weeks, but there were construction issues.
"It was too steep. And I remember we had to make instead of just one, we had to make two, so it was able to go up without having such an incline. We had two lanes, if you will, up and around the corner, and then up," Randall says.
While he was able to transition to using a walker and then get around using a prosthetic leg, Randall is an advocate for the program, but he notes that there is a long way to go for complete accessibility.
"Unless you have experience in it yourself, or have the issue, you don't really notice it. But those people who have wheelchairs, it's hard for them to get in the doors. When they stay open for only 5-10 seconds, it's hard to get a wheelchair through a door without the help. And there needs to be more parking available," Randall says.
If you or someone you know is in need of a permanent handicapped ramp, contact Myrtle Nelson at 641-423-0491 x16 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Habitat for Humanity at 641-424-8978 or email@example.com.