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Leading the Way for Accessible Homes for People with Disabilities

January 19, 2016

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette


With New State Grant, Hamaspik of Orange County Again on Forefront of Serving Community

Hamaspik of Orange County has done it again.

Serving the greater community via broad-based, far-reaching social-services initiatives such the Access to Home (ATH) program, Hamaspik of Orange County—and Hamaspik in general—continues to exemplify the public-private partnership done right.

While Hamaspik was founded in 1986 with one group home for children with severe intellectual disabilities, it has long since branched out to numerous areas of social and human services.

Among these is Access to Home, a long-running and vital program provided under the auspices of the New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), a state umbrella agency comprising all of New York’s major housing and community renewal agencies.

Hamaspik has served as one of the state’s numerous non-profits providing ATH to the community for a number of years now, renovating and upgrading residences in Kings, Orange and Rockland County and making homes independently livable.

Among the awardees in the state’s newest round of ATH funding, Hamaspik of Orange County figures high on the list.  With the release of HCR’s 2015 fiscal-year grant awardees, the agency is now the sole non-profit tapped to provide access to Home to the entire Orange County region.

What that means is that if you or a loved one lives in Orange County and needs home improvement to make living with a disability more livable, Hamaspik of Orange County can now once again help.

Under Access to Home, people with physical disabilities, and/or seniors with substantial difficulty with daily living activity because of aging, may obtain adaptations and alterations to their primary residences, allowing them to remain in their own homes instead of moving to most costly and restrictive institutional settings.

In plain English, that means wheelchair ramps, restroom grab bars, roll-in showers, widened bathtubs, wheelchair-accessible sinks and cabinets, and the like.

Other home renovations covered by ATH include wheelchair lifts, widened doors, safety handrails, staircase chair lifts, non-skid flooring, or even low-cost measures like extra outdoor lighting.

To qualify for Access to Home assistance, one merely need prove a medically documented, permanent physical disability or activity of daily living (ADL) difficulty, and not earn more than 80 percent of the area median income (AMI).

With Hamaspik at the helm, hundreds of New York seniors and others in three counties have benefited over the years.

Provided as it is by Hamaspik, the ATH program has been revamping, overhauling, remodeling or otherwise improving homes and even apartments for people with special needs for years now.

Thanks to the ATH program, venerable seniors, beloved grandparents and even, tragically, accident victims can continue to care for themselves right at home, retaining their dignity and helping them remain connected to community and family.

Applying for the program is a rather simple process.

A phone call to Hamaspik, regardless of which county branch, will connect the inquirer to each agency’s dedicated Access to Home coordinator.

The coordinator will note down all pertinent information and, with a few friendly key questions, will walk the caller through the qualification process.

A personal visit to the site in question follows, in turn followed by a detailed written assessment of the renovations or home improvements required.  That assessment is then put out for bids with partner contractors—quality home-improvement professionals who have a solid track record of delivering results.

Bids (often based on site visits by bidding contractors) shortly come in, and with paperwork signed, work commences.

Depending on the work demanded, it could be days or months until completion—but when it’s done, you can be sure it’s a job well done, with life never to be the same, and in the best of ways.

For more information on Hamaspik of Orange County’s Access to Home program, please call 845-774-8400, extension 354.