Grangeville Resident Received New Ramp

     A Grangeville resident watched and even brought coffee out to the workers as Disability Action Center NW (DAC NW) installed a new ramp leading from the front door to the driveway. This ramp was paid for by Medicaid. The previous wooden ramp was becoming old and unsafe. The surface allowed ice to build up this past winter, making it risky to come or go from the house.
     But getting a new ramp can take time in rural areas. It can be difficult to find someone to build a ramp, and the wait can be months. Medicaid will pay for a new ramp, but it must be through an approved Medicaid provider. “It can be difficult to find the provider in these rural areas,” said Mark Leeper, Executive Director of Disability Action Center NW. “We felt the need was strong enough to go through the process of becoming a provider for the 10 counties in Northern Idaho.”
     Once the ramp is approved by Medicaid, measurements are taken and the modular ramp is built virtually on a computer, the parts ordered, and about 8 business days later the parts arrive ready for installation. “It took about 4 hours to remove the old one and install the new ramp,” said Steve Corr, an employee of DAC NW. “And there is little to no modification made to the housing structure. We are getting ready to do another one in Kooskia.”
     DAC NW researched the ramps to use and decided on Q-Ramp. This system is easy to design, and requires no permits or holes to dig for posts. The coating is durable and no painting or staining is needed to maintain it. It has a non-slip flow through surface that keeps snow and ice from building up. Extra tall curbs keep wheelchairs from slipping off  and it even has glow in the dark guides. The neutral color stays cool to the touch and compliments any home.
     “This is a natural extension of our other Ramp Project,” Leeper said. “We use donations to purchase
modular ramp pieces to build temporary ramps at no cost for people who can’t afford them so they can stay out of nursing homes.”
DAC NW partners with organizations like Palouse Habitat for Humanity, Interlink, Habitat for Humanity of North Idaho, and Lions Club to store and assemble the ramps when needed. A consumer uses the ramp until another one can be purchased or built, with the hope that when it is no longer used, the parts can be returned to the program to be used again. DAC currently has over a dozen ramps installed right now. The program was started in 2016 with a $17,000 grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. DAC has continued to search for donations and received funding from Moscow Giving Circle as well.
As more funding is secured and parts purchased, DAC wants to expand the program to other communities. This takes community partners to train volunteers, to store parts, and then to install the ramps. Churches and service groups make great partners.