Disabled individuals sometimes cannot use or access homes, other buildings or services because of their physical limitations. Although federal and state laws exist that promote equality for disabled people, making facilities and services accessible to the disabled still is expensive. Accessibility becomes financially feasible with help from private and government grants.
Capital and Training Assistance Program
The Capital and Training Assistance Program for Over-the-Road Bus Accessibility (20.518) is a program geared to give disabled people access to bus transportation. This government program awards grants between $25,000 and $180,000, with the average being $25,000. The award period lasts for up to three years. The monies from the grants may be used to cover adaptations of old buses for handicapped accessibility (e.g., installation of a wheelchair lift), as well as the purchase of new handicapped accessible buses. The program also supports other services related to busing the disabled, such as maintenance and sensitivity training. Only private busing companies are eligible. More information on how to apply is available from the Federal Transportation Administration website (fta.dot.gov), which has contact information for local Federal Transportation Administration offices.
Independent Living State Grants for Individuals With Disabilities
The Independent Living State Grant for Individuals with Disabilities is a grant offered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration. The grant is designed to allow private agencies to comply with the stipulations of the Rehabilitation Act. Funds from the grant may be used for planning and evaluating independent living facilities, as well as for outreach and study of independent living resources. Administration of independent living buildings also qualifies under this grant.
Rehabilitation Services Administration 400 Maryland Ave SW Washington, D.C., 20202 800-872-5327 www2.ed.gov
Specially Adapted Housing
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides millions of dollars to assist disabled veterans and servicemen and servicewomen. One grant the organization offers aimed specifically at accessibility is the Specially Adapted Housing Grant. This grant is intended to cover the cost of adapting a house to meet the needs of the person (e.g., widening doorways, adding ramps) or for purchasing a new home that accommodates the disability. Interested individuals should contact their local Department of Veteran's Affairs office for more information on what funds and application procedures are available and necessary for specific regions. A list of local VA offices is available from the VA website (www2.va.gov). Alternately, individuals also may call 202.461.9546 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.