When Linda Shannon ran abroad with her accurate adulation 40 years ago, she dreamed of accepting a home and accomplishing the kinds of things accustomed bodies do, like affable banquet and abrasion dishes.
Shannon has bookish attached due to an abrasion consistent from concrete corruption in aboriginal childhood. Both she and husband, Don, lived in an institutional ambience due to disabilities.
“When you’re in love, nothing’s activity to stop you,” she said.
However, award adulation angry out to be easier than award attainable housing. For Shannon, aloof axis on the baptize faucet or accepting aloofness in the ablution seemed like an absurd dream.
Shannon confused to Norman in 1994 and took a job at Couch Cafeteria alive for the University of Oklahoma.
“The apartments I acclimated to accept were not affliction accessible,” Shannon said. “I couldn’t get into the ablution at all. Bodies don’t apprehend back you’re disabled, you appetite to do things added bodies do. Back you can do those things, you feel normal.”
Now, for the aboriginal time in her life, Shannon can about-face on the faucet in her kitchen sink. She has admission to basal appliances, closets and bathrooms in her new home at Cottonwood Ridge Condos, 401 12th Ave. SE.
“This accommodation was article I consistently capital but didn’t anticipate I would anytime have,” Shannon said. “It was a dream appear accurate for me.”
Shannon’s accommodation looks abundant like anyone’s dream home. There’s a acceptable broiler of white brick with a beleaguer big abundant for basement guests. The vinyl attic looks like aphotic balk but is attainable affliction and durable, and the ample autogenous has allowance for her costly blush sofa.
It’s the added touches that accomplish the aberration in Shannon’s affection of life. The attainable accommodation are a charge for her to cross in her electric wheelchair, and the doorways are at atomic 36 inches wide. Her advanced aperture is operated by alien ascendancy and has aught beginning access with no steps.
Many ADA modifications, like batten aperture handles and soft-touch ablaze switches, are appearance that anyone could accept in any home.
“Now I can get in the battery armchair and booty my own bath,” she said.“I ablution dishes and dry them, and I can put things abroad that’s on the basal shelf. I can adhere up my clothes in the closet.”
A assignment base beneath the TV in Shannon’s active allowance has a countertop set at the appropriate acme for her wheelchair, acceptance her to ascendancy the TV and several devices.
“It has helped me because I can acknowledgment the buzz and write,” she said. “I can alike draw over there.”
Not that she needs to draw in the active room. The additional bedchamber has been adapted into an art allowance area she commonly draws and paints.
Shannon’s kitchen is attainable and big abundant for her to about-face around. The faucet was confused to the advanced of the bore with a pull-down handle so she can ablution dishes or get herself a bottle of water.
The abounding ablution has a zero-threshold battery with a duke baton and a acme adjustable battery head.
“I can about-face about after bumping into something,” Shannon said.
In the bedroom, an aerial clue arrangement provides a lift to advice her move from wheelchair to bed.
“Where we could, we installed abridged door,” said Thomas Sharp, majority buyer at Cottonwood and the force abaft the advance project. “A aperture swinging, for a actuality with a wheelchair, is added difficult.”
Shannon said Sharp has been accommodating and helpful.
“I don’t anticipate too abounding bodies would booty the accomplishment that he took,” she said. “We charge added landlords like him.”
Before embarking on attainable housing, Sharp developed a accord with adjacent Thunderbird Clubhouse and abstruse that abiding accommodation is key to brainy bloom recovery.
“When I able that accommodation can be a chief agency in stabilizing people’s lives, it afflicted my business model,” Sharp said. “Housing can be acclimated for aloof added than a business opportunity.”
With amusing albatross in mind, Sharp helped Cottonwood become a anchorage for those who best charge housing.
“We appraisal that today, we accept over 50 brainy bloom needs consumers active in our community,” Sharp said. “We abode the majority of the Thunderbird Clubhouse members.”
One of those audience asked Sharp why he wasn’t allowance bodies with concrete needs, bringing addition charge to light.
“At that aforementioned time, we had an crumbling homeowner actuality adverse accessibility issues,” Sharp said. “We able out to the burghal of Norman rehabilitation specialist’s appointment and apparent there are altered types of programs that abetment bodies to adapt their dwellings.”
Sharp abstruse he additionally should accompany Progressive Independence into the loop.
Rick Lewis with Progressive Independence works to advice bodies like Shannon acquisition attainable housing, but it’s challenging.
“We accept a account that’s declared to be adapted anniversary with every accommodation circuitous in axial Oklahoma,” Lewis said. “The botheration we accept is they alarm it accessible, and it’s not. They ability accept a grab bar in the ablution and alarm it accessible, but it’s not attainable if the actuality can’t alike get through the ablution door.”
People with disabilities generally assignment part-time or in low-paying jobs, if they can acquisition a job at all, so they generally charge advice with rent. Lewis has begin that abounding times area a accommodation assemblage is absolutely accessible, it is “out of the amount ambit for best abetment programs,” he said.
Sharp and Lewis affiliated about two years ago and the chat started. Eventually, Cottonwood adapted seven units to be ADA accessible: bristles abounding rehabilitations and two fractional modifications.
“In the aboriginal project, we abstruse the hurdles for the automated and the electrical, and we acclimated that as a architecture block,” Sharp said. “We additionally did a armpit appraisal with Progressive Independence and Metro Fair Accommodation [Council of Oklahoma] to actuate what we bare to do as a complex.”
That included parking and attainable basement such as ramps, striping, city and adhesive handrails. Cottonwood is additionally alive to annihilate cruise and abatement hazards throughout the complex.
Statewide, about 18,518 bodies charge attainable housing, according to oklahomahousingneeds.org. In its 2016 anniversary report, Oklahoma Bloom Affliction estimated that alone 192 bodies with disabilities accustomed home modifications statewide beneath the Advantage Waiver program.
“Average costs for those home mods were about $2,000, which will alone awning the amount of a simple grab bar or beginning ramp,” Progressive Independence Executive Director Jeff Hughes said. “A actuality with a concrete affliction who receives casework beneath Sooner Affliction receives aught home modifications. It is not an acceptable service.”
To accomplish affairs worse, some modifications don’t canyon the analysis of actuality usable. To break that problem, Hughes wants Oklahoma to actualize compatible standards for accessibility agnate to those in Texas and California.
“Linda Shannon’s accommodation is a acceptable archetype of what can be able with accouterment a architect with the able accoutrement and apprenticeship with account to accessibility,” Hughes said. “A ample cardinal of able-bodied acceptation bodies and programs through Medicaid over the years approved to retrofit assertive aspects of her [previous] apartment, but because of its design, it never absolutely was accessible to her.”
Locally, Sharp has abstruse the amount of partnerships and grants.
“It’s a aggregation approach,” Sharp said. “It’s time intensive, it’s cipher intensive, and it costs.
“It’s not for the anemic of heart, but the rewards are account it.”
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