Albuquerque, N.M. (KKOB) — As we age, many of us need help from mobility aids like wheelchairs and walkers. This fact of life leaves hundreds of New Mexicans with a significant problem, lack of easy access to their homes. In this week’s Good News File, we learn about one nonprofit working towards a solution. Greg Hallstrom Executive Director of The New Mexico Ramp Project says through census data, his team estimates more than 60,000 people are unable to navigate stairs in the state. That means there are thousands of individuals who simply cannot enter or exit their homes on their own, leaving them to rely on family or friends.
The New Mexico Ramp Project began to change that in 2019 when it was founded as a sister organization to a similar nonprofit in Texas. Referrals for people who need ramps come to Hallstrom from clergy members, social workers, and even police and fire departments. No medical or financial information is required. Once a referral is approved, Hallstrom and his team make a connection with the family and set a date for the project. Then, they find a team of volunteers. Anyone can get involved, from church groups to larger organizations like the Natural Disaster Relief Group, Team Rubicon. Jim Willis, the North Central Administrator for Team Rubicon says the projects are an opportunity to change someone’s life. “Building one simple ramp is really gonna change their perspective on what the future may hold for them,” he said. Willis explains, if you or a loved one have not struggled with mobility, it might be easy to forget that not everyone has the same kind of access to the world that you do. Lack of access can lead to isolation, which can cause depression and loneliness. But The New Mexico Ramp Project is working hard to help: one ramp, one door to access at a time. To learn more about The New Mexico Ramp Project visit https://nmramp.org/.