TRENTON The Department of Human Services (DHS),Division of Disability Services(DDS) held a ribbon cutting ceremony June 27, 2007, to initiate a new two-year pilot program, “The New Jersey Modular Ramp Program,” that provides eligible participants with a modular ramp that is designed for people with physical disabilities to use to get into, and out of, their homes. The event was held at the home of the first ramp recipient, Ms. Jackie Jackson, Woodland Avenue, South Plainfield. Ms. Jackson was not previously able to independently enter or exit her home until the installation of the ramp.
Today's event participants included: DHS Deputy Commissioner Ann Kohler; DHS Division of Disability Services Director William Ditto (above right, welcoming everyone to the ribbon cutting); South Plainfield Mayor Charles Butrico; Middlesex County Freeholder Blanquita Valenti; Elaine Katz, V.P. Grants & Special Initiatives, Henry H. Kessler Foundation; Lee Mathews, Director, Edison Job Corps; Dr. Richard Olsen, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT); and representatives from the Edison Job Corps; Cerebral Palsy of NJ; and the Middlesex County Office for the Disabled.
“Providing the opportunity for people with physical disabilities to have independent access to their homes is a significant addition in providing accessibility accommodations,” said DHS Deputy Commissioner Ann Kohler (above right). “The department is proud to participate and grateful to all of the participating organizations for their role in making this opportunity available.”
The pilot-program is limited to residents of Union or Middlesex Counties that live in a house or apartment that is not currently accessible for people with physical disabilities. Participants must be at least 16 years old with a mobility impairment, have liquid assets of not more than $100,000; and must be employed, seeking employment, going to school, or be willing to volunteer in the community.
The NJ Modular Ramp Program is made possible through a grant by The Henry H. Kessler Foundation. The total amount of the grant is $267,000 that will fund the construction of approximately 35 ramps. Others partners in the program include: the Edison Job Corps which builds and assembles the ramps; Cerebral Palsy of NJ (CP of NJ) which is responsible for site assessments and design recommendations; the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) which conducts pre and post-installation surveys and collects statistics; and the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs which creates construction guidelines and code enforcement.
The ramps are made with pressure-treated wood and may be removed if the resident moves, or if the resident no longer requires the ramp. The modular design does not require the traditionally needed permanent footings in the ground. The ramps are built in modules and are assembled on location.
Applications for the ramp program are available by calling the Division of Disability Services at 609-292-7800, or online at www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dds/njmrp.htm