Illinois legislation would support ADA home modifications

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 10:31 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - It’s hard enough to live with a disability let alone trying to do so independently but one state lawmaker backs a plan to make it easier for those with disabilities to get around their home alone.

If passed the Home Modification Program Act will allow people living with a disability, regardless of age, to make their homes more ADA accessible so they don’t have to move elsewhere.

“Based on my experience with my grandmother, we had to put rails up throughout the house, up and down the stairs to ensure her safety. That’s what I think about when I push this bill,” says State Rep. Maurice West (D-67).

If passed, Rep. West says the money will be distributed to independent living centers across the state, including RAMP in Rockford, to assist with those home modifications.

“Anything that has an impact on them because of their disability, we want to address that and eliminate that barrier so they can age in place and remain as independent as possible,” Eric Brown, RAMP systems advocacy coordinator, says.

Brown says it’s important to offer an equal opportunity for everyone to live independently regardless of any issues they face.

“It’s important that everyone has an opportunity to get in and out of their home and in the community and have access to everything that anyone else in our society might have access to.”

“This is a bill for the disability community by the disability community,” West says. “It’s things that those able-bodied individuals such as myself may take for granted. It’s those three steps from the porch that may keep them there.”

Advocates say this bill can help give those living with a disability the ability to move in and around their homes worry-free.

“It’d be an opportunity for people with disabilities, working with other people with disabilities across the state to make sure that we’re all living in an inclusive and accessible society,” Brown says.

Rep. West hopes to pass this bill by the end of the spring legislative session in May in one of two ways: pass it separately through the House and Senate or include it as part of the Budget Implementation bill.

More than 50 people reached out to RAMP for assistance with home modifications between October and December 2022.