Update: WQAD contacted the Illinois/Iowa Center for Independent Living for their response to Jeremy’s claim.
Center Director, Liz Sherwin says, over the past five years the U.S. Department of Education has cut more than $50,000 from their annual budget. She says because of those budget cuts, they have been forced to layoff staff and downsize.
Sherwin says they now refer those who are in need of any home modification to organizations such as Rebuilding Quad Cities.
Rebuilding QC Director Rod Jennings says they, too, have been unable to assist the disabled with any home modifications because of budget cuts.
Original Story from October 28, 2013:
Jeremy Collins has been in a wheelchair his entire life. He was born premature and diagnosed as a child with cerebral palsy. The disorder has left him unable to work.
Collins, 36, lives in a small home. Connected to the home is a wheelchair ramp. That wheelchair ramp was built five years ago, and over time has slowly begun to fall apart.
The ramp is too narrow, the screws are loose and the boards are uneven. All of these structural defects have left him unable to go up and down the ramp.
“That slope, that goes up, that gives me a problem because I can’t get up my ramp in my manual chair. Once I get to a certain point, then I have to have help,” says Collins.
Collins says when he’s alone and there’s no one there to push him up the ramp, he sometimes gets on his hands and knees and crawls to the door of his home.
For the past year, Collins has been trying to find someone to replace the ramp because he doesn’t have the money to make needed repairs. He says he has contacted various area organizations, “and they all told me they had no funding,” says Collins.
Collins says he just wants to live a normal life and be able to come and go, just as everyone else does.
“If I can, you know, get a new ramp and maybe extend my porch, that’s what I’d like. It would make it easier for me, for everyday living to get around,” says Collins.
He also says most people take for granted the simple things in life.
“People that can walk and get around normal, they take it for granted…they don’t know what it’s like for a person in a wheelchair to go through day-to-day life,” says Collins.