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With obstacles at every turn, accessible housing for those with physical disabilities is often hard to find. Many of the homes in upstate New York are old and weren't built with accessibility in mind. From personal stories to changes in the accessibility landscape, here's coverage from WRVO News.

Volunteers ramping up accessibility in Oswego County

Some New Yorkers with mobility issues can feel trapped in their homes because many live in houses that are inaccessible for people who have trouble using stairs. In Oswego County, a volunteer effort is trying to reconnect those residents with the outside world.

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Credit Payne Horning / WRVO News
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WRVO News
ARISE, in partnership with volunteers, builds nearly 30 ramps every year in Oswego County to make more homes accessible.

On a cold Saturday morning, ARISE carpenter Rick Chase led a group of volunteers from Novelis in assembling a ramp for Beverly Riley, who suffers from Neuropathy. Riley had been unable to take her scooter into the house before the ramp was built and the cold temperatures would drain its batteries.

"My only choice was leaving it in the van," Riley said. "This way, I have a choice."

ARISE, a nonprofit disability advocacy group, has been building ramps for people like Riley in Oswego County for nearly a decade. Chase has been with the effort for the last five. He had a first-hand experience with disability as a young boy.

"My mother was handicapped," Chase said. "I’ve understood the need for people to have access."

Jim Karasek, an independent living manger with ARISE, said this area needs more access. He said neither Oswego County nor ARISE receive state funding to help build these ramps.

"When funding comes out from New York state, it always goes to the metro areas," Karasek said. "Those areas -- I think they think they’re going to get the biggest bang for their buck, but the rural areas is where we run into the transportation problems. What happens is people get stuck in this quagmire where they can’t move forward and live independently and get out and do things."

Karasek said the ramps can literally free some residents from their homes.

"We did a ramp two years ago for a couple that hadn’t been out of their home for three years," Karasek said. "The first thing she wanted to do was go shopping for bananas. Those are moments you don’t forget."

ARISE constructs about 30 ramps in the area every year.