Centralina AAA’s Housing & Home Improvement Program

Building Safer Homes for Older Adults One Ramp at a Time

Did you know that more than 12% of adults in the United States have a mobility disability including serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs? And, closer to home, based on the 2022 state aging profile, 21% of North Carolinians who are 65 and over live with a disability that affects their ability to ambulate. 

Mobility limitations create a variety of challenges, including getting out of bed, walking to the kitchen, rising from a favorite chair and navigating stairs to enter or exit their home. Home modifications like accessible ramps can increase an individual’s independence, security and safety.

Federal funds and programs for older and disabled adults historically responded to the most basic needs, such as nutrition, in-home aide and transportation. Home improvement services were rarely prioritized, and often received too little funding to be impactful. In response to this chronically unmet need, Centralina Area Agency on Aging (AAA) used ARPA funding to develop the Housing & Home Improvement (HHI) program, which provides a variety of home modifications to older adults, including wheelchair-accessible ramps.

The Centralina HHI program formed a partnership with the North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry, which allows volunteers to build ramps for the older adults in our region. To date, Centralina AAA and NC BAM have partnered to build over 30 ramps with more planned for the future. Centralina AAA Director, Linda Miller, explains that “Centralina is so proud of the important work we are doing through the HHI Program to bring needed modifications into the homes of older adults across the region and increase their independence, safety and quality of life.” 

Many clients who received ramps through this program were unable to safely leave their home prior to their new ramp getting built. One client explained that she had been homebound and had not left her home for over a year, and she was so thankful for the ramp provided from Centralina AAA and NC BAM.  She wrote on her satisfaction survey, “Just in time, I was so afraid of me or my family falling when I had to go to the doctor.” 

Other clients report that their new ramp allows them to resume activities they want to do—like spending time with family—or things they need to do, like visiting their doctor regularly. One client commented, “Now I don’t have to be carried up and down the steps to go to the doctor, thank you all for this blessing.” 

To be eligible for the HHI program, an adult must be aged 60+ and live within one of our nine counties (Anson, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union) and have a minor home repair with no one else able to assist them with that need. For referrals, contact Kelly Mach at Kmach@centralina.org or reach out to Centralina AAA at 1-800-508-5777.