Making accessibility a reality
Life would never be the same after a car accident left Jason paralyzed below his neck. But one thing didn’t change: his desire to take care of himself. Twenty years later, Jason drives, works as a para-transit dispatcher and even skydives. And now, with the help of Habitat Central Iowa, he owns his own home, one that maximizes what he can do.
“It is very rewarding to know that I have independence,” Jason says. “My home is very comfortable and secure, and I am very happy having the space I need to function as normally as I can.”
Jason was 23 years old and fresh off a stint in the U.S. Marines when that life-changing car crash happened. “One day you are walking down the street and the next day you are not,” he says. “At the same time, I had the philosophy that I am not going to curl up in a ball and die, that I still have a lot of life to live.”
Jason approached Habitat Central Iowa to inquire about building an accessible home and worked his sweat equity hours by researching grant opportunities and taking on speaking engagements.
Before, Jason lived in a small apartment where he couldn’t get his wheelchair into the kitchen and had limited use of the bathroom. Now, the Habitat home he has purchased grants him full access and a place to park his retrofitted van.
“My home is very much built for someone in a wheelchair,” he says. “I no longer have to call someone to open a door or get me unstuck when I get too close to a wall.”
Since Jason does need some assistance getting in and out of his wheelchair, his Habitat house includes room for a part-time caregiver. “Really, I live a pretty normal life,” he says. “I am very grateful to Habitat for helping with that.”