Disability Rights Michigan

As of July 2016, Judy Powell of Kalamazoo, Michigan is finally able to go outside with the help of her accessible ramp. For 21 months and 5 days, Judy could not leave her condominium without extreme pain, discomfort, and assistance while her condo association deliberated over whether to allow her to build the ramp she was legally entitled to. With the help of Kris Gibbons, a fair housing clinician at Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan, and Kyle Williams, an attorney with DRM, Judy was able to come to an agreement with her condo association allowing a ramp to be installed.

Judy moved to her complex in September 2014. Judy immediately began sending numerous messages to the condo association and property management company regarding getting a ramp installed to her unit, and thus allowing access to the community with her wheelchair. Unfortunately, her request for assistance was met with numerous demands. The condo association placed requirements on the bidding process, including a 3D computer animation of the ramp and the approval of three residents who share use of the common area the ramp was to access. Contractor Senior Services agreed to help Judy pay for the ramp, giving her up to $500. The association added extra items, increasing the cost to $1,015.

In April 2016, Judy was encouraged to call DRM. At that time, the complex agreed to build the ramp but was placing uncooperative conditions in the contract. For instance, if Judy were to move she would be required to remove the ramp 30 days before her departure. With Kyle’s intervention, the extra conditions were dropped and Judy’s ramp was completed on July 28, 2016.

“I am so thankful for Kyle at MPAS {DRM}. He took all of the stress I was carrying and made it go away,” said Judy. “My complex association would not acknowledge me until Fair Housing and MPAS {DRM} got involved. I feel like I’m no longer trapped in my own home. I was under house arrest for no other reason than they didn’t want me to have a ramp. I would tell other people to call MPAS {DRM} and don’t give up. It’s worth it; I am so excited to go outside now,” Judy continued.

Judy is currently utilizing her ramp to the fullest. She is able to go to her doctor’s appointments without injury and was able to visit the pool in her complex for the first time.

Kyle Williams and Judy Powell

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