GREENE – The Impact Project recently visited a family in Greene and installed a handicap accessible ramp that organization representatives said would have cost them more than $10,000, but was necessary to keep the homeowner in their home.
According to The Impact Project Founder Jim Willard III, Edward “Jack” Najarian is a senior citizen living in Greene that has been struggling with getting in and out of his home.
Beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday last week, over 20 Curtis Lumber employees along with other volunteers worked at 5 Jeffrey Heights in Greene to build Najarian a handicap accessible ramp that would allow him to leave his home without being carried.
“Being in a wheelchair for the last three years and living in a home with no handicap accessibility, it's been real tough,” Willard said. “This is about making sure that Jack could remain in his home, keeping in him a place he’d rather be, and off of assisted living or programs like it.”
He said Najarian and his children have tried several agencies and other options for assistance, but were unsuccessful. He added that the cost to county taxpayers for assisted living would have far outweighed the cost of the project, which he estimated at just over $10,000.
“I think looking at the nine projects we’ve done this year, if those projects were not done, six or seven of them would have had to move into taxpayer funded housing of some kind,” said Willard. “I believe that this year alone, we’ve saved taxpayers a third to a half a million dollars, and to magnify that, this is our 109th project.”
“If we were to say that three quarters of the individuals we’ve helped would have to move out of their homes and find some kind of assisted living, we’re talking millions of dollars saved.”
Najarian’s caretaker, Jessica Trepa, said before The Impact Project installed the ramp, she and other members of his family would have to carry Najarian down a flight of stairs to get him to doctor appointments, which was one of the only times he would leave his home.
According to Trepa, she had an estimate done to have a ramp built before The Impact Project came, and it was much more than the family could afford.