Edgewater resident celebrates with those who made his home accessible – Edgewater Echo
In August, Matt F., who has been paraplegic since the age of 11, threw a party at his first home. The 32-year-old welcomed the volunteers and supporters who renovated his home, allowing him to live safely and independently with his new wife, Jess. After Matt suffered a spinal cord injury in a sledding accident, his parents renovated the family home to make it accessible. However, since Matt left for college at the age of 18, he has had to sacrifice comfort and privacy while living in a series of apartments. “I had to remove doors to accommodate my wheelchair, stack all my belongings in the lower part of the closet and shower in the tubs,” says Matt.
That all changed when Matt connected with the nonprofit Home Builders Foundation (HBF) shortly after purchasing his first home in 2019. HBF empowers people with disabilities and their families to live more lives. independent and higher by working with trained volunteers and partners to create home modifications that allow better access, enhance safety, and empower clients to tackle daily tasks.
At the party, Matt and Jess led tours of their renovated home and proudly highlighted the changes including;
- Front and rear ramps and a rear deck provided by Haberer Carpentry that allow Matt to enter and exit his house independently.
- A large master bathroom with roll-in shower and accessible sink and an accessible bathroom down the hall, made possible by RSS insurance.
- A new back door leading to the bridge that RSS Insurance has renovated from an existing window.
- A stairlift, which was installed by Ascent Mobility, and allows Matt easy access to his office in the basement.
- A smooth concrete sidewalk leading to the house which was built by PorMor Construction.
Matt thanked the group saying, “Jess and I are just amazed at what everyone has done for us. Each project has been professionally carried out and designed to blend in perfectly with our home decor. I can now easily go to my home office, in the backyard, and interact with guests.
September is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. In the United States, approximately 300,000 people live with a spinal cord injury and nearly 18,000 new spinal cord injuries occur each year. The impacts on an individual’s mobility vary depending on the severity and location of the injury on the spinal cord. Darin Kraft, Insurance Advisor at RSS Insurance Services, was Matt’s renovation project manager and was involved in several HBF projects for clients with spinal cord injuries. “I am always inspired by what our clients with spinal cord injuries can accomplish with a little help from us. Now that Matt can easily access the front aisle, he’s renovating a minivan to an accessible RV. It’s so rewarding to help someone regain their independence, ”says Kraft.
About the Home Builders Foundation
For more than 25 years, the Home Builders Foundation has empowered people with disabilities and their families to lead more independent and higher lives. Trained volunteers and collaborative partners come together to create home modifications that allow better access, enhance safety, and empower clients to tackle day-to-day tasks. HBF has performed home modifications including ramps, room modifications, bathrooms and more for over 1,800 people and organizations. The demand for modifications has more than tripled since 2007. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, more than 200 home modification projects were completed in 2020 and even more requests are scheduled for 2021. To learn more about HBF, visit