© 2022 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

CAO receives $500K to provide independent living upgrades and devices


New state money may help people with some disabilities stay in their East Side homes.
Living in an older house when you have mobility issues can be very difficult. Older people with disabilities may have to give up their homes because they just can't maintain them anymore and there aren't always programs to help.

The Community Action Organization of Western New York has been issued $500,000 from several different state programs to alleviate some of that and keep some residents in the homes they may have lived in for many years.

"The goal behind this funding is to try and keep more people in their homes and being able to age in place and live independently and be able to divert the number of people going into different types of living facilities who might not necessarily need to be there, but end up there because they're living in an older home that just hasn't aged with them," said CAO Housing Development Director Drew Canfield.

Canfield said the money will be used to build wheelchair ramps and provide devices to help those with vision or hearing problems.

"Include lighted light switches or appliances that include lights for people who are hard of hearing or deaf or lots of other types of accessibility-oriented modifications, as well," he said. "So it goes a little bit beyond just a wheelchair ramp."

There also might be a need for one of those alarm systems that flash lights, rather than sounding a horn, for someone with hearing problems.

Canfield said people are already calling for assistance. He said the organization has experts who can visit an applicant and take a holistic approach to mix and match the individual's needs.

"Someone might give us a call and say, 'Hey, I really need a wheelchair ramp. I'm having issues getting in and out of my home.' Things like that. But what someone might not think about is that what could also help, in addition to that wheechair ramp, is maybe widening doorways to make sure that that wheelchairs and vehicles can get through to his doorway. Those are the kind of things that we're the experts in that," Canfield said.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
Related Content