Home - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Skip to navigation Skip to content

  Making Homes Accessible

     Imagine this scenario: You wake up in the morning and begin your usual morning routine. You get out of bed and head to the shower, but as you make your way into the bathroom, you realize that you cannot fit through the door. Overnight, it seems that your doorway has narrowed, and no matter what you try, you can’t get in. Maybe your significant other is able to help you squeeze into the bathroom, but once you get to the bath tub you find that the sides of the tub are twice as high as they were last night, and without help you will never get into the tub. Again, you are helped into the tub, but now it is so slippery you are afraid you will fall if you are not careful. Somehow, you manage to get cleaned up and dressed, but when you try to go out the front door, there is a pile of rocks blocking the doorway you will need someone to carry you over them to get out of the house.

     This scenario may sound like something from a science fiction novel, but it is a serious reality for many people living with MS. People who use wheelchairs may find that their doorways are too narrow, making it difficult or impossible to get into spaces like the bathroom. Most bathrooms have the standard tub/shower combination, which is also a nightmare for people with mobility issues. Grab bars are often needed in the shower as well to help prevent falls. Unfortunately, there are many people who would not be able to leave their homes at all without someone to carry them down steps because there is no ramp in fact, some rarely do leave home because of this obstacle. And the reality for people living on a fixed income is that home modifications just don’t fit into the budget.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is well aware of these obstacles that people with MS are facing every day. Our Financial Assistance program has been available to help purchase small modifications such as grab bars, but the Society has not had the resources to fund larger modification projects until now.

     The Mississippi Office of the All America Chapter proudly announces that on May 15, 2008, our office and BankPlus of Jackson, Mississippi, were awarded a grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas. This grant is the first offered by the FHLB to specifically support people with disabilities, and we are honored that they have chosen the Mississippi Office of the All America Chapter as their first grantee in this area.

     The program will provide home modification assistance to Mississippi home owners who live in the designated counties (see map orange counties are designated area), are low-income and have a household member with MS. The AAC will be responsible for identifying homeowners who fit the criteria for application and working directly with the homeowner. BankPlus, a member bank of FHLB of Dallas, will help assure that all requirements of the grant are met and handle the disbursement of funds. The grant will allow for modifications for up to 15 homes in the next year. This project will significantly enhance the quality of life and independence of eligible applicants dealing with the challenges of multiple sclerosis.

     In the next few months, staff from the Mississippi office will visit self-help groups to present more information on this exciting project. If you are interested in this program, please contact Andi Agnew, Programs Coordinator, at 601-856-5831, or 1-800-344-4867, Option 2, or email her at andi.agnew@nmss.org.