Read what others are saying about Access for Opportunity

April 2, 2018

Dear Ed,

I am writing in full support of Access for Opportunity’s mission to build affordable, wheelchair accessible housing for those with physical disabilities living in Massachusetts and to provide opportunities to re-gain employment.

The Greater Boston Chapter of United Spinal Association sole purpose is to provide support to those affected by a life altering spinal cord injury. This diagnosis leaves individuals paralyzed with the inability to move their lower and/or upper extremities. It is emotionally, physically and financially devasting. Often, they cannot return to their homes as they are not accessible. In addition, they are often unable to return to their prior employment.

Each day we at the Chapter see people who are forced into sub-standard housing, inaccessible housing and skilled nursing facilities. Far too often, these places are unsafe and unsanitary. Others are simply, homeless and living on the streets. Their health declines and a vicious cycle begins.

Housing is a top priority for employment and quality of life. The only reason why they are waiting for several years under these conditions to get an apartment is because we don’t have enough affordable accessible housing. Access for Opportunity has a mission to change lives for hundreds of people. Not only will they provide housing but the resources needed for employment. Ultimately, individuals will once again have a home of their own.

My best,
Elizabeth M. Weaver
Executive Director
United Spinal Association
Greater Boston Chapter

March 19, 2018

Recommendation/ Testimonial for Ed Walsh

Ed Walsh is a tireless advocate for the rights of people living with disabilities. And yet, he is so much more than advocate; he is a visionary leader that turns advocacy into action.

As I see it, Ed Walsh’s commitment to the start up and sustainability of the non -profit organization, Access For Opportunity Inc. , is to create a living and working multi -use housing complex for people living with disabilities and their allies. The concept makes sense and is viable.

It is with great pride that I support this organization and the concept. I am proud to align myself and fellow advocates behind this initiative and welcome any opportunity to support the next steps.

All the best,
June C. Sauvageau, CEO
Northeast Independent Living Program Inc.

20 Ballard Road
Lawrence, MA 01843

March 1, 2018

To whom it may concern:

My name is Holly Sundin and I’m writing to illustrate the benefits and need for Access for Opportunity. I’m not only a fellow disabled person but a professional. I’m currently a counselor for an outpatient mental health organization and have previously worked as a service coordinator for an independent living center. Access for Opportunity will fulfill a great need for truly accessible housing to individuals living alone or with family. Accessible housing is very difficult to find for a single individual and even more if that individual has a spouse or family living with them. Individuals should not have to make a choice of accessible housing or living with their families. They should be afforded the opportunity to live with their family in accessible housing. Also there is the factor of what modifications have been made often accessible modifications are made at a bare minimum so as just enough to deem it “accessible.” Individuals with a physical disability usually must adapt enough to their housing situation. Usually it does not entail that not everything is accessible to them. Accessible modifications for many are more than a raised toilet or grab bars in bath tub. Individuals should be able to move about their home and do what they need to do freely without restrictions.

Access for Opportunity will also provide shuttle service to enable individuals to get out in the community regularly. Isolation from friends, family and community is a major issue for individuals with a disability due to the lack of transportation. Isolation leads to depression and in turn affects ones physical health. Connecting with family, friends and other members of the community is integral to an individual’s mental health well being. Very often individuals with a disability live a very isolated life unable to go out in the community and do things that so many take for granted such as going shopping, to the movies or out to eat. Some individuals will go for long periods of time with only seeing their caregiver as any outside contact. As a mental health counselor when seeing clients diagnosed with depression it is advised that they do not keep themselves isolated and they make efforts to become involved with family, friends and community.

Another important service Access for Opportunity will provide is an area for individuals to go to and create or start their own business. Individuals who are productive and feel they are contributing in some way have better self esteem and self worth. This opportunity gives individuals a chance to supplement their limited income and allow them to get the things they need, want or just enjoy.

I feel that Access for Opportunity would be a great benefit for any community. Not only will individuals with a disability benefit but so will the community. In this time of inclusiveness the disabled need to be considered as well.

Holly Sundin