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Mobility Expo at Pittsburgh MobilityWorks Thursday October 9th

Theme for 2014 "A Salute to the Men and Women of our Armed Services"

MobilityWorks of Pittsburgh will be hosting its annual Mobility Expo, this Thursday, October 9th from 11AM - 7PM. There will be over 20 exhibitors on hand representing a variety of organizations, including: vocational rehabilitation, veterans, advocacy groups, adaptive equipment, driver training programs, home modifications, accessible vans and much more. Enjoy a day of fun and live music performed by The Chain Gang, raffle prizes and food — catered by the Steel City Steakhouse. Valet parking will also be provided.

MobilityWorks of Pittsburgh is located at 1090 Mosside Blvd, Wall PA 15148. CALL 412-824-8091 for information.

Exhibitors List:
Aardvark Adaptive Modifications
Accessible Dreams
Adapt Solutions
Adaptive Driving Program, Center for Assistive Technology
Bayada Home Health Care
B&D Independence , Inc.
Brant's Driving School
CLASS-Community Living and Support Services
Harmar Mobility
Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Keystone Paralyzed Veterans Association
Laurel Medical Supplies
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
REZK Medical Supply
TRCIL Services, Inc.


Housing Grants for Veterans Help Our Injured Military to Purchase Adapted Housing

Self Imposed Limitations & the Benefit of Adaptable Housing Grants

“Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life”

– Emma Thompson

On September 10th Chris Melendez did something he hadn’t done before. Sure, he had his share of double leg takedowns, arm bars and half-nelsons; he had gone over the top rope, pinned opponents and played to the crowd, but he had never done it on live TV. Making his TNA wrestling debut against DJ Zema, Melendez who had been training to be a professional wrestler for the previous 24 months demonstrated to the world the power of dedication and positivity.  In 2004, Melendez enlisted in the Army, three years later; with only 23 days left on his deployment he was severely wounded as a result of an IED explosion. An amputation of his left leg, tendon replacement in his arm and a completely reconstructed jaw could not prevent his aspirations from being realized. Speaking after his first television performance, Melendez said "Wherever I am, I aim to rise to the top and be the best at what I'm doing. Here in TNA, I plan to go straight to the top. I have the same mentality I had in the battlefield, the same mentality I had during my recovery. I'm going to be the best," reminding all of us that limitations are self imposed.

22 million military veterans live in this country, accounting for 10 percent of the total population. 5.5 million of those veterans are living with some form of disability. Since the start of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, of the 3.4 million veterans who suffered a service related disability, 588,000 have a disability rating of 70 percent or greater. Over the past 12 years, the number of service members enduring a disability rating of 70 percent or higher has increased drastically, the common explanation of this is that injuries such as amputations and burns that would have previously resulted in death in previous wars are now often treatable. The disabled veteran population is sizeable; nothing can replace what was lost, but for many in this segment, a disability is not preventing the experience of a full and meaningful life, Chris Melendez exemplifies this.

While not every disabled veteran can become a professional wrestler many can bolster the quality of their lives by becoming homeowners. The VA insured home loan assures this. Offering appealing interest rates, 0 dollars down, relaxed credit guidelines and no private mortgage insurance, this entitlement is incredibly advantageous. Disabled veterans are given special mortgage consideration and are allowed to bypass funding fees. Furthermore, veterans with disabilities may use their disability compensation to qualify for the income requirement.

The VA also offers housing adaptation grants. These allow homes to either be built or remodeled to fit the specific needs of the disabled individual. Numerous housing adaptations can be made, including re-purposed storage space, added stair rails, specialty fixtures (floor showers etc) and ramps just to name a very select few. Even the primary home of a family member can qualify for adaptations if the veteran is intending to make it their permanent address. The SAH grant allows for a maximum of $67,555 to be used while the SHA grant funds up to $13,511.

The sacrifice made by veterans during their service in an effort to protect all of us makes it incumbent upon the country to make sure they are afforded every opportunity to lead rewarding lives as civilians.

Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grants

Eligibility Living Situation Ownership Number of Grants You Can Use
  • Loss of or loss of use of both legs, OR
  • Loss of or loss of use of both arms, OR
  • Blindness in both eyes having only light perception, plus loss of or loss of use of one leg, OR
  • The loss of or loss of use of one lower leg together with residuals of organic disease or injury, OR
  • The loss of or loss of use of one leg together with the loss of or loss of use of one arm, OR
  • Certain severe burns, OR
  • The loss, or loss of use of one or more lower extremities due to service on or after September 11, 2001, which so affects the functions of balance or propulsion as to preclude ambulating without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair
Permanent Home is owned by an eligible individual Maximum of 3 grants, up to the maximum dollar amount allowable

Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant

Eligibility Living Situation Ownership Number of Grants You Can Use
  • Blindness in both eyes with 20/200 visual acuity or less, OR
  • Loss of or loss of use of both hands, OR
  • Certain severe burn injuries, OR
  • Certain severe respiratory injuries
Permanent Home is owned by an eligible individual or family member Maximum of 3 grants, up to the maximum dollar amount allowable

This article was written for MobilityWorks, courtesy of Noah Perkins, CMS, VA Home Loan Centers

About VA Loans

In 1944 Congress created the VA Loan program to help returning war veterans achieve the dream of home ownership. Since then, the Department of Veterans Affairs has helped more than 18 million military members purchase homes.

VA loan programs are available to eligible veterans for the purchase of a home. VA loans are particularly beneficial to those veterans that do not have much cash available. VA guidelines allow higher front-end and debt ratios compared to other loan programs and it’s easier to qualify for. The Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees mortgages originated by VA Home Loan Centers.

Note: VA Home Loan Centers is not a governmental agency.


Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

NDEAM theme for 2014 is "Expect. Employ. Empower."

MobilityWorks proudly recognizes October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, with all of our vendors and affiliated organizations encouraged to participate.

The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. One of the many joys we have as an organization is with helping people to get back their independence and to be able to continue working following a debilitating illness or injury through the use of our mobility products – such as wheelchair vans and hand controls.

Held annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. It’s true spirit, however, lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year.

We can all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities — every day of every month. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM. For specific ideas about how employers can support National Disability Employment Awareness Month, visit the ODEP website at You can download the NDEAM 11 x 17 poster here.

Origins of NDEAM:

National Disability Employment Awareness Month dates back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities.


Make-A-Wish Helps Family Receive a Van

Thanks so much to Make-A-Wish of Chicago for helping this local Marengo Illinois family with an accessible van. This smiling little girl who is on a ventilator suffers from a seizure disorder. With three growing boys and their disabled daughter it became impossible for the family to go anywhere. The father works three jobs and the mother stays at home as a full-time caregiver for their daughter.

Their wish was to make things a little easier and safer for their little girl. Their current minivan was not accessible and had well over 200,000 miles on it. Make-A-Wish began a three month process to try and grant this wish for them.

This weekend their wish came true! Not only did they receive a much easier way to transport their daughter, the family now has safe mobility. Make a Wish of Chicago, MobilityWorks of Plainfield and local vendors brought cake, pizza and gifts for the boys.

Thanks also to all the neighbors and friends that came and celebrated the delivery of the new van.

MobilityWorks is proud to work with great people to find the perfect solution for families like these.



Beyond Boundaries Program

MobilityWorks Supports the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Illinois’ Beyond Boundaries Program

The Beyond Boundaries Outdoor Adventure Program is a progressive recreational program offered by Adaptive Adventures and the Spinal Cord Injury Association of Illinois. The program consists of three days and two nights of activities that bring together individuals with spinal cord injuries.

Beyond Boundaries utilizes camping, hiking, cycling, kayaking, rock climbing, and other outdoor activities as tools to promote exercise, learning and socializing with peers.

Athletes with spinal cord injuries use standard equipment as well as specialized gear and techniques adapted for each activity. Able-bodied participants are also given the chance to try the adapted techniques in order to gain a better understanding of the challenges involved and to demonstrate the "abilities", rather than the "disabilities", of the participants.

MobilityWorks was proud to be a part of a recent Beyond Boundaries camp outing in Savannah, IL.