Virginia and Carl Washington, lifelong Omaha residents, have been married 53 years. They raised three children in their home in North Omaha’s Monmouth Park neighborhood and they have no intention of moving out anytime soon.
Carl is the founder of the CW Youth Recreation Center located north of downtown Omaha. For nearly 30 years the center has offered boxing and dance lessons to children in the community to keep them engaged in positive activities.
Virginia takes great pride in decorating and maintaining her home as well as writing children’s stories and leading Bible study.
A few years ago, Virginia had her knee replaced. It was her second such surgery in as many years and she spent several months living in a nursing home while she recovered.
“I experienced how sad it is to live in a nursing home. It was a depressing experience,” Virginia said.
Though she recovered enough to move home, Virginia found that the daily necessity of bathing had become a painful experience. She began to dread taking showers and baths. Given her limited mobility, it had become painful and dangerous to climb in and out of her bathtub.
“To think,” reflected Virginia, “that something as simple as taking a bath could hurt so much. But you’ve got to keep your body clean.”
That is where the Nebraska Housing Developers Association (NHDA) was able to assist. Exhausted and fed up by this daily challenge, and fearful that she would need to return to assisted living, Virginia reached out for help and learned about NHDA’s Making Homes Accessible (MHA) program. MHA provides financing to individuals who are below a certain income limit, have a disability, and a need to improve the accessibility of their home.
Beneficiaries receive a loan up to $25,000 that can be used for home modifications, housing rehabilitation, and to address lead based paint hazards.
Virginia and Carl received a walk-in bathtub in their main floor bathroom and got the doorway to the bathroom widened to fit a wheelchair.
Virginia was able to choose her own contractor and found that dealing with NHDA and the program administrator, Amber Marker, was a positive and stress-free experience.
“Dealing with Amber was easy and she always made me feel special,” said Virginia. “She always made me feel comfortable.”
Over the last three years NHDA has funded 10 accessibility rehabs to help owners like Virginia and Carl stay in their homes, in the community, and doing the things they love.
“The thought of being able to get into the tub at the end of the day and take my bath or shower, it’s a joy and a blessing,” said Virginia.
For more information on applying for or referring someone to the Making Homes Accessible program, contact Amber Marker at NHDA at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 402-435-0315 ext. 2.