Staff Report, The City Sentinel
LIFT — The Legacy Impact Foundation Team – was created to address a growing need for Affordable Accessible Housing.
Willis Washington II is the Executive Director for LIFT, based in Oklahoma City. He was injured in a motorcycle accident nine years ago and paralyzed from the waist down. Now limited to using a wheelchair to get around daily, Washington understands firsthand the need for more Affordable Accessible Housing.
As Washington recalls, “After looking for housing for myself, I discovered that locations I liked and felt safe I could not afford. The areas I could afford I didn’t feel safe and in most cases I felt like a target.” In the midst of this frustration, Washington thought to himself that someone should do something about this – after leaving an apartment complex that was not realistically affordable for him. He continues:
“As I continued to drive home disappointed and frustrated with my new reality. I realized that with my past background in home remodeling, and repairing of rental properties owned by my grandparents, and parents; that ‘somebody is me!’”
This epiphany led Washington to create LIFT. The primary purpose of LIFT will be to provide Affordable Accessible Housing through remodeling and building.
He says, “I plan to partner with other home investors, builders, developers, architects, Oklahoma State & City Home Builders Associations to accomplish this goal. In the future I hope to team up with and establish a working relationship with Habitat for Humanity, Positively Paseo, Community Action Agency of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, Oklahoma Affordable Housing Coalition, Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, and Oklahoma Fair Housing Council of Oklahoma.”
Washington works out regularly at the Santa Fe Family Life Center located at 6300 N Santa Fe Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73118.
On August 24 & 25 (10 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day) at Santa Fe, he will host his first official fundraising kick-off. It’s a 3 on 3 wheelchair basketball event to raise money for his housing program. Washington says “it’s about inclusion and not exclusion because of my disability.”
With just weeks before the launch, he said, “I am looking for sponsors as well as participants to make this a successful event. We hope to have as many able body individuals as disabled. This brief interaction will be the starting point for many people to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to live life with a disability.”
Washington owns A-Daptive Solutions and Consulting LLC and provides ADA Assessments for Accessibility, and ADA Compliance. Washington is working with Jack Werner’s “A to Z Inspections “on some residential and commercial inspections.
Washington says, “In the future I would like to teach some continuing education classes to raise more awareness about the growing need for Affordable Accessible Housing and access to public places.”
If you are interested in this event and would like more information about this innovative effort and the emerging LIFT Foundation, please contact Willis Washington via email at [email protected]. Visit his website at www.liftlives.org.
NOTE: Publisher Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.