Rebuild Upstate Celebrates Success of Expedited Ramp Funding & Installation

Rebuild Upstate Celebrates Success of Expedited Ramp Funding & Installation


If you’ve volunteered on a Rebuild Upstate build day with your company or church, you probably spent a day building a ramp.

You arrived on site, made a work plan with your site leader, and got to work. 

At the end of the day, you invited a homeowner to take their first steps on a new ramp

You transformed someone’s ability to live safely in their home in just a few hours. 

Thanks to thousands of volunteers over the last 17 years, that transformation has happened more than 1,000 times. 

Ramps and aging-in-place modifications have immediate and long-term value. Building a ramp can drastically reduce the risk of falls at a home in just one day’s work. In the long term, that ramp means someone has safe access to the community and social systems, like church or visiting family. Ramps don’t just benefit a person with mobility restrictions; they benefit the caretakers and families who serve in a support role for aging loved ones.

Rebuild Upstate traditionally has an abundance of volunteer inquiries for projects like ramps. Staff are already trained and equipped to design ramps. Our team is already building ramps; we want to build more. The barrier to installing more ramps and meeting homeowners’ immediate needs is financial. 

If we can secure more private funding for ramps, we can meet an immediate need for someone faster. 

The average wait time for a Rebuild Upstate program applicant is around 26 months. In April 2022, the Rebuild Upstate team undertook a pilot exploration program to reduce the applicant wait time for ramps. After one year of development and implementation, we’re happy to share an update on what’s to come.

Exploring a solution for expedited ramps had the initial goals:
  1. Build more ramps
  2. Reduce reliance on contract grants for ramps so those funds can be redistributed for other repairs or accessibility modifications
  3. Reducing the wait time for program applicants who need ramps, ensuring quicker deliverability for fall prevention interventions
  4. Increase volunteer opportunities for ramp installation
  5. Provide community organizations with a way to support ramp installations financially
Year 1 Impact by Metrics
  1. Overall ramp installation increased by 68%, totaling 76 in 2023, up from 45 in 2022.
  2. 17 sponsors joined as inaugural ramp and project sponsors, with multiple sponsors volunteering to install a ramp.
  3. $115,099 was raised for ramps, critical repairs, and program management through sponsorships, with the average project sponsorship at $5,481.
Year 2 & Beyond: Establish Continuity for Long-Term Program Integration

Looking ahead, staff will focus on 3 core areas before fully integrating the expedited ramp project into our home repair and accessibility programs.

Programmatic Design & Policies

Shifting toward programmatic design, an accessibility-specific program track will be developed to better serve older adults. Moving participants through the funnel does require updates to our program application and review. Our board of directors approves all prioritization criteria updates. Program evaluation criteria and management policies, such as metal vs lumber ramps and other fall prevention interventions, must be developed before implementing a new program. Designing ramps is the easy part. Ensuring the program is structured for long-term efficiency and sustainability is critical.

Organizational Capacity & Infrastructure

Rebuild Upstate has hired a staff person to oversee ramp design and installation. They are currently onboarding. In addition, there are 3 Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) on staff. 

The program team is currently implementing new project management software. The software will manage repairs and applicant information. This is the primary focus for our team in 2024 so we can ensure program changes are successfully represented. 

Our team has purchased ten metal ramps for short-term and emergency needs, such as if hospice care refers a homeowner for a ramp. We aim to keep ramps in use at homes as often as possible, but the additional metal ramps will require storage space.

Rebuild Upstate has seen overwhelming interest from community organizations, businesses, and churches that want to sponsor projects. We will continue to seek and offer ramp and project sponsorship opportunities for volunteer groups or grant funders.

Homeowner Participant Experience & Communications

There are cases when a homeowner may require a ramp and additional accessibility modifications or critical repairs. If those repairs cannot be completed with available funds during a ramp install, that homeowner needs a clear path within our program processes until additional repairs can be completed. Setting clear expectations within all areas of our program, from application to completion, is critical for the homeowner’s experience. Staff review all homeowner communications, including homeowner agreements and our repair application. 

The team is developing partnerships with case managers and other partners who support aging in place and provide referral training. We welcome introductions to caseworkers, healthcare professionals, or others who want to learn more about making a referral.


Stakeholder Support

Pursuing new ways to ensure we’re meeting the community’s needs isn’t possible without stakeholders willing to share resources to make program updates possible. You can join us by sponsoring repairs today.

Thank you to our inaugural ramp project sponsors: 
  1. AnMed Cannon
  2. Barry Ballew
  3. Blue Ridge Salkehatchie
  4. Brown Haven Homes
  5. Fellowship Greenville
  6. First Presbyterian Church
  7. Fuller Group
  8. General Electric
  9. Grant Haring Group
  10. Leadership Greenville
  11. Long Branch Baptist Church
  12. Mauldin Methodist
  13. NewSpring Church
  14. Piedmont Salkehatchie
  15. SIOR Carolinas
  16. State Farm
  17. Truist

Our team would like to thank Bon Secours for their partnership in funding reusable metal ramps.

Ramp Gallery
Photos feature ramps installed in 2023 from sponsors and volunteers.