More than 26% of persons aged 60 years and older in New Mexico have difficulty walking or climbing stairs. Further, 10% of New Mexicans aged 18 years and older and with a disability have an ambulatory difficulty; this percentage is higher than the national percentage (8%). New Mexico is ranked 5th highest among U.S. states for poverty rate (24%) for persons with disabilities. These vulnerable New Mexicans face geographic, economic, language, and cultural barriers in accessing the resources – such as residential accessibility ramps – they need to remain safely in their own homes. In response, ALTSD is committed to provide help.
In 2020, New Mexico State House Bill 225 was signed into law. HB225 established the Kiki Saavedra Senior Dignity Fund, a crucial investment in improving and delivering high-priority services for seniors across New Mexico. The legislation is named in honor of the late state Rep. Kiki Saavedra, and ALTSD manages and appropriates monies from the fund. ALTSD is proud to use monies from the Kiki Saavedra Senior Dignity Fund to support our partner, the New Mexico Ramp Project. The New Mexico Ramp Project is a charitable nonprofit that provides free ramps for older adults and persons with mobility issues across New Mexico. As partners, we are effectively using monies from the Kiki Saavedra fund to empower those with ambulatory disabilities and help older New Mexicans “age in place”.