Your Donation Removes Barriers

As our fortieth year comes to an end, we reflect on our role in supporting people with disabilities and the communities we serve in Southwest Michigan. Many things have changed for our agency over the past 40 years—our office location, leadership, and name, just to mention a few—but our values have remained the same since we opened our doors in 1981.

We CONNECT people with disabilities to resources to meet their basic needs, gain skills, and remove barriers so that they may live as independently as they choose.

We EDUCATE communities about valuing disability as a diversity issue.

We ADVOCATE for the rights of people with disabilities because we believe that disability rights are civil rights.

Your gift allows us to continue this important work; make a gift today so that we can continue to support people with disabilities and the communities of Southwest Michigan. Please use the donate button below, or scroll to the bottom of the page for other ways to make your donation.

Removing Barriers Leads to Success

Jose is a graduate student at Western Michigan University, enrolled in the Master of Social Work program. He identifies as being blind and is also hard of hearing. Due to circumstances out of his control, Jose found himself houseless. For a period of months he lived in a tent outdoors and then at Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries.

During this time, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing the campus to shut down and classes were moved to an online virtual format. A lack of housing made it difficult for Jose to stay focused on his studies. He couldn’t get a consistent Wi-Fi signal within his living arrangements and opted to spend his days at a local mall to study and attend classes online. Because he is blind, he would rest his eyes while listening to his studies, which caused security at the mall to harass him for “sleeping” there.

Jose desperately needed to find stable housing; this is when he contacted Disability Network Southwest Michigan. Significant barriers to housing for Jose were a prior criminal record from many years ago, a poor credit rating, and a lack of income. Our Information & Referral staff worked with Jose to identify appropriate housing and gather required documentation in order to complete and submit housing applications in the area. During the time we were working with him, Jose’s computer stopped working and we were able to provide him with a new computer tablet through the COVID-CARES Act Fund. Without this, Jose would not have been able to complete his current semester at school.

Jose is now living on his own in a studio apartment. Not only does it provide the stability he needs to focus on school, but now that he has secure housing, he can apply to the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons for financial aid for school. Jose said, “It’s my everything! Having a secure place to live makes all the difference!” Jose was proud to report that even with the upheaval he had experienced in his life, he completed his first semester of grad school with a 3.65 grade point average and is eager to continue his studies.

Removing barriers to allow people with disabilities to reach their independent living goals is one of the things we do at Disability Network. Sometimes that means helping people problem solve their unique situations so that they can get the supports they need to live independently.

We can not do the work we do without your support!

Please consider making a donation to Disability Network Southwest Michigan so that we can continue our mission of educating and connecting people with disabilities to resources while advocating social change. Your financial gift is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you would like more information about gifting options, please contact our Resource Development Director, Kristen Potts at (269) 345-1516 x119.

5 Easy Ways to Give:

Donate Online

Mail your donation to
517 E. Crosstown Pkwy
Kalamazoo, MI 49001

Set up a recurring monthly payment through your bank account

Kalamazoo Community Foundation endowment

A bequest in your will