Disabled city residents to get help with trash pickupWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledoans who need help maneuvering their trash and recycling bins to the curb can now formally request assistance.
The Solid Waste Accommodation Program (SWAP), which was announced during a news conference Jan. 20, is a collaboration between the Lucas County Commissioners, Republic Services and the Toledo-Lucas County Commission on Disabilities. It has been reviewed by the Department of Justice and meets all requirements established by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
To request assistance, call Republic Services at (419) 936-2511. Applicants will be sent a request form after which a supervisor from Republic will visit their homes to determine customized solutions.
The announcement expands and formalizes an informal referral program initiated by the City of Toledo with Triad Residential Solutions, an assisted living organization for developmentally disabled individuals. The informal arrangement was continued by Republic Services after the company took over waste collection in the city.
Other Lucas County municipalities served by Republic already have contractual arrangements for services, said Paul Rasmusson, senior area manager for municipal services with Republic Services.
There are currently 121 Toledo residents who receive help with trash collection from Triad, said said Hillary Moore, the organization’s adult day service coordinator. Most are elderly; others have disabilities. Short-term and long-term plans are available. Six new people were added just this week, she said.
The work is performed by three minimum-wage employees with developmental disabilities along with their job coach, Moore said.
“It’s a win-win,” Moore said. “They enjoy being out working and the elderly enjoy having them. For all the headache and pain and cost it can be, it’s a great service to the community and it’s good for them to be helping others.”
Currently the service is provided by Triad at no cost and that’s not expected to change, Rasmusson said.
“We’ve left it very wide open because we don’t know if we’re going to get much growth,” Rasmusson said. “When there’s been some exposure in the media prior to this, we’ve seen a few more inquiries, but honestly our numbers have not changed since the day we took over. I didn’t even want to give the commissioners a number. I spoke of a variable and a fixed. Beyond that I don’t want to start charging. [But] call me in a month.”
Moore said Triad is happy to help, but she’s hoping some funding might be arranged in the future to help cover gas and wages.
Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken said an amendment to the county’s contract with Republic Services would allow the service to be funded up to $25,000 if needed.
Tim Harrington and Ernie Brancheau, both Toledo-Lucas County Commission on Disabilities members, praised the announcement.
“It’s a good day for everyone involved,” said Harrington, who is executive director of The Ability Center of Greater Toledo.
Prior to the switch to the large wheeled containers, individuals were able to put plastic garbage bags on the curb or use their own smaller garbage containers, Harrington said.
Brancheau, who uses a wheelchair, said his neighbor takes his garbage and recycling to the curb and he doesn’t plan to change that arrangement, but wanted to make sure others get the help they need.
“We needed to make the system more accessible for those with disabilities,” Brancheau said. “We have people out there who don’t have the resources, don’t have the neighbors they can trust or they are too stubborn and don’t want to ask for help. I think it’s going to be a really good service.”
Gerken said he knows there are more residents who need help.
“What that number is we don’t know yet. But we know there is more,” he said. “We were doing it, but we need to do better and we’re poised to do better.”