Arc Northern Chesapeake Region has 'urgent need' to transport people with special needs

·3 min read

May 2—The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region is hosting its annual After d'Arc Gala, "Passport to Paradise," on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Maryland Golf and Country Club in Bel Air to honor the special needs community and to raise funds for new transportation.

The gala is part of The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region's 70th anniversary celebration, and is the organization's largest fundraiser of the year. However, a key focus for this year's event will be its Fund the Need campaign, according to a news release.

The organization said it has an "urgent need" to raise money to support accessible transportation for residents in Harford and Cecil counties who receive services through The Arc NCR.

The organization has 55 fleet vehicles; 22 are wheelchair accessible and require advanced routine maintenance. Six of the accessible vehicles need to be replaced. The cost per vehicle replacement ranges from $65,000 to $120,000.

"Many of the people with intellectual and/or physical disabilities in the region rely on The Arc NCR for transportation," said a spokesperson for the organization in a statement. "The increased costs to replace vehicles, and the cost for maintenance and gas, have skyrocketed."

Last year, The Arc NCR estimates that it spent more than $245,000 in fuel, insurance and routine maintenance on its fleet of vehicles.

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Without access to transportation, people with disabilities have a greater chance of being unable to find employment opportunities. They also find it more difficult to access health care, education and community engagement activities, according to a news release from the organization.

Not only does this increase the chance that someone with disabilities will be unemployed or of low income, but it also increases the chance for isolation, loneliness, and mental health challenges, the release said.

Some Arc NCR programs have been unable to support people due to a lack of accessible transportation; finding these types of vehicles has become more and more challenging, the release said.

Accessible transportation needs include:

— Wheelchair lift or ramp accommodations;

— Hydraulic/mechanical lift or ramp training and maintenance;

— Transfer tools and body mechanics training;

— Specialized safety belts, fasteners and handrails;

— Specialized driver safety training and emergency preparedness;

— Regular accessible equipment inspections;

— Continual, routine maintenance checks and reporting.

The Arc NCR has provided a breakdown of how donations will help:

— $5,000 — Contributes toward the down payment for or purchase of an accessible vehicle.

— $2,500 — Funds the replacement or purchase of a wheelchair lift for an accessible vehicle.

— $1,500 — Funds the cost of full-service vehicle maintenance, including oil change, spark plugs, coolant, replacing coils, refrigerant, gaskets, brake pad and brake rotor replacements.

— $1,000 — Funds mandated third-party wheelchair lift inspections and state inspections for five vehicles.

— $500 — Funds Department of Transportation mandated training, includes specialized driver safety training and emergency preparedness.

— $250 — Covers costs of interior safety equipment in an accessible vehicle, such as specialized safety belts, fasteners and handrails.

— $100 — Covers the cost of fuel for an accessible bus for the Community Partners Day program for one week.

— $50 — Covers the cost of general preventive maintenance (oil and filter change) of accessible vehicles.

To donate to the Fund the Need campaign, go to To purchase tickets to the gala, visit The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region's website at