Kernersville, NC -- Starla Torres just wants to go home.
She's spent almost two years in a nursing facility after a major surgery and is now confined to a wheelchair. Torres has finally been cleared to return to her own home, but three small steps are standing in her way. Literally.
She's made the short trip from her condo complex's parking lot to her front door thousands of times, but now that she can't walk, the three steps in between are preventing her from getting back into her own home.
Someone's offered to build a wheelchair ramp around the steps, but no one ever imagined how complicated it would be to make that happen.
"I'm waiting on the homeowners association to OK the ramp," Torres said. "Every month it's been some kind of problem and an excuse [from them]. And I can't come home until they say OK."
Torres is frustrated, but it's not a black-and-white issue. Her HOA wants to help her. But the process to get that done is a long one, and that's a problem for her and her family. Her Medicaid assistance runs out at the end of May and it would cost her $5,000 a month to stay at the nursing home.
There isn't a quick fix, though. The proposed ramp would run through a common area in her condo complex. Since it would impact a public area everyone uses, the HOA board has to approve the construction.
The board's never dealt with anything like this before, according to Chris France, who works for the property's management company, Allied Realty.
So the board asked an attorney to look in to what's legally required, who should keep up maintenance on the ramp if a third-party builds it and who's liable for the insurance if someone gets hurt on it. There are also concerns about drainage, the aesthetics of the complex and the impact the construction will have on everyone else who lives there.
The good news is, it doesn't seem like getting the ramp built is a matter of "if," but "when." France said Wednesday that "it's going to happen." And the attorney who's studying the issue, Steven E. Black, said he hopes to have the answers the board needs in a couple of weeks.
The HOA board meets again the second Monday in May, and board president Joe Wimmer said he hopes everything will be sorted out then.
But that would leave less than two weeks before Torres' Medicaid runs out, so the clock is ticking on a situation that has no quick resolution.
WFMY News 2