Taking people where they need to go
In 1972 Raya Hamilton of Palm Springs and several of her friends founded the Desert Blind Association to help people who were dealing with blindness and low-vision. They explored many different strategies including support groups, counseling, job development and transportation. They quickly discovered that it was transportation that had the largest impact on people with vision loss. If people can’t get to the grocery store then they can’t eat properly. If they can’t get to the doctor then they can’t receive even basic preventative care.
As Desert Blind began to focus on providing primarily transportation to people with vision loss, it became clear that many other disabilities can prevent safe driving. Desert Blind became Desert Blind and Handicapped Association (DBHA) and adjusted its mission to serve anyone that has a disability that makes it unsafe to drive.
In 2020, the Desert Blind and Handicapped Association changed its name to Desert Access and Mobility to bring the organization in line with the its mission to provide access to the most basic of needs and continued mobility for those that would be isolated at home.
Four decades after the first offering of services, transportation is still a critical need for people with disabilities and DBHA is providing thousands of rides each year.
In 2013, the Board of Directors created the Raya Hamilton Community Leadership Award to commemorate Raya’s leadership and legacy of compassion, and to highlight the efforts of one individual each year that has demonstrated a similar commitment and compassion for people with disabilities.
Desert Access and Mobility, a 501(c)(3), through the provision of multiple services, empowers the senior blind, low vision, and/or physically disabled population in the west Coachella Valley to develop
and live independently and to their fullest potential for as long as possible.