Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

National Bullying Prevention Month is a nationwide campaign founded in 2006 by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. The campaign is held during the month of October and unites communities around the world to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. This campaign has grown from an initial week-long event to a worldwide effort with thousands of individuals participating in multiple activities throughout October.

Hundreds of schools, major corporations, and many celebrities have joined the movement. Take action and show that you care about kids being safe at school, while online, and in the community.

YouTube published by pacercenter

Animated video created from student drawings and writing, brought to life with the voices of youth. It poignantly provides insight into how painful bullying can feel, but also touchingly shows that kids want it to stop and want to be part of the solution.

Show Your Support

There are many ways to support bullying prevention as an individual or with friends and family, and within your school or community.

Visit PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center for resources, information, and more:

Unity Day 2017, October 25! Wear and Share Orange!

ORANGE provides a powerful, visually compelling expression of solidarity,” said Paula Goldberg, Executive Director of PACER Center. “When hundreds of individuals in a school or organization wear orange, the vibrant statement becomes a conversation starter, sending the unified message to kids to know that they are not alone.”
Order your official T-shirt!
Show that you are contributing to a kinder, more inclusive and accepting world.
This one-of-a-kind shirt is only available during September and October 2017. Order soon so that you can wear orange during National Bullying Prevention Month, Unity Day and all year long. Proceeds will benefit PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center so that we can continue to prevent bullying and promote kindness, inclusion, and acceptance in our schools, communities, and the world! #orangetogether Order your T-shirt today 

Source: PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center

Chicago Police Alert: Suspect Violently Robbed Elderly Man at Chicago CTA Stop

SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - Police are searching for a suspect (photo) who violently robbed an elderly man of his cellphone Monday night on a Brown Line platform in the Loop.
About 9:35 p.m., the 81-year-old was riding a Brown Line train as it approached the Washington/Wabash station at 29 N. Wabash Ave., according to an alert from Chicago Police. As the train’s doors opened at the station, the suspect ripped the man’s cellphone from his hands, and an ensuing struggle caused the man to tumble down a staircase on the platform.
The man suffered a laceration to his right temple, bleeding on the brain, abrasions, bruising and swelling to his hands and knees, police said. He was admitted to an intensive care unit for further observation.
The suspect is described as a black man, thought to be between 19 and 25 years old, standing between 5-foot-4 and 5-foot-7 with a dark brown complexion, police said. He was seen in surveillance footage wearing a black durag, a black Calvin Klein t-shirt, gray pants and a red backpack.
Anyone with information should call Area Central detectives at (312) 747-8384.
POSTED: OCT 18 2017 03:58PM CDT

Illinois Gov. Rauner (R) Cuts Human Services Programs Statewide in 20180State Budget

Illinois - Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration has identified millions of dollars of cuts it will make to the new state budget, including to human services, agriculture programs and transportation.

article by Doug Finke for The State-Journal Register | Oct. 17, 2017                                   
Even then, the administration says the budget remains $1.5 billion out of balance, which will require further reductions.

The cuts were outlined in materials provided to the four legislative caucuses by Rauner’s budget office.

Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, the lead budget negotiator for House Democrats, said the cuts included $89 million to various human services programs, including autism services, after school programming and immigrant and refugee services.
“He has the authority, I understand that,” Harris said. “If you look at the human service programs, it is the same vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities and children that he has consistently targeted year after year despite the legislature continually trying to restore the funds. Those are his regular targets.”
Rauner spokeswoman Patty Schuh said the governor was forced to make reductions.

“The governor received a budget $1.7 billion out of balance and has to take action where possible to begin reducing that structural imbalance,” she said.

Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who chairs one of the Senate appropriations committees, said she hasn’t had a chance to fully review all of the cuts and fully determine their effect. She said her initial review is that the administration did not gut programs that have traditionally been targeted in the administration’s budget proposals.
"I believe they worked to preserve those greatly, and that’s about 95 percent (funding level),” Steans said. “I certainly appreciate they’re not just going in and cutting those willy-nilly. ... They may have made some reductions, but primarily they were keeping all of those programs and not just going to zero on them.”
In addition to the human services cuts, the administration outlined $85 million in cuts to the Illinois Department of Transportation, $41 million to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and $21 million to the Department of Agriculture.

Harris said cuts were made to soil and water conservation districts, cooperative extension, county fair assistance, business development and tourism grants. He also said there are 5 percent reductions to para-transit and senior citizen reduced fares, as well as cuts to operations at IDOT.

Although the legislature approved the budget in early July, it only authorizes the governor to spend money on programs up to a certain limit.

“The legislature appropriates and the governor spends,” Steans said. “It is certainly within their legal authority not to spend everything we appropriate.”

Rauner has repeatedly said the budget approved by lawmakers contains a $1.7 billion deficit, despite an income tax increase passed to help cover state expenses. In an Economic and Fiscal Policy Report filed with the General Assembly last week, the administration said it had identified “approximately $150 million in general funds deficit spending reductions to decrease the deficit to $1.5 billion.”

Rauner has said he wants to work with lawmakers to find additional savings to bring the budget into balance. House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, sent a letter to Rauner saying he had appointed a working group headed by Harris to work with the administration on budget issues.

“There’s been no response to that that I know of,” Harris said.

Vermont Private School Group Offers New Plan for Special Education

Independent private schools in Vermont say they have a new plan to accept more special education students.

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Independent private schools in Vermont say they have a new plan to accept more special education students.

A new draft plan released by the Vermont Independent Schools Association says they want the student's home school district to pay for all costs associated with special education.

Vermont Public Radio reports the State Board of Education said last year it was going to require independent schools to accept all special education students — which led to a debate between the state and private schools over costs.

Approved Independent Schools Study Committee member Seth Bongartz says if independent schools can access the same special education services and funding as public schools, then the students would be welcomed at the private institutions.
Information from: WVPS-FM, http://www.vpr.net
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribute

Rural Transportation for Passengers with Chronic Care Conditions, resource info

National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) recently released a new brief titled Rural Best Practice: Transportation for Individuals with Chronic Care Conditions. The publication looks at how Mountain Empire Older Citizens Area Agency on Aging in southwestern Virginia provides demand-response transportation and assistance, including door-to-door, door-through-door, and on-board assistance. MEOC has both paid and volunteer transportation aides. A community care coordinator staffs a one-call center for customers needing transportation and other services (e.g. meals or in-home assistance).

 Download a copy of the resource to get the details on how MEOC makes this all work to provide the best in transportation assistance.

Learn more about Mountain Empire's programs at their website, www.meoc.org.

Do you have an agency best practice you'd like to share with NADTC? We'd like to share more practices in the NADTC blog. Email us at contact@nadtc.org or call (866) 983-3222.

Photo credit: Mountain Empire Older Citizens Area Agency on Aging
source NADTC press release 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tell Your U.S. Senators to Vote No on the 2018 Budget - Online Action Link

The National Disability Rights Network has shared a easy action link to contact your U.S. Senator, the following info is shared from our colleagues. - Jim W.
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The Senate is currently working on the 2018 Budget and everything we're hearing is bad news for people with disabilities.

It's time to take action. Click here to contact your Senators and tell them to VOTE NO on the 2018 Budget.

Here are some of the details: The 2018 budget paves the way for massive tax cuts that are heavily tilted towards the super rich and wealthy corporations. If adopted, the budget is projected to lose trillions of dollars in revenue which will put tremendous pressure to cut many critical programs down the road.

Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, education, housing, and many more programs will ultimately be at even greater risk. And that is terrible news for people with disabilities who rely on these programs to live and work in the community and participate fully in the American Dream.

Help us stop this awful budget. Contact your Senators right now.

National Disability Rights Network
820 First Street, NE, Suite 740 ♦ Washington, DC 20002

GSA Interagency Forum on Section 508 Standards on Accessibility Information Communication Technology (ICT)

 David Capozzi speaking at GSA forum
 David Capozzi
Oct. 17, 2017 - The General Services Administration (GSA) held an interagency forum on accessibility to information and communication technology (ICT) on October 13 at its national headquarters in Washington, D.C. The full-day event focused on the refreshed Section 508 Standards issued by the U.S. Access Board in January which apply to ICT procured, developed, maintained, or used by federal agencies. The Access Board and several other agencies partnered with GSA in conducting the event, including the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security. It attracted over 350 attendees from government, industry, and advocacy.

The day started off with welcoming remarks from Dominic Sale, Deputy Associate Administrator for GSA's Office of Information, Integrity & Access and a keynote address by Access Board Executive Director David Capozzi.

"Although section 508 only applies to the federal government, its impact has been felt in state governments, the private sector, and around the world," Capozzi noted. "Last year, the U.S. government spent about $80 billion on ICT; when you can harness that purchasing power to drive accessibility, progress is bound to happen."

Capozzi recounted the history of Section 508 and called attention to its global effects. "The European Union now has a new set of ICT accessibility standards – modeled after our updated section 508 standards; Australia is using public procurement to drive accessible technology; and, Canada is developing a new law that will address public procurement of ICT as well," he stated. "The world is paying attention to what we do here."

The forum featured a series of workshops organized into tracks on ICT development, agency policy, and the revised 508 Standards. Representatives from the Access Board and other agencies conducted the sessions which addressed different aspects of Section 508 and the standards, including major changes in the updated standards, how the standards apply to federal acquisitions, IT development contracts and the IT lifecycle, revisions to federal agency Section 508 policies, testing methods and other topics. The event also provided an opportunity to publicize new tools and resources, including a "Toolkit" on the revised 508 standards developed by an interagency transition team and the Information Technology Industry Council's recent release of an updated Voluntary Product Accessibility Template which businesses can use to document product conformance with the revised standards.

For further information on the Section 508 Standards, visit the U.S. Access Board's website and GSA's section508.gov website. 

Action Alert! Urge Your U.S. Senators to Vote NO on the 2018 U.S. Senate Budget

A Action Alert has been shared by our colleges at American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) on the U. S . Budget, and the effects on people with disabilities, as well so many Americans. Please Share take action as outlined below, and feel free to share. - Jim W.
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This year’s budget process is very important because it is the first step in developing legislation that can be very harmful to people with disabilities. House and Senate Budgets set overall spending and revenue targets for the next 10 years. The real purpose of this year’s budgets is to set the stage for a massive tax cut bill by the end of the year.

The House recently passed its Budget; the Senate will be voting on its version this week. The Senate Budget allows for up to $1.5 trillion to be added to the deficit. If resulting tax cut legislation exceeds this amount, then any amount over that could come from cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and many other programs that are critical for people with disabilities. The Senate Budget assumes some $5 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, as well as optimistic projections of economic growth, to make up for lost tax revenue. Learn more here.

While the tax cut legislation that would result from both chambers passing a joint Budget is still unknown, the tax plan framework released last month indicates that its benefits are heavily tilted towards wealthy individuals and corporations. If the House and Senate are able to pass a joint budget, it would allow for legislation that is easy to pass since it only needs a simple majority (51) in the Senate (using reconciliation).

Take Action

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the 2018 Budget Resolution this week. Call your Senators today. Call the Capitol Switchboard number 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators.

What to Say:

  • I am a supporter of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).
  • Please vote NO on the 2018 Senate Budget Resolution.
  • This budget starts the process for tax cuts that we cannot afford and that will go mainly to the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.
  • It could also pave the way for cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, and other critical programs for people with disabilities to help pay for these tax cuts.
  • Tax reform should be done through the regular and bipartisan process, hearing from experts and all stakeholders, marking up in committees, and debating in the House and Senate.
  • Tax cuts should benefits all citizens and should not be made by cutting programs that support people with disabilities and other low income individuals in the community.
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October 17, 2017This alert was developed from content provided by the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD).

Attorney in Wheelchair Sues NYC For $1M Over Courthouse Accessibility

Attorney Caner Demiriyak
Oct. 16, 2017 - A wheelchair-bound lawyer has filed a $1 million suit against the city, claiming they’ve failed miserably in making a Brooklyn courthouse accessible to him and others with limited mobility.

article by By Reuven Fenton, Larry Celona and Emily Saul for the New York Post                     
“You can’t get around,” said the 29-year-old, who’s been using his wheelchair for 11 years.Personal injury lawyer Caner Demirayak, who​ has Muscular ​d​ystrophy, told The Post he has trouble mane​u​vering ​around ​Brooklyn Civil Court​ ​–​ ​where he spends most of his work days.

“You try to conference a case with the judge, you can’t get up to the conference room. The judge says, ‘It’s OK, you don’t have to come up,’ or, ‘You’re not included.’”

Demirayak, 29, said his anger started boiling over ​in August, when he wanted to ​sit in on a trial at the courthouse, located in downtown Brooklyn at​ 360 Adams St.

Yet he wasn’t able to make it into the courtroom. The Long Island man said court officers essentially told him “tough luck,” and walked away.

“Ironically, several weeks later I got a case in front of a judge in that courtroom,” he said, and the court staff were forced to shuffle to accommodate him.

Demirayak said he and his chair can only maneuver within two courtrooms in the entire building.

“There’s no space,” he said of the courtrooms. “They have to move tables and furniture out of your way. If you have a wheelchair bigger than mine — I have the smallest one, 24 inches -​-​ you would never, ever fit in.

​”​You go to the table where you want to have a trial, you can’t even go near it because there’s no legroom underneath. They have the barriers under the old-school tables that aren’t supposed to
be there. You try to wiggle around the courtroom, trying to point at pictures, trying to talk to the jury and it’s so limited. It looks ridiculous.”

​Adding insult to injury, not a single stall in the entire building will fit his wheelchair​ ​–​ ​meaning he has to choose between ignoring the call of nature for the whole day, or having zero privacy.

“They have signs all over the court saying, ‘This bathroom is accessible.’ You go inside, it’s not accessible. They tell you you can go to the second floor, you can go to the third floor. And I’m trying to pick a jury and I don’t have time to kill. But I’ll go to those floors anyway and it’s either not an accessible bathroom or it’s out of order. So I’m in court all day and I can’t use the bathroom.”

“It’s humiliating and frustrating, and a little embarrassing,” Demirayak said of the entire ordeal. “People are only disabled to the extent that the world around them doesn’t allow them them to do things. If everything is accessible, you’re not really disabled.”

Since he filed​ suit, the lawyer says he’s learned an advisory committee ​has been impaneled on ​disability ​access.

“The city is committed to ensuring we all have equal access to public spaces,” a ​city ​Law Department spokesman said. “We will review the complaint and respond accordingly.”

Mental Health Bill Undermines Disability Rights in Mexico

Parliament Commission Should Consult Disability Community, Revise Bill
Mexico City – Mexico’s Congressional Mental Health and Drug Commission is considering a national mental health bill that proposes to improve mental health services for all in Mexico but would seriously jeopardize the rights of people with disabilities, Human Rights Watch said today.

Article from Human Rights Watch | October 17, 2017                                                            
In a letter sent on October 16, 2017, to the Commission on Health and Drugs in the Chamber of Deputies, Human Rights Watch urged the commission to reject the bill in its current form. The commission should revise the bill to reflect a human rights-oriented framework, based on consultations with organizations representing people with disabilities and disability rights experts. The final bill should ensure the right to mental health for all in Mexico on an equal basis, without resort to forced treatment, and be consistent with Mexico’s laudable international commitments to the rights of persons with disabilities.

“The bill before the commission unfortunately reflects a discredited approach to mental health, focusing on forced medical treatment instead of on the consent, autonomy, and rights of those in need of mental health services,” said Carlos RĂ­os Espinosa, senior researcher and advocate for disability rights at Human Rights Watch. “The bill is inconsistent with Mexico’s human rights obligations, in particular the right to consent to or refuse treatment, which is an integral aspect of the right to health.”

Mexico was an early champion of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), signing the treaty when it was first opened and becoming a full party to the CRPD in 2007. The Mexican government has the opportunity with this new law to incorporate the standards of the CRPD into domestic law and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. It should follow the example of other countries and international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, that are developing new mental health policies that respect the rights of people with disabilities and emphasize people’s right to choose and to govern their own lives. In particular, it should act on the recommendations to it from the CRPD Committee to:
  • Eliminate security measures that mandate medical and psychiatric inpatient treatment and promote alternatives that comply with articles 14 and 19 of the Convention;
  • Repeal legislation permitting detention on grounds of disability and ensure that all mental health services are provided based on the free and informed consent of the person concerned.
The current bill would still allow people to be locked up against their will on the basis that they had a diagnosed disability, Human Rights Watch said But UN experts on health and torture and the UN expert body on disability rights have emphasized that forced treatment and other nonconsensual invasive measures, including involuntary admission to psychiatric hospitals for medical treatment, should be ended.

The bill would provide broad authority for medical and judicial authorities to find that people labeled as having “mental disorders” do not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves. In such circumstances, the bill authorizes involuntary hospitalization and treatment without the person’s consent. Under human rights norms, people with disabilities may not be detained on the basis of their disability, and may only be detained, on an equal basis with others, if they engage in behavior that constitutes grounds for detention for everyone under the law.

Among other worrisome elements, the bill allows the solitary confinement of and use of physical restraints on people with “mental disorders,” which experts agree can constitute torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.
“It is commendable that the commission is devoting time and effort to enhance the right to health for all Mexicans, but it’s all the more important for them to get it right,” Rios Espinosa said. “The commission should create a framework for health services that respects the right to informed consent, whether you have a disability or not.”

For more from the "Human Rights Watch": https://www.hrw.org/

Invisible Disabilities Week, Oct. 15-21, 2017

People often ask what the term invisible disability means. To define invisible disability in simple terms is a physical, mental or neurological condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities that is invisible to the onlooker. Unfortunately the very fact that these symptoms are invisible, can lead to misunderstandings, false perceptions and judgments.

Together we can bring awareness, education and support to your neighborhood and around the world during Invisible Disabilities Week Oct 15th – 21st, 2017.

For more on 2017 Invisible Disabilities Week: CLICK HERE
The Invisible Disabilities Week is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Invite your friends, family, medical teams, groups and pages. Tell others about Invisible Disabilities Week!

Invisible Disabilities Week (IDW) is Hosted by the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA). IDW was Founded by IDA in 2014.

Source: Invisible Disabilities Association

Monday, October 16, 2017

Illinois Legislators Rated on Support for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services for Developmental Disabilities

   Springfield, Illinois - September, 2016 - Illinois Parents of Adults with Developmental Disabilities (IPADD) has released its first scorecard for Illinois legislators, believing it to be the first disability-specific legislative report published in the state.

The scorecard, titled ICLR (Illinois Community Living Report), analyzed ten bills from the 2016 Spring Session of the Illinois 99th General Assembly. Bills were chosen for their potential to help or hinder Illinois citizens with developmental disabilities access more included lives in their homes and communities. Rep. Carol Ammons, Rep. Will Guzzardi, and Rep. Elaine Nekritz achieved a perfect score of 100% on the scorecard. All three representatives have received IPADD’s “Community Living Advocate Award.”
“We are grateful to Reps. Ammons, Guzzardi, and Nekritz for having the courage to support good policy which directly impacts the lives of Illinois citizens with developmental disabilities,” said Deb Hamilton, IPADD’s Legislative Affairs Director. Hamilton added: “The scorecard also reveals a disappointing level of engagement by many of the top leaders, including Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan, who each scored only 50% on the report. This is nothing short of negligence and that type of policy neglect will no longer go unscrutinized by the public.”
IPADD believes "every person with a developmental disability, supported appropriately, can live a safe, meaningful, and connected life in their home community. The group outlines three key goals for Illinois government, which include:

1."Commit immediately to raising the state fiscal investment in Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) from our current rank of 46th in the nation...

2.Shorten, and eventually eliminate, the PUNS (Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services) waiting list...

3.Make equitable rate adjustments for community services across regions, settings, and HCBS waivers..."

Download Illinois Community Living Report (PDF)
Read article on NPR Illinois and listen to interview with Deb Hamilton.
IPADD was co-founded in 2006 by Laurie Jerue and Ellen Garber Bronfeld, both mothers of adults with a developmental disability. IPADD has since grown to more than 1,500 members. From the beginning, the organization has been grounded in the philosophy that every person with a developmental disability can lead safe, meaningful, and connected lives in their community.
source: IPADD press release

Autistic Self Advocacy Network Condemns New Attacks On The Affordable Care Act

Press Release - Oct 16, 2017 - The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) condemns the multiple new attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from the Trump administration in the past 24 hours. These attacks undermine our health care system, will raise costs for everyone, and threaten the lives of people with disabilities. ASAN calls on Congress to step up to the plate and exercise real leadership by passing a bipartisan bill that will restore funding for Cost Sharing Reductions, protect and fully fund Open Enrollment, and shield the American people from future attacks on our health care. 

The recent actions from the White House hurt our country in multiple ways. The executive order signed yesterday threatens critical protections for people with disabilities by making it easier for insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. It also allows insurers to sell junk coverage that doesn’t cover critical services and won’t protect consumers from soaring health care costs. In addition, last night’s decision to withhold funding for Cost Sharing Reductions will raise costs for everyone, but particularly for working- and middle-class Americans who rely on this basic assistance to afford health insurance. These actions will directly harm millions of people and are without justification.

The American people have clearly and repeatedly rejected these kinds of proposal over the past nine months. As ASAN has stated in the past, any future attempts at health care reform must meet the needs of all Americans, leave the Medicaid program intact, and proactively include the disability community from the beginning of the process. ASAN calls on the Trump administration to listen to the voices of everyday Americans, stop the attacks on our health care, and support a bipartisan process in Congress. Our government must work to develop thoughtful and carefully considered proposals that make healthcare better for everyone and increase access to quality, affordable coverage rather than endangering the lives of people with disabilities.

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN was created to serve as a national grassroots disability rights organization for the autistic community run by and for autistic Americans, advocating for systems change and ensuring that the voices of autistic people are heard in policy debates and the halls of power. Our staff work to educate communities, support self-advocacy in all its forms, and improve public perceptions of autism. ASAN’s members and supporters include autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends.
source: press release 

2018 Housing Policy Forum: Building the Movement, National Low Income Housing Coalition - March 19-21 - RSVP

Oct 2017 - Register for NLIHC’s 2018 Housing Policy Forum: Building the Movement. The Forum, taking place in Washington, DC, March 19-21, 2018, will provide opportunities to engage with affordable housing advocates, thought-leaders, policy experts, researchers, housing providers, low income residents, and leaders from Capitol Hill and the administration about building the affordable housing movement in 2018 and beyond.
The Policy Forum will explore the state of fair housing on the fiftieth anniversary of the Fair Housing Act; threats and opportunities for affordable housing in 2018 and beyond; the keys to resident-led organizing; successful state and local organizing; making housing an issue with the media; and effective story-telling for affordable housing.  The forum will also feature sessions on a national campaign to expand the affordable housing movement with non-traditional allies; non-partisan voter registration, engagement and mobilization prior to the 2018 elections; getting candidates for public office to address affordable housing in their campaigns; using dynamic research to change the story and influence policy solutions; housing the formerly incarcerated; and others. There will also be opportunities to engage with leaders and staff at HUD and in Congress on affordable housing challenges, solutions and priorities.
The 2018 Housing Leadership Award honorees, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Matt Desmond, and Lisa Hasegawa, will be recognized for their contributions to affordable housing at NLIHC’s annual Housing Leadership Reception on the evening of March 20.
The NLIHC 2017 Housing Policy Forum and Leadership Reception will take place at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington DC.  Register for the Forum at: http://bit.ly/2yjjTZK
A limited number of shared-lodging hotel scholarships will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis to low income residents who are NLIHC members and who pay their own Forum registration fee (“self-pay participants”). Scholarships will be awarded to ensure a broad geographic distribution. To apply for a scholarship, send an email expressing interest to: jsaucedo@nlihc.org 
source: press release

Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Sued by EEOC for Disability Discrimination

Commercial Real Estate Firm Rescinded Job Offer After Applicant Disclosed Her PTSD and Requested an Accommodation, Federal Agency Charges
Oct. 11, 2017 - The Atlanta office of a commercial real estate and investment management company headquartered in Chicago violated federal law by discriminating against a job applicant because of her disability, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. (JLL), violated federal law when it rescinded a job offer to a development and asset strategy production support analyst position in April 2016 after the applicant disclosed her diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and requested to work remotely once per week to attend medical appointments related to her disability. Prior to learning of her disability, JLL informed the applicant numerous times during its interview process that it offered flexible work arrangements and schedules. However, once it learned that the applicant suffered from PTSD and sought to work remotely one day per week as an accommodation for her disability, JLL quickly rescinded its job offer, the EEOC said. The applicant withdrew her accommodation request after being notified that the offer had been rescinded, but JLL refused to reconsider its decision.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:17-CV-4017-ELR-JSA) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settle­ment through its conciliation process. The federal agency seeks back pay, and compensatory and punitive damages for the applicant, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination in the future.
"An employer cannot refuse to hire an employee because that person has a disability or because she sought a reasonable accommodation," said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC's Atlanta District Office. "The employee here disclosed her disability, but instead of accommodating her, the employer rescinded its job offer. This is unlawful, and the EEOC is here to stand up for the victims of such prac­tices."
Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, added, "The disclosure of a disability by an employee or applicant requires a certain level of trust that the employer will not use it against her. Unfortunately, that is precisely what happened in this case. This is why the law protects people with disabilities who exercise their legal rights." 
Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women, and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission's Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The Atlanta District Office of the EEOC oversees Georgia and parts of South Carolina.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.  Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.
source: press release

Survey on Identifying Unmet Wheelchair Related Needs and the Future of Mobility Technology

The Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) at the University of Pittsburgh is conducting a research study to collect information from individuals that use mobility related assistive technology.

This is a research study to collect information from individuals that use mobility related assistive technology to see whether the issues that HERL thinks are important are also important to you.

The study involves a short questionnaire which will ask you about your disability and the types of assistive mobility devices that you use. The survey will also ask you to share your thoughts about technologies that may be available in the future. Finally, some general questions about you such as your gender, ethnicity and the type of community setting in which you live.

Survey for Blind 'Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals' (DACA) Participants

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is seeking to learn more about how the Administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will impact blind individuals in the United States. They are collecting survey responses from DACA participants (survey available in English and Spanish).

CLICK HERE Survey for Blind DACA Participants

The National Federation of the Blind will not share individual DREAMer stories or personally identifiable information with Members of Congress, administration officials, or other relevant stakeholder organizations without your prior written consent.

source: NFB press release

Health Insurance 2018 Open Enrollment (OE) begins on November 1, 2017 End Date Vary by State

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has shared the following detailed information on Open Enrollment for Government Health Care Programs for 2018. There are important dates and changes noted below. This post will be updated as needed.
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Healthcare Open Enrollment #5Changes and Challenges

From November 1, 2017 through December 15, 2017 (in most states), individuals will be able to purchase health insurance through the marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


2018 ACA Open Enrollment starts November 1, 2017 in all 50 states and DC

It ends on December 15, 2017 in all states except:

California (1/31/2018)
Colorado (1/12/2018)
Connecticut (12/22/2017)
District of Columbia (1/31/2018)
Massachusetts (1/23/2018)
Minnesota (1/14/2018)
New York (1/31/2018)
Rhode Island (12/31/2017)
Washington (1/15/2018)

*Special enrollment period (12/16/2017 – 12/31/2017) available for hurricane victims*

There are a number of changes that have occurred to the 2018 OE period, which will run from November 1st to December 15th in most states.

Shorter Enrollment Period. The first major change is a shorter enrollment period. The 2018 enrollment period was originally scheduled to run November 1, 2017 through January 31, 2018. However, the Department of Health and Human Services cut the period in half so that it only runs until December 15, 2017. This means it is crucial to get information out to individuals about OE5 before and during the open enrollment period since individuals will have less time to sign up for ACA healthcare.

Cuts to the outreach, education, and enrollment budget. The second change refers to a series of deep budget cuts that happened in late August. These cuts include a 90% reduction for marketplace advertising, a 42% cut for HealthCare.gov (the website that allows individuals to sign up for health insurance), and a $25.7 million cut to Navigators (trained individuals that help guide people through the ACA sign-up process).

Website Outages. It was recently announced that the federal health insurance exchange – HealthCare.gov – will be shut down for maintenance once a week, every week for 12 hours, during the open enrollment period. With the already shorten open enrollment period, these outages will make it even more difficult for people to sign up for health insurance through the marketplace.

These changes will suppress marketplace enrollment and will likely limit the number of people who gain health insurance. Having less people sign up for coverage could lead to less-balanced risk pools and higher costs.

What does this mean for people with disabilities?

The ACA has helped, and continues to help, people with disabilities in a number of ways. Providing protections for people with pre-existing conditions opened the door for many people with disabilities to receive affordable, comprehensive health insurance. The ACA also eliminated lifetime benefit limits, meaning there were no caps to the amount of money one could receive in a lifetime from an insurer. Medicaid expansion in 32 states, including Washington, DC, provided individuals with incomes at or below 138% of the poverty line affordable healthcare. These provisions resulted in 20 million people gaining health insurance by January of this year.

Government health insurance is extremely important to people with disabilities – in 2015 58.3% of adults with disabilities had government health insurance compared to 17.4% of adults without disabilities. Shortening the Open Enrollment period and cutting funding means less uninsured individuals will have the opportunity to enroll in health insurance, and fewer individuals will be able to take advantage of the opportunities ACA has created for people with disabilities.

What can we do now?

Help spread the word about Open Enrollment Period #5! While a significant amount of funding has been cut and the enrollment period shortened, we can make a difference by spreading information through our own networks. Post to Facebook or send a Tweet about the Open Enrollment period. Ask your friends and family if they have health insurance. Every effort helps!

Open Enrollment Resources