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Action Alert:
FMAP vote on Tuesday, August 10. Call your legislators TODAY!

Congress will vote on FMAP on Tuesday, August 10. FMAP means independent community living for people with disabilities. Tell your legislators TODAY:

"The decision to fund FMAP for this year is now up to you.

Pennsylvanians need you to pass the exact language now contained in HR 1586 inclusive of Senate Amendment SA 4567. Vote is scheduled for Tuesday, August 10, 2010 time TBA.

People with Disabilities want to live in the community and daily need Home and Community Based Services to assist with bathing and dressing; meal preparation and eating; taking medicines; and more. Our Governor and Secretary of Public Welfare are saying they will make cuts across the board in all our waivers and Home and Community Based Services without FMAP. FUND FMAP."

Contact:

Robert A. Brady 202-225-4731

Chaka Fattah 202-225-4001

Kathy Dahlkemper 202-225-5406

Jason Altmire 202-225-2565

Glenn Thompson 202-225-5121

Jim Gerlach 202-225-4315

Joe Sestak 202-225-2011

Patrick J. Murphy 202-225-4276

Bill Schuster 202-225-2431

Christopher P. Carney 202-225-3731

Paul E. Kanjorski 202-225-6511

Mark Critz 202-225-2065

Allyson Y. Schwartz 202-225-6111

Michael F. Doyle 202-225-2135

Charles W. Dent 202-225-6411

Joseph R. Pitts 202-225-2411

Timothy H. Holden 202-225-5546

Timothy H. Murphy 202-225-2301

Todd Russell Platts 202-225-5836

read more...

URGENT Action Alert:
FMAP Amendment vote on Monday, 8/2. Fax these senators today to ensure FMAP funding for home and community based services!

There will be a vote in the Senate on a $16 billion FMAP amendment on Monday August 2 around 5:30. Please forward this to other who will take action!.

Please place your name and address at the bottom of the three letters to Senators Snowe, Brown, and Collins (links below). The letters include a fax cover sheet as the first page. Please be sure to place your name on both the fax sheet and at the conclusion of the letter.

Home and community based services are needed to allow people with disabilities to live independently. Without the passage of FMAP, these services and the independence they provide will be jeopardized.

It only takes a few moments to make your voice heard, and it will make a difference!

FMAP Fax & Letter: Sen. Brown

FMAP Fax & Letter: Sen. Collins

FMAP Fax & Letter: Sen. Snowe

read more...

Action Alert!
Demand Enhanced FMAP today!

Today is the eleventh anniversary of the Olmstead Decision. The Decision that among other things promised Americans the "Least Restrictive Setting" for services. Enhanced FMAP is still not authorized in HR 4213. Please contact: Senators Collins, Snowe and Brown (MA), Voinovich (OH).

Ask them how we can have the 'least restrictive setting' and yet the funding for services in the least restrictive setting are cut off.

Let our voices be heard. Let our Emails be so numerous they have to shut the connection down.

To The Honorable
United States Senator for Ohio
George V. Voinovich
524 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-3353
Fax number (202) 228-1382

To The Honorable United States Senator for Massachusetts
Scott Brown
317 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington D.C. 20510
Office: (202) 224-4543
Fax number: (202)0228-2646

To The Honorable United States Senator for Maine
Olympia J. Snowe
154 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
WASHINGTON DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5344
Fax: (202) 224-1946

To The Honorable United States Senator for Maine
Susan Collins
413 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2523
Fax: (202) 224-2693

read more...

Action Alert!
Enhanced FMAP Update: PLEASE WRITE!

Posted on Behalf of Cassie James Holdsworth,
Director of Advocacy and National Policy


ADVOCACY ALERT
ENHANCED FMAP
HR 4312
UPDATE


ONE DOWN --- TWO MORE STAGES TO GO!!!

The Senate Democrats put forward the amendment for Enhanced FMAP!

All of us need to phone, write, fax Senators listed to demand their vote for Enhanced FMAP Amendment for HR 4213. The U.S. Senate has the power to pass the Amendment with 60 votes. Last time we checked: The votes are not adding up.

read more...

Temple University Society for Disability Studies Conference, June 3-5, 2010

The Society for Disability Studies (SDS) works to understand disability in all cultures and historical periods, to promote greater awareness of the experiences of disabled people, and to advocate for
social change. At the annual SDS meeting, people from more than a dozen countries will come together to look at disability from many different points of view. Disability is a key aspect of human experience; disability experience is not about personal tragedy, butthe reality of social oppression. At the SDS conference people will talk about disability in social, political, cultural, and economic contexts. Scholars and activists from everywhere will share ideas, experiences, and strategies, looking at the world as it is and the world as we might change it.

For more information visit: http://disstud.blogspot.com/2010/05/sds-2010-conference-is-upon-us-attend.html

Action Alert:
Call your legislators and urge them to keep National Housing Trust Fund dollars in H.R. 4213

The House is now considering H.R. 4213 through this week.

H.R. 4213, which includes $1.065 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund and related project-based vouchers, is facing opposition in the Congress.

National Housing Trust Fund dollars must remain in the bill.

Call 877-210-5351, the toll-free number for the Congressional switchboard, and ask to be connected your Representative's office.

On the Web, to find your Members of Congress, go to:
www.house.gov and click “write your representative”. You will need your zip+4, which you can find at www.usps.com/zip4

Once connected, please ask for the housing staff person and relay the following message:

Our community needs a National Housing Trust Fund to help build, rehabilitate and preserve housing for people with the lowest incomes. I understand that H.R. 4213, the tax extender bill, is expected to include $1 billion for the initial NHTF funding and $65 million for project-based vouchers to support NHTF homes. Please work to ensure that this much-needed funding for the National Housing Trust Fund is included in the bill, and please support H.R. 4213 when it comes up for a vote.

Check out Disability Blog's "Countodown to the 20th Anniversary of the ADA"

As the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities approaches on July 26th, 2010, Disability Blog is running a series of posts counting down the days. Each day's post offers a wealth of information and background on the ADA and related topics.

And of course, don't forget to check out our ADA20 page, which gives details about our ADA celebration on July 26th, which will take place right on Independence Mall in Philadelphia!

Disability blog

April 23, 2010
Temple's Adaptive Recreation Day, May 22

Magee Rehabilitation Hospital’s Wheelchair Sports Program is partnering with the Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports and Temple University’s Disability Resources and Services to host an Adapted Recreation Day on May 22nd, 2010. This event will take place at Temple University and will showcase numerous recreational activities for individuals with disabilities.

read more...

April 12, 2010
Event Alert:
Gubernatorial Forum at the National Constitution Center

WHAT: Gubernatorial Forum at the National Constitution Center

WHEN: April 19, 2010 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Investing in a Prosperous Pennsylvania

Monday, April 19, 2010
The National Constitution Center
Workforce Open House: 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Program: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.


The Job Opportunity Investment Network (JOIN) has partnered with a number of civic organizations to present this gubernatorial candidates forum on the future of workforce and the economy in the Commonwealth. The forum will offer an informative and interactive look at the candidates' plans for stimulating job creation. Click here to learn more or to register.

Both forums are free to the public, but space is limited.


http://planphilly.com/event/gubernatorial-forum-investing-prosperous-pennsylvania

April 6, 2010
Event Reminder
2nd Annual "Giving from the Heart" Home Goods Drive

PHILADELPHIA, PA – On Sunday, April 18th, Liberty Resources will have free new and gently used clothing and household items to distribute in the Atrium of the Sovereign Building at 714 Market Street. The second annual “Giving from the Heart” event pairs two counties, different faiths, the generous and those in need.

Dozens of people from Montgomery County will give back to the Philadelphia community on April 17th by donating household items. These items will be collected at Gwynedd Crossing Shopping Center and Bethlehem Baptist Church and distributed the following day to low income individuals - with and without disabilities - in Philadelphia.

Women Against Abuse, Kensington Welfare Rights Union, the Bethesda Project and Liberty Resources are just a few of the organizations that will distribute the free, donated items to the low-income individuals that they work with.

WHO: Over 100 people – from Women Against Abuse, the Bethesda Project and more – to collect free new & used clothing and household items

HAT: At the 2nd Annual “Giving from the Heart”

WHEN: Sunday, April 18th, 12:00-3:00 PM

WHERE: Sovereign Building, 714 Market Street, Philadelphia PA 19106

Sponsors include: Beth Or Synagogue; Bethlehem Baptist Church; One House at a Time; Banana Republic and Doc Bressler’s Cavity Busters. A raffle will also be held on April 17th to help offset the cost of the event.

April 1, 2010
ACTION ALERT:
Today is CALL, WRITE, OR FAX YOUR LEGISLATOR DAY!
Today, Liberty is joining with 60 other organizations to bombard our legislators with calls, emails, and faxes, demanding that our State Senators and Representatives restore the cuts to the SSP.

Please find your legislators' contact information at www.libertyresources.org/takeaction and tell them that we oppose this continued $22 million cut, which affects 345,000 elderly, disabled, and blind Pennsylvanians.
read more...

March 24, 2010
Action Alert:
SSI Cuts Still included in Governor's budget. Act NOW!
Bad News.

Yesterday the PA House of Representatives approved the Governor’s proposed Budget Bill (HB 2297). This bill still contains the $22 million cut to the State Supplementary Payment. This means that the 345,000 elderly, severely disabled, and blind Pennsylvanians who have been affected by the cut this year, will have to go through another year of tremendous financial problems.

read more...

March 12, 2010
Action Alert:
Rally in Harrisburg to Stop SSI Cuts!
WHAT: Rally to Stop SSI Cuts

WHEN: Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 1:00 PM (requires morning travel

WHERE: Capital Rotunda, Harrisburg

Liberty Resources is a part of a state-wide coalition urging the Governor and General Assembly to restore the full State Supplemental Payment (SSP) to 345,000 Pennsylvanians. On December 31, 2009, DPW reduced the SSP for an individual by $5.30 a month—19% of the payment. The disabled, elderly, and low income populations of Pennsylvania have been severely affected by this move.

If you can join us in Harrisburg for the important action, please do!

CONTACT: Nancy Salandra, 215-634-2000


March 4, 2010
ADA Event at the Constitution Center, April 15

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
“The First 20 Years, The Next Generation & Beyond”

Thursday, April 15, 2010
4pm to 6:30pm
(Registration Opens at 3:30pm)

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street - Independence Mall
Philadelphia, PA

Free and Open to the Public

Panel of Speakers Include:

  • Day Al-Mohamed, Esq.
  • Senior Policy Advisor
  • United States Department of Labor
  • Joyce A. Bender
  • CEO / Founder of Bender Consulting Services, Inc
  • Stephen F. Gold, Esq.
  • Disability Rights Attorney & Activist
  • Robert Silverstein, Esq.
  • Powers, Pyles, Sutter and Verville, PC
  • “Senate Staff Architect of ADA”

    To register, visit http://www.unitedspinal.org/disabilitysummit/
    (or call 1-800-404-2898 ext. 7207)

    March 1, 2010
    Action Alert:
    Stop Foreclosures Rally

    WHAT: Stop Foreclosures Rally with KWRU

    WHEN: Monday, March 22, 2010, Noon – 1:30 PM

    WHERE: Federal Building, 6th and Market Streets

    Liberty would like to send 50 to 75 Staff and Consumers to team up with Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU) in its third rally to freeze foreclosures and evictions.

    The rally intends to call attention to the US government’s spending billions of dollars bailing out banks and funding the war, while neglecting the state of emergency facing people who cannot make their payments during the current recession. Every 15 seconds another home is foreclosed nationwide.

    Please see the following links for articles from the Philadelphia Weekly and The Philadelphia Tribune covering the last rally, as well as the Wrap Blog’s posting about December’s.

    http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/Fighting-Against-Foreclosures.html

    http://www.phillytrib.com/tribune/index.php/newsheadlines/8242-renewed-action-on-foreclosures-sought

    http://www.wraphome.org/index.php/blog/archives/479

    Thank you,

    Liberty’s Advocacy Team

    March 1, 2010
    Action Alert:
    Accessible Taxicabs Hearing
    WHAT: Accessible Taxicabs Hearing

    WHEN: Friday, March 19, 2010, 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

    WHERE: City Hall, 4th Floor, Room 400

    The PA House of Representatives Urban Affairs Committee will be hosting a public hearing on House Bill 1914, which would establish at least 50 accessible taxicabs (vehicles in which no transfer will be necessary) in Philadelphia. Currently the City has not one of these necessary vehicles. Please come show your support of accessible transportation.

    In addition to attending the Hearing, Liberty is collecting testimonies from Staff and Consumers who can communicate the importance of having accessible taxicabs.

    Beyond establishing these 50 accessible taxicabs in Philadelphia, the Bill will also:

  • Ensure that accessible taxicabs will be available at both the airport and in the City.

  • Enforce Workers’ Compensation benefits for taxicab drivers.

  • Eliminate vehicle age restrictions for accessible taxicabs as long as they meet all inspection requirements.

  • Charge operators a weekly fee of $150. This money will go to City police funds.

    The text of the entire Bill is available here.

    February 23, 2010
    Action Alert:
    Rally to Stop SSI Cuts
    WHAT: Rally to Stop SSI Cuts

    WHEN: Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 1:00 PM (requires morning travel)

    WHERE: Capital Rotunda, Harrisburg

    Liberty Resources is a part of a state-wide coalition urging the Governor and General Assembly to restore the full State Supplemental Payment (SSP) to 345,000 Pennsylvanians. On December 31, 2009, DPW reduced the SSP for an individual by $5.30 a month—19% of the payment. The disabled, elderly, and low income populations of Pennsylvania have been severely affected by this move.

    For more information, contact Nancy Salandra at 215-634-2000 ext. 116 or email her.

    Thank you,

    Liberty’s Advocacy Team

    February 19, 2010
    'Eyes of Me' transcends blindness, encourages understanding

    The Philadelphia Daily News ran article about The Eyes of Me, a film produced by Keith Maitland. The documentary follows four blind Texas high school students through a year at the Texas School for the Blind in Austin.

    Liberty Resources and Overbrook School for the Blind partnered for a Philadelphia showing at Overbrook School for the Blind on Wednesday 2/24. The film airs at 9pm, March 4 on WHYY.


    "The Eyes of Me" public screening, 7 p.m. Wednesday, 2/24, Overbrook School for the Blind, 6333 Malvern Ave., free. To RSVP and to request audio description, visit whyy.org/memberexperience or call 215-877-0313 x405.


    Click here for the full Daily News story

    February 16, 2010
    ADAPT Update:
    DNC Resolution Pledges Olmstead Support; HHS OCR Agrees to Meet
    For Information Contact
    Jennifer McPhail 512-627-5868
    Nancy Salandra 215-779-1014
    www.adapt.org

    DNC Resolution Pledges Olmstead Support; HHS OCR Agrees to Meet

    ADAPT's Defending Our Freedom Campaign: Two Weeks, Two Victories

    Philadelphia, PA - Two weeks into ADAPT's Defending Our Freedom Campaign, there are already two victories. One, a resolution passed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), has its roots in ADAPT's four-day and four-night protest vigil last July, held outside the DNC headquarters in Washington, D.C. despite torrential rains and no shelter for activists. The second victory is a meeting with staff from the U.S.Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights (HHS OCR) scheduled for mid-April just prior to the spring ADAPT action in Washington.

    read more...

    February 4, 2009
    Community Cinema Film Premiere Inspires Public Discussion About Disability and Independent Living in Philadelphia
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Philadelphia, PA

    Contact:
    Sara Zia Ebrahimi
    ITVS Community Cinema Co-Coordinator
    phillyitvs@gmail.com
    215-901-4549
    www.communitycinema.org

    For downloadable images, visit www.itvs.org/pressroom/photos/

    For the program companion website, visit pbs.org/pressroom


    Community Cinema Film Premiere
    Inspires Public Discussion About Disability and Independent Living in Philadelphia

    Hosted by Overbrook School for the Blind

    THE EYES OF ME
    A film by Keith Maitland
    Four blind teens. One dynamic year. How do you see yourself, when you can't see at all?


    Wednesday, February 24, 2010
    7:00pm-9:00pm
    Overbrook School for the Blind
    6333 Malvern Ave, Philadelphia, PA
    FREE and open to the public.
    Wheelchair accessible.

    Film will be shown with closed captioning. Descriptive audio service provided.

    To RSVP and to request audio description, visit whyy.org/memberexperience or call (215) 877-0313 x405.

    Panel discussion after film with students and alumni from Overbrook School for the Blind and advocates from Liberty Resources, Inc. a local group that has been fighting for accessibility across disabilities for over twenty years. This intergenerational panel will address the challenges to independent living faced by blind people and the importance of sharing experiences across disabilities.

    read more...

    February 3, 2009
    Action Alert:
    ADAPT "Funeral Procession for Justice" to protest SSI Cuts

    WHAT:
    Funeral Procession for Justice

    WHEN:
    5:00 PM, Wednesday, February 3

    WHERE:
    Procession begins at 315 S. Broad St.(Broad Street Ministry) and will march to City Hall. Please wear black.

    WHY:
    Nearly 340,000 disabled and senior Pennsylvanians will go to their mailboxes Feb. 3 and experience an SSI cut of $5, and up to $10/month. We join Project Home and ask you to represent for the many who are living on a fixed income and are feeling this impact. The Funeral Procession is a way to demonstrate our sorrow that the state budget legislators and governor and DPW don’t get it.

    Taking from the poorest among us damages us all and is no plan for economic recovery.

    There's still time to contact officials to oppose the SSI cuts:

    Governor Edward G. Rendell's Office
    225 Main Capitol Building
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
    Phone: (717) 787-2500
    FAX: 717-772-8284
    www.governor.state.pa.us/

    Harriet Dichter
    Acting Secretary
    Department of Public Welfare
    Room 333 Health and Welfare Building
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105
    (717) 787-2600
    (717) 772-2062 (Fax)

    Representative Dwight Evans
    512-E3 Main Capitol
    PO Box 202203
    Harrisburg, PA 17120-2203
    Phone: (717) 783-1540
    Fax: (717) 783-2334

    State Senator Jake Corman
    Room 281
    Capitol
    Harrisburg, PA 17120
    Fax: (717) 772-3146

    Edward J. Zogby
    Bureau of Policy Health and Welfare Building
    Room 431
    Harrisburg, PA 17105
    ezogby@state.pa.us


    February 1, 2010
    Action Alert:
    Oppose SSI Cuts!
    Some have acted, others need to act now, and all of us need to act again.

    Please oppose the SSI cuts and direct emails ; faxes to all targets listed below.

    Don’t hurt the poorest of the poor. DPW had to actually approve these cuts for them to go into action. Consumers on SSI have not shared in the good economic times and sure are not doing well in these bad times. Most people in PA could not make it on the SSI payments that consumers must struggle through with. This $5 hit is very harmful to people who depend on every dollar to make it through most of the month. The $5 cut could be one of their last meals of the month; or a prescription co-pay; or transportation costs to a doctor or friend. Do not let people receiving SSI cut believe for a minute that all of us do not care a whit about their loss. The swift way that these cuts were pushed through deserves a fierce response from all of us.


    Contact the Governor's Office
    Governor Edward G. Rendell's Office
    225 Main Capitol Building
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
    Phone: (717) 787-2500
    FAX: 717-772-8284
    www.governor.state.pa.us/

    Harriet Dichter
    Acting Secretary
    Department of Public Welfare
    Room 333 Health and Welfare Building
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17105
    (717) 787-2600
    (717) 772-2062 (Fax)

    Representative Dwight Evans
    512-E3 Main Capitol
    PO Box 202203
    Harrisburg, PA 17120-2203
    Phone: (717) 783-1540
    Fax: (717) 783-2334

    State Senator Jake Corman
    Room 281
    Capitol
    Harrisburg, PA 17120
    Fax: (717) 772-3146

    Edward J. Zogby
    Bureau of Policy Health and Welfare Building
    Room 431
    Harrisburg, PA 17105
    ezogby@state.pa.us

    January 22, 2010
    Liberty in the News:
    LRI Mural Artist Featured on Action News

    A presentation by Kong Ho at the Independence Arts Studio was recently featured on 6ABC's Action News. Working with Independence Arts Studio and Liberty Resources under a grant from the PA Council on the Arts, Ho and fellow disabled artists will create a disability rights/independent living movement mural on the side of the Sovereign Building, 714 Market Street, which Liberty purchased in 2008.


    December 23, 2009
    ADAPT in the News:
    ADAPT Halts SEPTA Train in Protest
    On December 14th, ADAPT activists halted a SEPTA train on the Market-Frankford El line in response to SEPTA's lack of wheelchair accessibility. Click here for CBS 3's coverage of the action.

    December 14, 2009
    Action Alert
    Urge Congress to Secure Funds for the National Housing Trust Fund

    Call Your Members of Congress Again to Secure $1B for National Housing Trust Fund

    Last Chance to Pass NHTF Funding in 2009

    Take Action!

    Funding for the National Housing Trust Fund could be imminent. Senate and House offices needed to hear from you about the importance of ensuring capitalization of the NHTF at $1 billion and providing project-based voucher funding for most of the NHTF units.

    read more...

    December 11, 2009
    ADAPT Victory Alert
    An Important Step for Seniors and Individuals With Disabilities: AFSCME Declares Support for Community First Choice Option in Health Reform

    The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has announced that they fully support the Community First Option!

    ADAPT has worked long and hard to bring AFSCME from not supporting such issues like the Community Choice Act, to taking a big step forward in supporting the Community First Choice Option!

    We will get more information out soon, but here is the release AFSCME sent out.

    Randy Alexander
    ADAPT

    read more...

    December 8, 2009
    ACCESSIBLE HOUSING TO PREMIERE
    AT THE MARINE CLUB CONDOMIMIUMS

    Liberty Resources and Liberty Housing & Development Corporation will celebrate the Grand Opening of the Liberty Community Integration Project at the Marine Club Condominiums, 1100 S. Broad Street, on Wednesday, December 16th from 3:30 – 5:30PM. Brenda Laroche, Deputy Regional Director of H.U.D. and Thomas Earle, C.E.O. of Liberty Resources, will be the Keynote Speakers as they present 11 fully accessible properties to the public and people with disabilities.


    read more...

    November 19, 2009
    Liberty in the News
    Liberty Wheels Featured on KYW Newsradio

    Click here to read the full story on KYW1060's website.

    November 4, 2009
    Liberty in the News:
    Proposed Disabilities Act expansion discussed

    By Jane M. Von Bergen
    Inquirer Staff Writer


    What happens if the boss fires a worker for insubordination and the worker counters with a claim under the Americans With Disabilities Act that he is being discriminated against because of a psychological disability that interferes with normal social interaction?

    "Employers may think twice as they attempt to manage employees who may be engaged in disruptive, insubordinate behavior," said Darryl G. McCallum, a management lawyer from Shawe Rosenthal L.L.P. in Baltimore.

    That was the kind of scenario, among others, raised yesterday when Stuart J. Ishimaru, acting chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other EEOC and Department of Justice officials held a "town hall listening session" for comments on proposed regulations governing an expansion of the act.

    Read the full article at philly.com

    October 20, 2009
    Liberty in the News:
    Training Session Gives Disabled New Job-Seeking Skills

    by KYW's John Ostapkovich

    Dozens of disabled job seekers got a chance on Tuesday to hone their interviewing skills on the quick.






    NBC10 Meteorologist Michelle Grossman shares her story and answers questions from local business people and job seekers

    "Disability Mentoring Day," hosted by the Liberty Resources Academy on Market Street in center city, brought together about equal numbers of those looking for work and those with insights on how to get it.

    read the full article at kyw1060.com

    Click here for to listen to the radio broadcast story or use the player below.



    Click here for photos of the event.

    October 20, 2009
    Update:
    PA State Budget: Final Numbers

    Final Budget Numbers for FY 2009-10 (as of 10/20/09)

    We are still working to get further clarification and updates on funding, numbers slots and other policy changes. These will be provided as departments coordinate with the budget office. There will also be a PA SILC Legislative Watch that will note other disability programs not noted below before end of October. Here's what we know at this point:

    read more...

    October 20, 2009
    Event Alert:
    Town Hall Listening Session at LRI: ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA)


    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division announce a full-day Town Hall Listening Session, on Friday, October 30, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Liberty Resources, 714 Market Street, Suite 100, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

    This is one of a series of forums for public input being held throughout the country in coming weeks to obtain direct input from the business/employer communities as well as the disability and disability advocacy community on EEOC's proposed regulations under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).


    read more...

    October 20, 2009
    Over 50 local employers take part in
    national ‘Disability Mentoring Day’ at LRI

    Job seekers practice interviews, review resumes in “Speed Matching” with employers

    PHILADELPHIA – More than 50 local employers – including Aramark, FedEx, Marriott hotels and First Financial Group – conducted mock interviews and resume critiques Tuesday in the first-ever “speed matching” job fair for people with disabilities sponsored by Liberty Resources Inc. in observance of national Disability Mentoring Day.
    read more...

    October 15, 2009
    NCIL Information Alert:
    American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) Update

    It has recently come to NCIL’s attention that the federal Title VII Part C distribution percentages to existing Centers for Independent Living (CILs) may change once the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding ends.

    Awards for ARRA may not be issued until January 2010 or later. Each state must declare estimates of ARRA expenditures and the duration of the awards to RSA. The due dates for these estimates are on a state-by-state basis. CIL awards will be based upon the information that the state submits and upon the federal fiscal year, except in the first year (2010). If the awards are not issued until January, CILs will only have until September 30th 2010 to expend funding for the first year. CILs will only be able to draw down the estimated annual budget amounts submitted by your state.


    read more...

    October 2, 2009
    Action Alert:
    PA is now officially the last State without a budget

    As all of you are aware, we are NOW in our 4th month with a state budget. PA is NOW the last state without a budget; Connecticut and Arizona were the last holdouts; each passed one in early September. Everyone here realizes a few costs of not having a state budget:

  • Current Waiting Lists for programs such as Act 150 and the OBRA Waiver
  • Recent layoffs of employees from various disability organizations, including some Centers for Independent Living (CILs)
  • New debt and incurred costs for CILs and other organizations in the disability community in order to maintain services, employees and pay the costs of doing business (insurance premiums, rents, travel) through lines of credit
  • Inability to continue to assist the Commonwealth of PA to balance its long term care, which produces:
  • Financial Costs to both the Commonwealth and taxpayers since nursing home and other institutional care is often more expensive
  • Personal Costs: LOSS OF LIBERTY for those going into nursing homes and other institutions and GREAT ANGUISH for all affected.

    read more...

    October 1, 2009
    IAS to join Open Studios Tour this Weekend
    MOST ACCESSIBLE ART STUDIO
    TO JOIN OPEN STUDIOS TOUR THIS WEEKEND

    Independence Art Studio (IAS), located in the basement of 714 Market Street, will be the first art studio for people with disabilities included in the Philadelphia Open Studio Tour in Center City East on October 3-4. The most accessible and innovative art studio in Center City Philadelphia, IAS is a professional design/arts studio specifically created for adult artists with and without disabilities.

    read more...

    October 1, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Help Expand Funding for the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund

    PACDC needs your help!!
    To Expand Funding for the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund through HB1645

    We (PACDC) are educating key members of the Philadelphia Delegation to urge House Appropriations Committee leadership to support HB 1645 to expand funding of the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund. It is essential we communicate the benefits of the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund as well as support all efforts to preserve and expand Housing Trust Fund resources and related affordable housing opportunities in Philadelphia.

    read more...

    September 30, 2009
    Action Alert:
    TURN Rally to Enforce The Certificate of Rental Suitability

    Don’t let housing and fire code protections go up in smoke!! Enforce the certificate of rental suitability. The city of Philadelphia has suspended the recent requirement that landlords disclose fire, health and safety dangers in residential properties being offered for rent. Call 215-686-3000 and let Mayor Nutter know that this is Dangerous and Unfair! For more information call the Tenant Union Representative Network at 215-940-3900 or visit www.ourturn.net.

    Stop unfair rent increases. Skyrocketing rents cause the displacement of long time residents and especially injured seniors, children and people with disabilities. Rapid displacement causes crime, homelessness, school dropouts and neighborhood deterioration. We have the power to save our city’s neighborhoods! Demand rent stabilization and limit rent increases to the cost of living. For more information call the Tenant Union Representative Network at 215-940-3900 or visit www.ourturn.net.

    September 30, 2009
    Action Alert:
    TURN Rally to Enforce The Certificate of Rental Suitability

    Don’t let housing and fire code protections go up in smoke!! Enforce the certificate of rental suitability. The city of Philadelphia has suspended the recent requirement that landlords disclose fire, health and safety dangers in residential properties being offered for rent. Call 215-686-3000 and let Mayor Nutter know that this is Dangerous and Unfair! For more information call the Tenant Union Representative Network at 215-940-3900 or visit www.ourturn.net.

    Stop unfair rent increases. Skyrocketing rents cause the displacement of long time residents and especially injured seniors, children and people with disabilities. Rapid displacement causes crime, homelessness, school dropouts and neighborhood deterioration. We have the power to save our city’s neighborhoods! Demand rent stabilization and limit rent increases to the cost of living. For more information call the Tenant Union Representative Network at 215-940-3900 or visit www.ourturn.net.

    September 29, 2009
    Action Update:
    Dozen arrested at casino protest (including ADAPTers)

    By Peter Mucha
    Inquirer Staff Writer


    Police arrested 14 anti-gambling activists who blocked the gate at the SugarHouse Casino construction site on the Delaware River waterfront in Fishtown this morning.

    The organized act of civil disobedience by Casino-Free Philadelphia came as the casino company announced it planned to have a formal groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 8 for its slots parlor.

    As of early afternoon, each of the nine men and five women was still waiting to be arraigned on a single count of failure to disperse, according to Casino-Free attorney Paul Boni.

    About 40 people gathered for the protest on Delaware Avenue about 6 a.m.

    Read the whole article at philly.com

    September 25, 2009
    Event Alert:
    Join us for disability mentoring day!
    National Disability Mentoring Day
    October 20, 2009
    9AM - —2PM

    Liberty Resources Academy
    @ 714 Market Street

    Liberty Resources Academy, Regional Host for National Disability Mentoring Day, together with the Sierra Group, & keynote speaker, Michelle Grossman, NBC 10 Meteorologist Invite you to join us for a conversation:

    Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilities An Untapped Source of Talent for your Organization”

    Schedule for the day includes:

    Opening, Michelle Grossman, NBC 10
    Janet Fiore, Briefing on ADA Amendments Act of 2008
    Speed Matching: Mock Interviews w/ Mentors & Job Seekers
    "What I Learned" Group Feedback
    LUNCH
    Job-seekers and Mentors, Break-out Sessions
    Closing Remarks, Michael Fiore


    To register, contact Lynne Maleeff at 215.634.2000 x293 DisabilityMentoring@lriacademy.org

    RSVP by 10/15

    Attendance is complimentary, space is limited.

    Please let us know of any accommodations that are needed.
    *For more information visit: www.libertyresourcesacademy.org

    Click here for a printable flyer

    September 25, 2009
    The Community First Choice (CFC) Option
    The Community First Choice (CFC) Option has been included in the Chairman's Mark. This means that the CFC Option amendment offered by Senator Schumer is incorporated into the Senate Finance Committee bill and won't need to be debated or approved by the Committee.

    read more...

    September 21, 2009
    ADAPT Action Alert:
    Pass the Community First Choice Amendment!

    This is huge news! New York Senator Schumer introduced the Community First Choice amendment to the Senate Finance Committee's health care reform! The next step is to urge the Committee to pass the amendment.

    Go to http://capwiz.com

    Now, we need to call on our friends and family across the country to contact their Senator on the Senate Finance Committee and urge them to support the amendment.

    read more...

    September 16, 2009
    ADAPT protests for CCA at Obama/Specter Event

    PHILADELPHIA - President Barack Obama urged Pennsylvania voters on Tuesday to support the re-election bid of Sen. Arlen Specter in a personal appearance here for the Republican-turned-Democrat that also marked an important test of the White House's political apparatus.

    The president held a fundraiser, which is expected to raise $2.5 million dollars, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. Outside the Center were hundreds of s upporters and large crowds of protesters.

    Read the full story at myfoxphilly.com.

    September 15, 2009
    SEPTA weighs appeal of order requiring elevators to subway

    By Paul Nussbaum
    Inquirer Staff Writer


    SEPTA is considering an appeal of an order requiring two subway-access elevators near City Hall, the transit agency's chief lawyer said yesterday.

    The city's transportation chief, though, said she would prefer that SEPTA not contest the ruling but find a way to meet the needs of the handicapped riders who sued for better access.

    read the full article at philly.com.

    September 14, 2009
    Fundraiser Alert:
    Shop for A Cause: Liberty's Transition to Freedom Fund!
    On Saturday, October 17th, you can Shop for a Cause at any Macy's store! Liberty Resources is an approved beneficiary of Shop for a Cause.




    Here's how it works:
    You purchase a $5 coupon from Liberty Resources, which in turn entitles you to incredible savings all day long at any Macy's store on October 17, 2009. And the best part is that all proceeds from the sale of the coupons go directly to Liberty Resources Transition to Freedom Fund!

    Stop in to Liberty Resources today to purchase your Shop for A Cause Macy's coupon!
    read more...

    September 14, 2009
    Advocacy Victory:
    DIA wins accessibility case against SEPTA

    In a landmark decision for people with disabilities in the Philadelphia area, Disabled in Action of Pennsylvania (DIA) won a hard-fought victory in a case against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) on Friday, September 11.


    read more...

    September 14, 2009
    ADAPT Action Alert:
    ADAPT Fall National Action 2009

    Who: 400 ADAPT activists from across the country
    What: ADAPT Fall National Action 2009
    When: October 10-15
    Where: ATLANTA, GEORGIA!

    The collective power of disability rights is about to strike in the hometown of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. As the nation continues to struggle with the vital issue of health reform, ADAPT continues to
    advocate for the end to the institutional bias in Medicaid and a revolution in community choice! Will you be with us?

    read more...

    September 14, 2009
    The Struggle Continues: Celebrate Kicking Foxwoods Out of Center City and Mobilize to Kick Casinos Out of Philadelphia

    Join Us!

    A Party and Fundraiser
    Tuesday, September 15th, 6:30 PM
    at the No Slots Spot, 718 Market Street

    $5-$500 suggested donation

    Sponsored by the No Casino in the Heart of the City Coalition

    Please join us to celebrate the victory of stopping the proposed casino in Center City and Chinatown and join with us as we move forward to stop the proposed casinos in our city. For the past year, our coalition has brought together Philadelphians from across neighborhoods and various interests and backgrounds to stand united against the fear, corruption and hopelessness that has been fertile ground for the proposed casinos. We united in our hope, our stories and our conviction that strong communities and strong cities are built from the ground up by the people who live and work here.

    We are excited to join together with you on the 15th, to hear about your hopes and vision for our city, and to forge an even stronger community and coalition that is capable not only of stopping casinos in our city but that will be part of the larger effort to end poverty and corruption in this great city of Philadelphia. Whether or not you have been active on the issue to date you are welcome to join us as this victory is for everyone and it will take many more people joining together to effect the changes we all want to see in our city.

    We look forward to seeing you on the 15th!


    August 31, 2009
    Liberty in the News:
    Foxwoods gets more time for South Philly casino

    PETER JACKSON
    The Associated Press


    HARRISBURG, Pa. - State gambling regulators Friday approved a 21-month extension for developers of the proposed Foxwoods slot-machine casino in Philadelphia, but issued a stern warning to stop looking for alternatives to the approved site on the Delaware River waterfront.

    "We expect this to move and move quickly, or we will yank the license" that Foxwoods was awarded in 2006 for one of two freestanding casinos in Pennsylvania's largest city, Gaming Control Board Chairman Gregory Fajt said Friday.

    read more...

    August 29, 2009
    Liberty in the News:
    At Sestak Town Hall, Disability Activists Draw Their Own Red Line on Long-Term Care Funding

    by Daniel Denvir

    I scanned the aisles for mustachioed presidential portraits and Obamacare warning-signs at a health care town hall with Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) in Philadelphia. "Before we get started," intoned the understated moderator, "we know that these meetings here in the Commonwealth have been somewhat heated."

    Yesterday's meeting was hosted by Liberty Resources, an organization that promotes independent living for disabled people, and the Philadelphia chapter of ADAPT, a seriously militant disability rights organization.

    Read the full article at huffingtonpost.com

    August 27, 2009
    Statement from the National Council on Independent Living on the Passing of Senator Ted Kennedy

    The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) extends its sympathy to the family of the late Senator Kennedy and joins them in mourning the loss of one of the greatest senators in our nation’s history. Because the most fitting way to honor the Senator’s memory is direct action, we shall pause momentarily to remember his remarkable accomplishments, which have paved the way for freedom and equality for people with disabilities, in order that we may draw inspiration to carry on his legacy and continue fighting for the fulfillment of his dream.

    read more...

    August 29, 2009
    Town Hall Meeting:
    Health Care reform and what it means to people with disabilities.

    Town Hall Meeting

    Thursday, August 27
    Liberty Resources
    Atrium Lobby
    714 Market Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19106

    5:00p – 6:00pm

    Health Care reform and what it means to people with disabilities.

    With the precarious state of the economy, and of Pennsylvania’s budget in particular, health care and other critical programs that help people with disabilities gain and maintain independence are being threatened.

    This is a chance for people with disabilities to speak directly to our policymakers and make your voice heard!

    Congressman Joseph Sestak, Pennsylvania’s 7th District Representative, will be on hand to speak about key issues and to answer questions.

    Seating is limited to the first 200 attendees.

    To RSVP, please call our RSVP Line at 215-634-2000 extension 625.

    August 14, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Walk4Hearing Protest for Inclusion

    Join the growing number of organizations and individuals as we challenge the Hearing Loss Association of America’s (HLAA) “Walk4Hearing.”

    Because HLAA has refused our many requests to change the name of “Walk4Hearing” to “Walk4Communication,” we are organizing a simultaneous PROTEST WALK.

    When: September 26

    8AM: Sign-up/gather

    9AM: Protest Walk


    Where: RIDLEY CREEK STATE PARK, Pavilion 11B

    Newtown Square, PA

    “Walk4Communication” will celebrate the spirit of greater inclusion and demonstration of equal respect for both “Seeing and Signing” and “Hearing and Speaking” modes of communication, rather than implying that “Hearing and Speaking” are the only acceptable or desirable models of communication.

    We hope to see you there!

    August 12, 2009
    Protesters decry possible Pa. budget cuts

    By Joelle Farrell and Mario F. Cattabiani
    Inquirer Staff Writers


    Each day that passes without a state budget means that organizations waiting for state aid must make do, and the pantry is getting bare.

    Kia Parks, who directs a preschool in Philadelphia, said yesterday, at a protest rally in Media, that she told her 10 staff members last week that she didn't have enough to pay them.

    "We had to pretty much give them pocket change," she said.

    While advocates for state-funded programs are frustrated by the delay in Harrisburg, they also say they're not ready to give up the fight. They support Gov. Rendell's proposals to increase taxes to prevent cuts to programs such as early education and mental-health care. The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a budget that costs taxpayers less and includes more program cuts.

    Click here to read the full article at philly.com.

    August 12, 2009
    Liberty in the News:
    Long Term Care Wastes Money

    Letter to the Editor
    Philadelphia Inquired
    By Tom Earle, CEO, Liberty Resources


    One of the greatest wastes of taxpayer dollars continues to be funding of long-term care for the elderly and people with disabilities in expensive and undesirable nursing homes ("Passions high at health meeting," Aug. 3).

    When polled, the vast majority of elderly and disabled Americans voiced their desire to receive long-term care in their own homes. Meaningful, cost-saving health-care reform must include rebalancing our nation's long-term-care system and allowing millions of Americans the choice of using their existing Medicaid-funded long-term-care dollars for support in their own homes.

    Click here to read the full letter at philly.com.

    August 6, 2009
    Action Update:
    ADAPT Halts SEPTA Train in Protest

    By Katherine Scott

    30th STREET STATION - August 6, 2009 (WPVI) -- You could say it was gridlock along the Market-Frankford El today thanks to a protest by dozens of riders in wheelchairs who were determined to get their message across, even if it meant shutting down service.

    Disabled riders are calling on SEPTA to bridge the gap.

    "On 30th Street El, there's a big gap between the platform and the train, people using wheelchairs get stuck in that gap," German parody of ADAPT said.

    So today, over thirty protesters got stuck on purpose, holding up eastbound and westbound trains on the Market Frankford El at 30th Street Station for nearly an hour and a half.

    Read the full story and see the video at Action News' website.

    August 3, 2009
    Action Alert:
    PA Autism Budget Alert

    TIME-SENSITIVE – ACTION REQUESTED

    Dear Friends in the Pennsylvania Autism Community:

    Rep. Nick Kotik has offered an amendment to Senate Bill 850 that includes some very profound cuts to the DPW budget for services for persons with disabilities. The amendment is No. A03273. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Kotik amendment today, Monday, August 3, 2009.

    read more...

    August 6, 2009
    Temperatures rise at health-care meeting

    By Jane M. Von Bergen
    Inquirer Staff Writer


    If any political prognosticators wanted proof that President Obama faces a tough sell on his health plan, they merely needed to show up at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia yesterday.

    A raucous standing-room-only crowd of more than 400 cheered, jeered, and booed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

    Read the full article at philly.com

    July 31, 2009
    Should Disability Funding Be Part of Health Reform?

    Ben Adler | July 30, 2009 | < a href="http://www,prospect.org"target="_blank">The American Prospect | web only

    When it comes to their top legislative priority, disability activists fear later will mean never.

    With an estimated 37.5 million eligible voters with a disability -- and the aging baby boom generation means the ranks of the disabled will grow -- disability rights is an emerging brand of identity politics. The Democratic Party has been attuned to the change. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) disability caucus is growing in size and prominence. The Obama campaign had a comprehensive disability-issues platform, and President Obama hired Kareem Dale to be the first White House special assistant for disability policy. On July 21 the president also announced the U.S. will sign on to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    Read the full article at www.prospect.org.

    July 31, 2009
    Specter, Sebelius to Hold Health Care Town Hall

    Health Insurance Reform: What’s in it for You?

    Philadelphia, PA
    Sunday, August 2, 2009 - 03:00 PM

    U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) will join Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a town hall meeting on health insurance reform on Sunday, August 2 in Philadelphia. The town hall will highlight the problems with the current health care system and discuss how health insurance reform will improve the quality of care for all Americans.

    Sebelius and Specter will make brief remarks on health insurance reform and devote the remainder of the town hall to taking questions from the audience.

    Click here to read the full article at specter.senate.gov.

    July 24, 2009
    Action Update:
    ADAPT protest continues into day four, DNC retaliates with nuisance police calls

    For Immediate Release

    Contact:
    Bruce Darling (585)362-9843
    Cassie James (215) 219-0694

    Washington, DC - Throughout the day Thursday and overnight into Friday, ADAPT activists maintained their vigil at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) at 430 South Capitol Street SW, Washington, DC. The group was forced to cope with several electrical storms and torrential downpours that flooded the street with 6 inches of water. ADAPT has been at the DNC headquarters since the protest began, Tuesday at approximately 1:00 PM.

    read more...

    July 21, 2009
    Action Update:
    ADAPT Occupies the Democratic National Committee in D.C.!

    For Immediate release: July 21, 2009

    For information contact:
    Bruce Darling 585-370-6690
    Marsha Katz 406-544-9504

    Disability Rights Activists Nationwide Confront Democrats On Institutional Bias

    Washington, D.C.---Demanding an end to the institutional bias in the nation's health care policy, ADAPT, the nation's largest cross-disability, grassroots disability rights organization, took their fight to the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Washington, DC, with 24 simultaneous protests at Democratic offices across the country, and at Senator Max Baucus' office in Missoula, MT.
    read more...

    July 21, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Tell the National Democratic Committee that it’s time to pass the Community Choice Act!

    Click HERE to Take Action!

    The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has a paper position supporting the Community Choice Act, but the DNC stands by and watches while the Democratic Leadership does nothing to eliminate the institutional bias. Instead, the DNC publicly supports healthcare reform that perpetuates Medicaid's institutional bias which steals the freedom... and lives... of Americans with disabilities and older Americans.

    When the aging and disability communities advocated that healthcare reform eliminate the institutional bias, we were told that "It's too expensive." We were told to be patient, and we were told to wait.

    Well, we cannot - and will not - wait any longer. Tell the Democrats that it's time to eliminate the institutional bias. Tell them that it's time to pass the Community Choice Act.

    Click HERE to TAKE ACTION and send a message to the Democratic National Committee.

    July 21, 2009
    Disability Rights Network of PA and Disabled In Action of PA Action Alert
    A Cross Disability Rally and Press Conference

    We are not out of the woods yet! As most of you probably know, the budget has not yet passed and the word from the hill is that there is still fear of cuts to service for people with disabilities. Whether it is SB850 or HB1416 there will need to be cuts. This is our chance to say thank you to those who support us and fund our programs. However, we must also make sure those who do not support us hear why they must continue providing funding to services for people with disabilities.
    read more...

    July 15, 2009
    Liberty in the News:
    PA Budget Cuts Action Update from Harrisburg:
    Featured on Channel 8 WGAL News!

    ADAPT remains camped outside of the Capitol in Harrisburg protesting PA budget cuts that could mean an end to attendant care. This would be a devastating blow to the disabled community and to the Independent Living Movement.

    Video from WGAL Channel 8 News here:

    http://www.wgal.com/video/20059159/index.html?taf=lan

    July 12, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Keeping a Light on Things--
    Fight PA Budget Cuts with Us in Harrisburg on Tuesday, July 14!

    State Legislators need only look across the Capitol to see Pennsylvanians both from the Aging and Disabled Communities KEEPING A LIGHT ON THINGS. These citizens are holding a candlelight vigil hoping that no harm comes to any citizen needing services in Pennsylvania especially elderly and disabled who through no fault of their own need these services to remain in the community.
    read more...

    July 12, 2009
    Action Alert:
    General Assembly Leadership Playing "Chicken" with Lives

    From the Mental Health Association in PA:

    Although previously defeated in the House, it appears that SB 850 is being resurrected in a game of legislative “chicken.” As a result, the unacceptable cuts to mental health and substance abuse services included in that bill are all back on the table.


    read more...

    July 9, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Call Your Senators: Disability & Hate Crimes

    As previously reported in ADA Watch posts, the House has passed and the Senate will vote on the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a bill that would provide significant improvements to our current hate crimes prevention laws -- including expanding them to cover bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived disability.



    We have partnered with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) and ask that you call U.S. Senators toll-free on July 15th. 


    Join the final push for the hate crimes bill to become law!


    On Wednesday, July 15, call senators toll free at 866-659-9641 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, and urge them to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

     


    As early as Wednesday, July 15, the Senate will likely vote on the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a bill that would provide significant improvements to our current hate crimes prevention laws. The House of Representatives already passed the bill in April.

     

    This bill expands the coverage of existing hate crime laws to include crimes not only based on race, color, religion, and national origin, but also bias-motivated crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity. 



    It also provides the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute hate crimes in states where current law or local law enforcement action are inadequate. This increased protection will help all groups that continue to be subjected to bias-motivated violence and intimidation.



    Hate crimes cut across every community. Passing this bill will ensure that all people have the right to be safe and free from physical harm and intimidation. The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act sends a clear message that Americans do not have to live in fear. 



    Learn more about the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act. 



    For more information, read Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund's latest report, “Confronting the New Faces of Hate: Hate Crimes in America 2009”, which documents the continuing serious nature of hate crimes in the United States:



    http://www.civilrights.org/publications/hatecrimes/ 


    July 9, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Tell the Governor that eliminating Act 150 is unacceptable!

    We're getting VERY troubling news from Harrisburg.

    Apparently, since the Governor and Dwight Evans are recognizing they are light years apart from the Republicans with the budget, they are actually planning to run Senate Bill 850 - the draconian, horrible, Senate Republican bill - through the House, and the Governor will sign it.

    The Governor and Dwight Evans believe that this Republican proposed budget is dangerous, but they can't get Republicans to take seriously the gravity should they not consider raising taxes. So the word is that tomorrow the House will take up the bill and, assuming it passes, the Governor will sign it. If this all should happen, they will likely reconsider the budget in the fall or early winter. But in the interim, we would have to expect draconian cuts and an entire elimination of a variety of programs.

    The Governor and Dwight see this as the only way to get the public to recognize how bad the Republican approach is and, hopefully to embarrass them. If this goes forward, we can only hope that the strategy works.

    Call, fax, and email the Governor's office, your state Senators, and State Reps and let them know that cutting HCBS and eliminating Act 150 is unacceptable.

    Governor Edward G. Rendell's Office
    Phone: (717) 787-2500
    Fax: (717) 772-8284

    Email: form at http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/Governor/govmail.html

    You can also find your state Senator and Representative by going to:
    http://www.legis.state.pa.us/index.cfm
    and typing in your zipcode in the top right box, titled “Find Members By.”

    July 7, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Tell the White House We Need Community Choice!

    We need people to contact the following folks at the White House TODAY.

    Call and tell them that the CLASS Act is nice, but we need community choice for all and no institutional bias in health care reform!

    Write a personal letter as an individual or organization asking the Obama administration to end the institutional bias.

    Barack Obama
    Valerie Jarrett
    Melody Barnes
    David Axelrod
    Kathleen Sebelius
    Jeffrey Crowley: Jeffrey_S._Crowley@who.eop.gov

    Kareem Dale: Kareem_A._Dale@who.eop.gov

    According to www.whitehouse.gov, general contact info is as follows:

    White House Comments: 202-456-1111
    White House Switchboard: 202-456-1414
    White House FAX: 202-456-2461

    Thanks for taking action and get as many people to respond as we can.

    It's important that the Obama Administration hear from us!

    July 7, 2009
    From National ADAPT:
    Obama Administration Continues Institutional Bias in Healthcare Reform

    Washington, D.C.--- The nation’s largest grassroots disability rights organization, ADAPT, expressed outrage today at the Obama administration’s selective endorsement of one piece of proposed long term care legislation while refusing to support a companion measure aimed at eliminating the institutional bias in Medicaid for aging or disabled lower income people that Obama, with strong support from over 80 national disability and aging organizations, co-sponsored as a Senator.
    read more...

    July 6, 2009
    Attention Youth and Parents in Southeastern Pennsylvania: Share your successful transition story!
    The Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRN) is interested in reaching youth/young adults receiving SSI/SSDI and their parents from Southeastern Pennsylvania who want to share their transition stories. Sharing your transition story will help other individuals and families learn what is possible and will help education officials and others to better appreciate the importance of transition issues.
    read more...

    July 1, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Healthcare Reform Legislation Needs the CCA!
    NCIL needs you to get involved!

    As we reported in the action alert last week, NCIL has been busy educating its members and members of Congress about the importance of including Long-Term Care Reforms in the Health Care Reform legislation. The legislative process continues to happen at a furious pace, and now the U.S. House of Representatives has taken up the legislation by proposing a “tri-committee” draft proposal of legislation to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system.
    read more...

    June 26, 2009
    Disability Discrimination at Clothing Retailer
    Riam Dean, 22, has sued retailer Abercrombie & Fitch for over $40,000 in damages. The former clerk says A & F discriminated against her because she wears a prosthetic arm due to congenital limb deficiency. Dean, a law student, says she was told that she'd violated the company's "Look Policy" and was forced to work in a back stockroom where customers could not see her.

    Is Abercrombie and Fitch going overboard with company policies that force a young woman with a prosthetic arm to be hidden away from customers? Or is the company merely exercising its right to present its brand in the manner that it sees fit: Clothing worn by young, attractive, able-bodied, and mostly Caucasian men and women?

    More...

    June 21, 2009
    "Fund People First!" Update
    June 11th

    Philly ADAPT, along with other PA ADAPT chapters and numerous other disability advocacy groups from across the state, participated in the FUND PEOPLE FIRST Rally at the Capitol in Harrisburg. The event was sponsored by Disabled in Action of PA (DIA) and the Disability Rights Network of PA (DRN).

    We informed PA legislators that we cannot allow a state budget that would take away our services and throw us into nursing homes!
    read more...

    June 19, 1009
    Action Alert:
    Health Care Reform Bill & CCA
    Please call in Pennsylvania Allyson Schwartz (Phila.) on the Ways and Means Committee, Mike Doyle (Pittsburg) on the Energy and Commerce Committee, Joe Pitts (Lancaster) Energy and Commerce Committee, Tim Murphy (Pittsburg) Energy and Commerce Committee and in New Jersey Frank Pallone (Long Branch) on Energy and Commerce Committee and Bill Pascrell (Paterson) on the Ways and Means Committee to include Community Choice Act in the Health Care Reform bill as a demonstration Project.

    It is urgent if we have any chance of getting CCA in. Pallone and Murphy have not signed onto CCA but they still can help and attach this to Health care Reform bill. Send this to anyone who can help.

    Sincerely,

    Nancy Salandra
    LRI Director of Independent Living Services


    June 18, 2009
    Event Invitation:
    2009 Independent Living Resource Fair, Thursday, June 25th

    Hosted by Liberty Resources Inc

    Please join us from 12p-3p at:

    714 Market Street
    Sovereign Building Atrium
    Philadelphia, Pa 19106

    This is a wonderful opportunity to personally meet representatives of various providers of personal assistance services, community integration, peer counseling, adult day programs and more!

    Some of the providers to attend include:

    Moss Clubhouse
    JEVS
    Beechwood
    Mainline Rehab
    Bayada Nurses
    Maxim
    CritiCare
    Moriarty Consultants
    Family Matters Adult Day
    Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses
    Firstaff Nursing
    Personal Touch
    Golden Health Services
    Preferred Home Health Care
    Granny’s Helping Hands
    Protocall
    Home Care Associates
    Ridgeway Phillips Homecare
    Home Helpers
    RCM
    Infinite Care
    Senior Care Center
    Unlimited Staffing


    June 17, 2009
    Action Alert
    The Community Choice Act (CCA) is the KEY to Freedom!
    We know the Community Choice Act (S683/HR1670) is the KEY to freedom for Americans with disabilities and older Americans!

    Unfortunately this message has not yet gotten through to the Senate Finance Committee and Senator Max Baucus who is chair of that committee. Senator Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee staff have been very clear that they do NOT plan to address the institutional bias as part of healthcare reform.

    read more...

    June 10, 2009
    Action Alert
    Fund People First Rally
    Sponsored by Disabled in Action of PA and Disability Rights Network

    No Cuts!

    Tell Legislators to Say NO to Cutting Vital Programs

    •Mental Retardation Consolidated Waiver

    •Community Mental Health Budget

    •Act 150 Program

    •ACP, OBRA, Independence, COMMCARE, Michael Dallas, and PDA Waivers

    •Funding for CILs

    •SSI Supplement

    THURSDAY, JUNE 11th, 12:00 NOON

    HARRISBURG CAPITAL, EAST ROTUNDA

    (Fountain Entrance beside Cafeteria)



    June 3, 2009
    Action Alert
    National Call-In Day June 4th


    Call Your Representatives TODAY and tell them to Include the Community Choice Act (HR 1670) in Health Care Reform to end to the institutional bias!

    Call-In Information:

    Thursday, June 4 (Between 9AM and 6PM EDT)

    Call-In Number: 1-800-828-0498 (Toll Free)
     
    You will be connected with the Capitol switchboard. You must provide the switchboard with the name of your Representative to be connected. If you do not know their name you can find out by clicking here and entering your zip code http://capwiz.com/rochestercdr/dbq/officials/. Here is a sample script for your message:

    "Hello (state your name and where you are calling from). I'm calling to ask Representative ______ to help make sure that the Community Choice Act (HR 1670) and long-term services and supports are part of health care reform. Long-term services and supports are essential to the health, well-being, and community participation of individuals with disabilities and seniors. The Community Choice Act (HR 1670) would end to the institutional bias within Medicaid and give Americans a REAL CHOICE in where they receive long term services and supports. Thank you."

     Background:

    Congress is working on legislation to reform America's health care system. Long-term services and supports are essential to individuals with disabilities and seniors and must be included in health care reform.

    Key issues include:


    Under federal law, states are required to provide funding for institutional placements, but community-based services are optional.

    There is an institutional bias within Medicaid that denies Americans with disabilities and seniors an equal choice for home and community services.

    The CMS website reports that over 300,000 people in nursing facilities want to return to community living.

    Hundreds of thousands of individuals with disabilities and their families are on waiting lists for Medicaid home and community-based services.


    May 21, 2009
    The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations monthly public meeting


    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHO: Commissioners of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations: Kay Kyungsun Yu, Esq., Chairperson, Nicholas D. Torres, Vice Chairperson, Rabbi Rebecca T. Alpert, Regina Austin, Esq., Thomas H. Earle, Esq., Marshall E. Freeman, Fernando Chang-Muy, Esq., Sarah E. Ricks, Esq., and Rue Landau, Esq., PCHR Executive Director.

    WHAT: The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations to convene its monthly public
    meeting at Liberty Resources. The Commission is expected to hear concerns of alleged discrimination of the disabled community.

    WHEN: Friday, May 22 – 9:30 a.m.

    WHERE: Liberty Resources, 714 Market Street, Suite 100, Wade Blank Conference Room on the 2nd Floor.

    The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations will convene its monthly public meeting and is expected to hear concerns of alleged discrimination of the disabled community. In addition to voting on cases of alleged discrimination, the Commission will hear reports of its activities during the past month. Established under the Home Rule Charter, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) 1) administers and enforces all statues and ordinances prohibiting discrimination, and 2) conducts educational programs promoting equality and understanding among the City’s diverse populations.




    May 19, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Today is PA Primary Day!
    Today (Tuesday, 5/19) is Primary Day in Pennsylvania. Polls are open from 7 AM-8 PM. Your grassroots level of government is your local government! Vote Tuesday, May 19, for the party candidate you wish to see on the ballot in November.

    Philadelphia residents are choosing District Attorney candidates as well as Judges.

    "VOTE as if your life depends upon it—because it does!"
    --Justin Dart

    May 5, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Sign the Petition: Tell Obama to Pass the Community Choice Act


    Please take a minute and sign this petition – Tell Obama to Pass the Community Choice Act (CCA – S. 683 H.R. 1670).

    Click the link below to view the petition.
    Sign the CCA Petition

    Targeting: the President of the United States, Members of the U.S. Senate and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

    Message: This action alert is designed to tell the Obama Administration and Congress that health care reform is incomplete without including long term services and supports through passage of the Community Choice Act. The Community Choice Act would reform Medicaid to increase access to community-based services and supports for all Americans. It would provide individuals with disabilities in institutions and nursing homes the option to receive community-based services and help address waiting lists by providing guaranteed access to a community-based benefit within Medicaid. It would also fix the institutional bias in Medicaid, liberating people from institutions and supporting them to live empowered lives within the community.

    May 5, 2009
    Stimulus Checks for Nursing Home Residents: Who Keeps the Money? Residents!


    From the Center for Medicare
    Advocacy


    www.medicareadvocacy.org



    In May 2009, nearly every nursing home resident in the country will receive a one-time cash benefit of $250. The cash benefits are provided as a result of §2201 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, also known as the Stimulus Act).

    Unfortunately, the Center for Medicare Advocacy has heard that some nursing facilities are telling families that facilities, rather than residents, will receive and spend the stimulus money. This is incorrect. Another issue arises if residents' payments are automatically deposited in facility accounts. In these instances, facilities will need to take action to assure that stimulus payments are properly credited to residents. Advocates should ensure that residents receive and are freely able to use the full amount of their stimulus payments.
    read more...

    April 29, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Today is "Pass the Community Choice Act Day"
    The toll free number for the Capitol switchboard is 1-800-828-0498. Please ask your elected U. S. Representatives and Senators to Cosponsor the Community Choice Act (S-683 and HR-1670) and push their leadership to either pass it now or make sure that it is included with the overall Healthcare Reform Package. People with disabilities are needlessly being institutionalized every day. The Community Choice Act will allow them to receive services in their homes and communities if they choose to do so.


    April 29, 2009
    ADAPT Action Update:
    99 Arrested as ADAPT Blocks Independence and Constitution Avenues on the Hill, then Crawls Up the Capitol Steps



    Washington, D.C. --- ADAPT, the nation's largest cross-disability, grassroots disability rights organization, took the fight to include long-term services in Health Care Reform up to Capitol Hill today. On Monday, Obama administration officials made it clear that the administration was not going to provide leadership on getting long-term services included in health care reform, saying it was up to Congress
    read more...

    April 29, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Act Now! Tell Congress to Include the CCA in Healthcare Reform!


    In addition to supporting immediate passage of the Community Choice Act, NCIL, ADAPT and other organizations also support including the CCA in the healthcare reform proposals currently being drafted by Congress.

    To support this effort, ADAPT met with the White House Health Care Czar Nancy-Ann DeParle on Monday. She told members of ADAPT that President Obama as a candidate supported the CCA, but the Administration does not support CCA being a part of the overall health reform effort. In response, ADAPT activists chained and handcuffed themselves to the Whitehouse fence, and arrests were made!

    Act Now! Contact:



    • · Representative Rangel (Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee);

    • · Representative Waxman (Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee);

    • · Senator Baucus (Chairman of the Finance Committee); and

    • · Senator Kennedy (Chairman of the Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee).



    Email Senator Kennedy: http://kennedy.senate.gov/senator/contact.cfm

    Fax Representative Waxman: Fax (202) 225-4099

    Representative Rangel: https://forms.house.gov/rangel/forms/contact.shtml

    Senator Baucus: http://baucus.senate.gov/contact/emailForm.cfm?subj=issue


    Ask them to include the CCA in long term care services for people with disabilities as part of healthcare reform. Remind them that the institutional bias in this country is a national problem and all Americans should have a choice in where they receive long term care services. Research has proven home and community based services (HCBS) are affordable and that most people want to stay in their own homes within their own communities, surrounded by their families and friends.

    The Community Choice Act of 2009 (CCA) was introduced March 24. The bill numbers are S.683 and H.R. 1670. Thanks to all of your hard work, we already have 16 co-sponsors in the Senate and 54 in the House of Representatives! However, our work is far from over!

    April 29 is Community Choice Act Day: Disability and Labor Advocates Unite! Join NCIL, ADAPT and SEIU in passing the Community Choice Act!

    On Wednesday, April 29, join the fight to pass the Community Choice Act (CCA)! Whether you are in Washington, DC or around the United States, your help is needed. ADAPT, SEIU and NCIL, with the support of Philadelphia-area Local 1199C are working together for a historic march and lobby day to pass the CCA!

    If you will be in DC on April 29, and want to march to Capitol Hill and lobby with us, meet us at 9:30 am sharp at the Holiday Inn located at 550 C Street SW. We will be marching rain or shine so dress appropriately. You will be assigned to a "color team" to stay with as you march and lobby, so be sure to look out for the people doing team assignments. Wear a t-shirt to represent your organization or your disability pride! This event will run until at least 3 pm.

    If you will not be in DC, but want to coordinate a Hometown CCA Day, we need your help! Gather up all the advocates you know to contact your legislators in DC and their home offices. You can call, fax, or e-mail your elected officials. If your elected officials support the CCA, thank them! If your Representative or Senators are not signed onto the bill, tell them the current situation in your state. Waiting lists are growing and services are being cut. Doing this as a group makes the work a lot more fun. The morning of April 29th will be the ideal time to do this. If you and your organization participated in the CCA Kickoff in March, this is a great follow up event. Let's make 2009 the year we FREE OUR PEOPLE!

    For more information about the CCA and ADAPT, see www.adapt.org.

    April 28, 2009
    ADAPT Action Update:
    Arrests at the Whitehouse Protesting for the Community Choice Act
    There was a protest in front of the White House yesterday in which a large crowd of protesters called on the President to support alternatives to nursing homes for the elderly and people with disabilities. Ninety-one of the protesters were arrested and other given citations. Most of the demonstrators were in wheelchairs. Read about it below and see photos and a video.

    Something close to 400 protesters, almost all of which were in wheelchairs, protested in front of the White House yesterday. The angry demonstrators had gathered there from all over the country. They were protesting that Obama has not given support to the Community Choice Act as part of his health care reform package. The bill would amend the Social Security Act in order to provide disabled Americans with the ability to use federal funding to receive community-based care as opposed to having to be admitted to nursing homes.

    Read the full article and see video click through to Blue Star Chronicles


    read more...

    April 24, 2009
    Kerrigan Class Action Notice: Accessible Polling in Philadelphia

    SUMMARY NOTICE OF PENDENCY OF CLASS ACTION

    AND NOTICE OF HEARING AND PROPOSED SETTLEMENT


    IF YOU ARE A PERSON WITH A MOBILITY DISABILITY

    ELIGIBLE TO VOTE IN PHILADELPHIA, YOUR RIGHTS MAY BE

    AFFECTED BY A CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT


    A settlement has been proposed in a class action lawsuit concerning the accessibility of Philadelphia polling places to eligible voters who have mobility disabilities.  The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania authorized this notice.  The Court will have a hearing to decide whether to approve the settlement.  This Notice summarizes the proposed settlement and provides you with information about the hearing and your right to participate and to object to the settlement.


    read more...

    April 15, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Foxwoods Casino Press Conference
    There will be a Press Conference today at City Hall held by Mayor Nutter and
    Councilman DiCicco regarding the Foxwoods Casino (proposed casino to be develop at the Gallery or above what used to be Strawbridges).

    No Casino in the Heart of the City Coalition will be at the press conference and we would like as many of you to join us as possible. LRI's Board of Directors has taken a position to oppose the Foxwoods Casino.

    Location: City Hall, second floor
    Date: Wed. 3/15/09 (today)
    Time: 2:15pm

    April 13, 2009
    The following alert is from the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania:

    Representative Sturla, Majority Policy Chair, will introduce a funding reform bill based on the report commissioned by DRN, ELC, and The Arc of PA, and recommendations of our special education funding reform coalition, during the last week in April.He is currently seeking co-sponsors for this important legislation and we urge your action and support in making that happen.
    read more...

    April 2, 2009
    Action Alert
    Take Action: Help Get the Community Choice Act Passed!
    Don't delay! Call Senator Casey’s office and tell him that if he works to get the Community Choice Act passed, nursing homes will get smaller.  Call Gillian R. Mueller, his legislative Aide, at 202-224-6324.

    read more...

    April 1, 2009
    Action Alert:
    Seniors, people with disabilities and home care attendants call on Governor to create Consumer Workforce Council


    Seniors, people with disabilities and home care attendants call on Governor to create Consumer Workforce Council

    Over 200 people with disabilities, seniors, and home care attendants marched
    and rallied alongside legislative leaders at the State Capitol for
    access to reliable homecare (HARRISBURG, PA)

    In an effort to
    make reliable home care an option for more Pennsylvanians, hundreds of
    people with disabilities, seniors, and home care attendants gathered in
    Harrisburg today, April 1st, at 1:30pm, at the back of the Pennsylvania
    Capitol, for a rally and lobby day asking Governor Rendell to build the
    Consumer Workforce Council.
    read more...

    March 30, 2009
    INFORMATION AND ACTION ALERT
    Help Educate Members of Congress about a Bill that Limits Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Disabilities
    Summary:
    On March 3, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) reintroduced a bill
    (H.R. 1255) that would limit the ability of protection and advocacy
    systems to protect individuals with developmental disabilities in
    institutions.  The bill was introduced and referred to the Judiciary
    Committee.  The Voice of the Retarded (VOR), a parent group strongly
    supporting this legislation, is making a strong push to get cosponsors
    for the legislation.  We need to help educate members of Congress about
    the true nature of this bill and urge other members of Congress to NOT
    co-sponsor or in any way support this bill.
     
    Background:
    This bill was introduced in the 110th Congress but no other action was
    taken.  There is no corresponding Senate bill.  H.R. 1255 is harmful to
    people with disabilities because it limits the ability of advocates to
    protect people in ICF/MRs from abuse and neglect. 
    read more...

    February 24, 2009
    Liberty in the News
    Give disabled a home choice


    Cassie James Holdsworth and Nancy Salandra are, respectively, director of policy and advocacy and director of independent-living services for Liberty Resources.


    The Community Choice Act has been languishing in Washington for 15
    years, despite the considerable benefits - in both lifestyle and
    finances - it would yield for many Americans.


    read more...

    January 28, 2009
    Consumer Workforce Council in the News


    On Wednesday, January 28th, the crisis in our long term care workforce made
    the news when a major New York Times
    editorial
    pointed to the costs of underpaying home caregivers.  Read the
    article here, and then tell your friends and
    family
    that now is the time to fix the home care crisis in Pennsylvania
    read more...

    February 18, 2009
    Liberty in the News
    Anti-Casino Protest at Rendell's City Office
    By Jennifer Lin
    INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

    Several large church
    groups stepped up their opposition today to a slots parlor in Center
    City, joining an anti-casino protest outside the Philadelphia offices
    of Gov. Rendell.

    About 50 people, including the head of the
    influential Black Clergy of Philadelphia, chanted "No Slots" and held
    up anti-casino signs in English and Chinese at the Bellevue building,
    which is also the headquarters of the real estate trust that owns the
    Gallery mall.

    Last September, the partners behind the Foxwoods
    casino said they would move the slots parlor from the waterfront in
    South Philadelphia to space in the Gallery mall.


    read more...

    February 6, 2009
    Action Alert
    Stimulus Package - CILs funds endangered!


    We (LRI, Philly ADAPT, and D.I.A.) will be going to the Federal Building (6th and Market) at 2pm to ask Senators Specter and Casey to keep these funds in the bill.  Could you free-up some of your staff to join us?

    We’ll be meeting at the LRI Lobby at 2pm.

    ACTION ALERT

    DC people report to us that the vast majority of disability related funding that was passed as part of the House Stimulus Package is endangered, and will be jettisoned in the Senate version of the bill.

    Programs like Independent Living funding, IDEA funding, Vocational Rehabilitation, and other disability program funding are all on the chopping block.
    read more...

    February 5, 2009
    NCIL Action Alert
    Act Immediately: Ask Congress to Retain IL Funding in the Economic Recovery Conference Report!

    Background: Centers for Independent Living received funding in both the House and Senate versions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but the Senate is currently attempting to strip all funding not related to immediate employment and infrastructure projects.

    Senate Democratic leaders conceded they do not have the votes to pass the stimulus bill as currently written and said that to gain bipartisan support they will seek to cut provisions that would not provide an immediate boost to the economy. 
    read more...

    January 5, 2008
    Disabled protected by law--again

    The Americans with Disabilities Act, the fundamental civil-rights
    protection for people with disabilities, was restored to its original
    purpose as of Jan. 1. It's important to understand why that restoration
    was necessary, and what it means for both disabled and non-disabled
    people.
    read more...

    December 29, 2008
    Liberty Housing Development Corporation in the News

    Today, philly.com's Business & Money" section features a nice article about Liberty Housing Development Corporation, which includes an interview with its Executive Director, Bruce Connus.

    Click here to view the article...

    November 3, 2008
    Election Day is Finally Here!
    Polls are open in PA from 7:00 AM-8:00 Pm. No matter how long you need to wait in line—VOTE as if your life depends on it, because it does! (Justin Dart)

  • Remind every person you speak with by telephone or in person to vote. Long lines can be discouraging, some people may think their one vote doesn’t mean much. Remember, in 2000, V.P. Gore lost to Gov. Bush in Florida by just 537 votes. EVERY VOTE DOES COUNT.

  • The frequently talked-about “Voter Dress Code” is not the rule in Pennsylvania etc. Local Exception: Montgomery County has announced voters wearing pins and hats favoring one candidate will be asked to remove such items before entering the polling place. The County has also indicated, however, that if someone is wearing a shirt or other garment with political statements, the voter will be allowed to vote rather than be sent home to change clothes. TO BE SAFE: Leave your political paraphernalia at home or in your car when you go to vote.

  • If you have a consumer who needs a ride (including accessible transport) to the polls on Tuesday, we do have two numbers you can provide to your consumer to make arrangements. CALL any member of the Independent Living Services Team for the numbers.

  • Remember, if any one has a problem exercising their Constitutional right to vote, call 1-866-OUR VOTE (687-8683).

    PHILADELPHIA RESIDENTS NOTE: The Department of Justice has announced that its Civil Rights Division plans to deploy more than 800 federal observers and Department Personnel to 59 jurisdictions in 23 states for the Nov. 4, 2008, general election. PHILADELPHIA is one of these jurisdictions.

    Although state and local governments have primary responsibility for administering elections, the Department is charged with and committed to protecting

    The rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day, and to preventing and prosecuting voter fraud.

    Throughout Election Day, Civil Rights Division staff members will be available via a toll-free number to receive complaints related to free and fair ballot access including allegations of voter intimidation or coercion targeted at voters because of their race, color, national origin, religion or disability. Philadelphia voters who face any problems at their polling place can call: 1-800-253-3931 (TTY line 1-888-305-3228).

    December 8, 2008
    D.C.'s Streets, Blind Injustice
    By John Kelly, Washington Post

    Jim Dickson had the feeling empty cabs were zipping past him without stopping as he stood at 17th and L streets NW the week before last, his hand raised for a taxi. He didn't know for sure, though. Jim is blind. Standing next to him was his 3-year-old black Lab guide dog, Pearson.

    I watched for a few minutes as taxis -- their rooftop lights lighted, their back seats vacant -- ignored Jim and Pearson, then I walked up and suggested he might have better luck at the Mayflower Hotel's cabstand.

    More...


    October 18, 2008
    Home-care workers need help, too

    A letter to the Editor from the Consumer Workforce Council in today's Inquirer:

    We found Michael Vitez's story about Karen Goroncy, a home-care worker who has no health insurance, and her client, Larry Smith, heart-wrenching but all too familiar ("Falling Through: A caregiver is denied medical care," Oct. 6).

    Clients such as Larry often lose home-care attendants because attendants need jobs that provide health-care benefits and fair wages. CEOs and union officials don't always see eye to eye, but we're joining here to ask Pennsylvania to create a Consumer Workforce Council (CWC) made up of seniors and people with disabilities and focused on improving long-term, home-based care instead of more expensive nursing-home care.

    The council would ensure that home-care attendants could earn health benefits and better wages while not jeopardizing consumer control of home-care services. CWCs have saved money in other states.

    Thomas H. Earle
    CEO, Liberty Resources, Inc.

    Jesse Wilderman
    Executive vice president,
    SEIU Healthcare
    Pennsylvania

    Click here for to go to the original publication

    October 17,2008
    HUD, PHA agreement settles yearlong feud
    By Jennifer Lin
    Inquirer Staff Writer


    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development agreed yesterday not to change how it funds the Philadelphia Housing Authority, ending a yearlong feud between the two agencies.

    In a signed agreement, PHA will maintain its so-called "Moving to Work" status and will continue to have spending flexibility over $347 million in federal aid.

    In return, PHA said that over the next four years it would make sure 760 units of housing were upgraded to be fully accessible for people with disabilities.

    More...


    October 10, 2008
    Victory Alert:
    Mayor Nutter Agrees to Downsize and Close Philadelphia Nursing Home

    To ADAPT, everyone at Liberty,our friends and Consumers--we scored a victory! Mayor Nutter committed to 1) downsize, 2) watch out for residents safety 3) close PNH.

    When German Parodi asked him how many residents would come out, Mayor Nutter answered "as many as possible!"

    Of course there is a lot of work that lies ahead of us, but the entire tone and respect was truly different. We could not have done this without your support and all of the solders in ADAPT.

    Carl Green is going to give Liberty 25 housing vouchers and 25 public housing opportunities, which will be a good start for the folks who want out. Liberty already had 18 vouchers for some of the residents before we got this set aside for PNH.

    The Hospital Association is telling the Mayor that there are not enough nursing homes in Philadelphia, but we were able to educate a little about that. We will do some research that will show them that there are plenty of nursing homes. They are very interested in working with as many providers as possible, and of course Liberty will be part of the team.

    We are scheduled to have another meeting in December and are going to help them put together a team. They have a staff person acting as the team coordinator for transitioning.

    October 8, 2008
    Philadelphia ADAPT Meet with Mayor Nutter Reviewing His Plan to Downsize and Close Philadelphia Nursing Home
    PRESS RELEASE
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    On October 9, 2008 at 9:30AM, ADAPT’s Philadelphia Chapter will be meeting with Mayor Nutter at City Hall to review his plan to downsize and close the Philadelphia Nursing Home (PNH). On the week of August 18 – 22, 2008, Philadelphia ADAPT camped outside of Philadelphia Nursing Home at 2100 West Girard Avenue. Thirty members of Philadelphia ADAPT slept outside overnight sending the message to Mayor Nutter that ADAPT wants him to transition 50 People out of PNH in the next 6 months, close the beds permanently, and continue this until PNH is closed. The demonstration culminated on Friday, August 22, 2008 with Mayor Nutter stating, “I do not want to be in the nursing home business”, and “want to down size and close it.”

    A meeting is scheduled for this coming Thursday. Since that time, we have seen a nation wide media recognition and response to the indignity of living in nursing homes and the abuses that transpire within them through a September 29, 2008 New York Times article, “Violation Reported at 94% of Nursing Homes” by Robert Pear and the September 30, 2008 ABC World News with Charlie Gibson report about nursing home abuse.

    The New York Times article noted that inspections are not reliable because, the “inspection system was broken. ‘It does not reliably measure quality”. In addition it stated that, “Researchers have found that people receive better care at homes with a higher ratio of nursing staff members to patients”.

    We ask that members of the media to be present for this historical event to witness Mayor Nutter keep his word and make history in The City of Brotherly Love.

    For more information, contact German Parodi, 215-971-0660
    germanparodi@libertyresources.org
    or Disabled in Action at 215-627-7255.


    October 7, 2008
    Victory Alert:
    A One Step Campaign Victory!

    Liberty's One Step campaign is working! Old Nelson Food Company Now has a ramp! Previously, the Old Nelson Entrance was inaccessible to many with disabilities because of a single step up to the entrance.

    Old Nelson Food Company is located at 701 Chestnut Street (Click here for map).

    Old Nelson's MENU

    Ramp

    Facade










    October 7, 2008
    Action Alert:
    Tell Governor Rendell: It’s Time for the Consumer Workforce Council!
    Action AlertSeniors, people with disabilities, and the workers who support them are standing together to make sure people get the long term care they need in their homes – not just in nursing homes.

    That’s why Pennsylvania’s largest Centers for Independent Living, senior advocacy organizations and home care workers’ unions support the Consumer Workforce Council.

    A Consumer Workforce Council will expand home care options for seniors and people with disabilities -- while improving wages and providing health benefits for the direct care attendants who serve them.
    Let the Governor know that you support the Consumer Workforce Council for Pennsylvania!

    Click here and listen as German Parodi, a homecare consumer and Josephine Jordan, his attendant, tell you why they support the Consumer Workforce Council!

    Seniors and people with disabilities like German Parodi understand that we need a retainable, reliable workforce to provide Pennsylvanians with the long term care they need. “If we build a reliable, retainable attendant workforce, I can keep the same attendant for a long period of time,” says Parodi. “The attendant gets to know me, and I get to know the attendant, and it is a comfortable relationship."

    Click here to tell Governor Rendell: We want a Consumer Workforce Council now!

    “I talk regularly with home care workers who need better wages, health care, and the right to organize to be able to provide the best care possible,” continued direct care attendant Josephine Jordan. “That’s why I’m fighting for the Consumer Workforce Council, which will preserve the independence of seniors and people with disabilities, while helping direct care attendants like me to earn a living wage.”

    It's time for home care -- and the retainable, reliable workforce people with disabilities and seniors need. Click here to tell Governor Rendell: We want a Consumer Workforce Council now!

    Sincerely,
    YOUR ORGANIZATION HERE

    PS -- Seniors, workers, and people with disabilities who want Pennsylvania to create a Consumer Workforce Council are making the news. Listen to this report on WHYY-FM, Southeastern Pennsylvania’s public radio station:
    http://www.whyy.org/podcast/news/reports20081002homecare.mp3

    And read this feature in Al Dìa:
    http://www.pontealdia.com/local/home-care-attendants-ask-for-a-better-salary-and-benefits.html

    PS -- Want more information about the Consumer Workforce Council? Visit www.choosehomecare.org!


    October 7, 2008
    Liberty in the News:
    LRI's German Parodi featured in Al Dìa Newspaper
    German ParodiFollowing last Wednesday's Consumer Workforce Press Conference, Liberty's own German Parodi was featured inAl Dìa newspaper.

    Por Gustavo Martínez / Redacción AL DÍA
    16:33 | 10/02/08

    For personal assistants of persons with disabilities to receive better wages and benefits… that is the mission that the new Consumer Workforce Council (CWC) has mind. “This effort stems from the philosophy of independent living”, said Germán Parodi, Independent Living expert for the Liberty Resources organization, which advocates for the rights of the persons with disabilities.

    “We want to help many people to stay in the community, and out of the institutions and shelters and to keep those that are in the community there with the help of personal assistants”, he said.

    Click here to read the full story


    October 2, 2008
    Disabled seek state support for home care help
    From WHYY:

    Disabled and elderly Pennsylvania residents want more say when it comes to choosing and managing their home care attendants. They're asking the state to establish a board to protect the rights of those requiring long-term care. WHYY's Susan Phillips reports.


    audio

    October 2, 2008
    People With Disabilities Speak Out In Support of Home Care and the Consumer Workforce Council
    CWC Logo“We’re fighting to live in our homes, not nursing homes, and to choose and manage our own caregivers. Home care agencies and nursing homes treat us like patients, not people. We’re standing together for home care – and for the Consumer Workforce Council in Pennsylvania!” – Cassie James, Disability Rights Advocate

    On Wednesday, October 1st, people with disabilities, seniors, direct care attendants, and community advocates came together to speak about the future of long term care in Pennsylvania. A coalition of stakeholders in Pennsylvania’s long term care system has organized to support the creation of a Consumer Workforce Council (CWC) – a consumer-driven board charged with protecting the rights of seniors and people with disabilities who direct their own care – while ensuring that the attendants who support them can advocate for living wages and health benefits.
    Developed by stakeholders who are working to protect the rights of workers alongside home care consumers, the Consumer Workforce Council is endorsed by a coalition of the largest disability rights groups, senior advocacy organizations, and health care workers’ unions in the state.

    Members of this coalition held a press conference after a Consumer Advisory Council meeting at Liberty Resources. Seniors, workers, and longtime disability rights advocates in attendance, spoke out on the crisis in home care in our state and the proposed Consumer Workforce Council. Among the speakers were ADAPT's German Parodi and Cassie James, Henry Nicholas of 1199C AFSCME, and Josephine Jordan, a home care attendant and longtime advocate for disability rights.

    German ParodiParodi (left), who uses attendant care himself, spoke passionately saying, "if we build a reliable, retainable attendant workforce, I can keep the same attendant for a long period of time. The attendant gets to know me, and I get to know the attendant, and it is a comfortable relationship".

    “Governor Rendell needs to understand that seniors, direct care workers, and people with disabilities are the real stakeholders when it comes to making decisions about our own care,” said Cassie James of Philadelphia ADAPT, a longtime advocacy group working for the rights of people with disabilities in Philadelphia and nationwide. “Home care agencies are really worried about protecting their profits. We’re worried about protecting people as they stay independent in their homes and communities – and consumers’ rights to hire and employ their own attendants. We know this crisis firsthand, and that’s why we’re supporting Pennsylvania’s Consumer Workforce Council.”

    The Consumer Workforce Council was designed by a diverse Consumer Attendant Workforce Steering Committee convened during the summer of 2008. After weeks of research and discussion, the Committee, led by longtime consumers of home care services and the direct care workers who provide those services, recommended that the state establish a Consumer Workforce Council. This CWC will work to promote home care options for seniors and people with disabilities by improving wages and providing health benefits for direct care attendants.

    “Home care support is essential to my ability to be active in Philadelphia, and to volunteer my services at organizations around the city,” said Marshall Brown, a person with disabilities who formerly worked as a home care attendant.
    “I talk regularly with home care workers who need better wages, health care, and the right to organize to be able to provide the best care possible to the consumers we support,” continued direct care attendant Josephine Jordan. “Seniors and people with disabilities deserve the best. That’s why Marshall and I are fighting together for the Consumer Workforce Council, which will preserve the independence of seniors and people with disabilities, while helping direct care attendants like me to earn a living wage.”

    Major organizations endorsing the Consumer Workforce Council include the AARP of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Alliance of Retired Americans, Voices for Independence, Liberty Resources, Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living, Disability Options Network, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, 1199C AFSCME, the Action Alliance of Senior Citizens, and Philadelphia ADAPT.
    “Philadelphia and communities across the state are watching their elderly populations grow fast,” said Adele Butler of the Action Alliance of Senior Citizens. “When I need support, I want to live in my own home – not in a nursing home. Everyone deserves that same choice – and that’s why I support the Consumer Workforce Council.”

    To read a full set of Frequently Asked Questions on home care in Pennsylvania, visit choosehomecare.org

    Click here for photos


    September 29, 2008
    New York Times: Violations Reported at 94% of Nursing Homes
    By ROBERT PEAR
    Published: September 29, 2008

    WASHINGTON — More than 90 percent of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards last year, and for-profit homes were more likely to have problems than other types of nursing homes, federal investigators say in a report issued on Monday.

    About 17 percent of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused “actual harm or immediate jeopardy” to patients, said the report, by Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Problems included infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition and abuse and neglect of patients.

    More...


    September 26, 2008
    Including People in Institutions as "Homeless"
    Steve Gold's Information Bulletin #262

    Steve GoldThis is a very brief FYI. Last week in the NY Times, it was reported that "lawmakers in Congress are debating who should be considered homeless."
    This is a very important definition, because different Congressional and HUD programs are targeted to persons who are "homeless" and are denied to persons who do not meet the definition.

    The NY Times stated that the House and Senate are considering an expansion of the definition "to include people precariously housed: those doubled up with friends or relatives or living day to day in motels, with money and options running out." Also being discussed is whether to include "families in desperate need of stable housing" or "people fleeing their homes because of domestic violence and those who can prove they will lose their housing within 14 days."

    More...

    Back issues of other Information Bulletins are available online at www.stevegoldada.com with a searchable Archive at this site divided into different subjects.

    To contact Steve Gold directly, write to:
    stevegoldada@cs.com
    or call 215-627-7100.



    September 26, 2008
    A message from Nancy Salandra following the 9/25 Inclusionary Zoning Rally
    What a great day! Thank you all for your participation-- without those that helped prepare for and attended the rally, today’s results would not be possible. Councilman Clarke said for the first time in public that he is committed to moving forward on the second part of the IZ legislation to make it actually work, to get more money for permanent, affordable, accessible and integrated housing. Stay tuned for the next move by the Philadelphia Campaign for Housing Justice to make this legislation a reality, because we will need your help.

    Thanks again,

    Nancy Salandra

    Click here for photos


    50 Arrested as ADAPT Takes Affordable, Accessible Housing Crisis to Congress
    Washington, D.C.--- ADAPT activists fanned out on the Hill today to hit congressional leaders who can help solve the housing crisis for low income people with disabilities. Visits to the offices of Rep. Barney Frank (D, MA), a longtime leader on housing issues, and Senators Chris Dodd (D, CT) and Richard Shelby (R, AL), the Chair and ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs resulted in a total of 50 arrests.

    "Last year Rep. Barney Frank told us that he could get 500 housing vouchers from HUD that would be targeted to free people with disabilities who live in nursing homes and other institutions," said Diane Coleman of ADAPT in Rochester, New York. "He repeated that promise for months, and then one day he suddenly says he can't help us. We were also working with him to have funding that pays for segregated housing redirected to support integrated housing. Sen. Frank arranged a hearing on this funding, and not only did he not invite any people with disabilities to testify, he didn't even notify us about the hearing. So, today, we decided to confront him on his broken promises and bad faith."

    "Last year Rep. Barney Frank told us that he could get 500 housing vouchers from HUD that would be targeted to free people with disabilities who live in nursing homes and other institutions," said Diane Coleman of ADAPT in Rochester, New York. He repeated that promise for months, and then one day he suddenly says he can't help us. We were also working with him toB have funding that pays for segregated housing redirected to support integrated housing. Sen. Frank arranged a hearing on this funding, and not only did he not invite any people with disabilities to testify, he didn't even notify us about the hearing. So, today, we decided to confront him on his broken promises and bad faith."

    Shortly after 13 ADAPT members entered Frank's office, he ordered staff to have them arrested, refusing to even discuss the ADAPT concerns, or strategies to address the housing crisis for low income people with disabilities trapped in institutions for lack of affordable, accessible, integrated housing.

    ADAPT went to the offices of Dodd and Shelby because HUD and housing fall under the purview of their committee. Sen. Shelby told ADAPT, "I don't help people who can't help themselves." There were 19 arrests made in Shelby's office. An aide to Sen. Dodd spoke with ADAPT, then declined to put her remarks on paper after indicating she might be willing to do so. ADAPT continued to wait for the written statement, and eventually nearly 25 people were arrested.

    "The TV is full of news about the bank crisis, and the mortgage crisis, and the need for candidates to appeal to middle income people," said Cassie James, Philadelphia ADAPT organizer. "Meanwhile, people who live on disability benefits, and people who are trapped in nursing homes because of no housing are being held hostage while the government bails everyone else out. Rent has gone up so much, it's higher than many monthly disability benefits. Not only do us younger people with disabilities need affordable, accessible housing, older people need it, too. This is a crisis, and we need help to solve it."

    FOR MORE INFORMATION on ADAPT visit our website at www.adapt.org/


    September 19, 2008
    Consumer Workforce Council Proposal Gains Serious Momentum, Approval from Secretary Vito
    The following is the text of a letter from Aging Secretary Sandi Vito approving the Consumer Workforce Council proposal as the alternative to the Quality Home Care Commission:

    September 19, 2008

    Thomas Earle, Esquire
    Chairperson, Consumer/Attendant
    Workforce Steering Committee
    c/o Liberty Resources Inc.
    714 Market Street, Suite 100
    Philadelphia, PA 19106

    Dear Mr. Earle:

    First and foremost, I want to thank you and the other members of the Consumer/Attendant Workforce Steering and Legal Committees for working swiftly to develop an alternative model to the Quality Home Care Commission (QHCC).

    It is readily apparent that significant consideration was given to the drafting of the proposed Consumer Workforce Council and it seems that a number of issues have been addressed in order to improve the model.

    Given the progress made by the Steering Committee -- and the input it sought from various consumers, attendant workers and other stakeholders -- I am pleased to state the QHCC is no longer being developed or pursued. The Consumer Workforce Council proposal -- as presented by the Steering Committee -- will be the basis for further discussions.

    Since the Department’s legal counsel has not yet fully and completely reviewed the CWC draft document, this letter should not be viewed as a binding form of approval but we will continue to work with the Steering Committee and other stakeholders to further discuss the CWC.

    Again, my sincere thanks to you and all involved in the development of this new approach and we look forward to further work with the Steering Committee in order to provide best possible care options for consumers.

    Sincerely,
    Sandi Vito
    Acting Secretary


    For more info on the CWC, visit: http://choosehomecare.org/


    September 12, 2008
    U.S. Senate Passes the ADA Amendments Act
    On September 11, the U.S. Senate passed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 on a voice vote, restoring Congress' original intent to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

    "Today's Senate passage of the ADA Amendments Act gives the nation a glimpse of the legislative process at its highest and best. No narrow partisan politics barred the way to reinstating a vulnerable class of people with disabilities who had been excluded by narrow court decisions from the law's protections – such as those with diabetes, cancer and bipolar disorder," said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, in a statement.

    More...


    ACTION ALERT:
    Inclusionary Zoning Rally at City Hall
    ***Start time changed to 12 noon***

    Action Alert

    Last December, we won a historic victory when City Council passed Part 1 of an Inclusionary Housing bill. However, that bill doesn’t get us a single new affordable housing unit unless we pass Part 2.

    Since Mayor Nutter is saying the city faces massive budget cuts, the timing is right for IZ, which is a way to bring additional resources into city coffers, in order to provide affordable housing to those who are most in need.

    IT’S TIME TO GET IT DONE!!!

    Join with the Philadelphia Campaign for Housing Justice for a RALLY FOR INCLUSIONARY HOUSING* IN PHILADELPHIA.

    Thursday, September 25 – 12:00 noon (Please note the time change)

    Dilworth Plaza, City Hall, Northwest corner

    *INCLUSIONARY HOUSING is an affordable housing policy that requires builders of market-rate housing to include a fair percentage of affordable housing units in their developments or to contribute to a fund dedicated to affordable housing (an “in-lieu fund”)



    ADAPT Action Alert:
    ADAPT's 'Operation DUH'
    Action AlertOn Monday, September 15th, hundreds of ADAPT disability rights activists from across the country took over the plaza in front of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The activists are targeting HUD with this 'tent city' action because people with disabilities are in a housing crisis. There simply is not enough housing that is accessible, affordable, and integrated for people with disabilities.

    ADAPT activists have taken this message to the Democrats and Republicans.

    Eleven ADAPTers were arrested Monday afternoon at the National campaign headquarters of Senator John McCain.

    To support these activists and to make this action work, ADAPT needs your help! We need the candidates for President and those for Congress to here from YOU - the VOTERS of this NATION!


    Use this
    LINK to send a letter to the Candidates for President and the Candidates for Congress in your district! Then send this action alert link to EVERYONE you know!

    Here's the link in full: http://capwiz.com/rochestercdr/issues/alert/?alertid=11928371&type=ML&show_alert=1


    ADAPT Action Alert:
    ADAPT is going to DC! Stay informed up to the minute no matter where you are!
    Action Alert
    ADAPT is going to be in Washington, DC, September 13th -18th!

    Have you always wanted to know what ADAPT was doing? Do you want real time quick updates instead of waiting for the full-story press release after the dust has settled? Do you want to know when vital new info has been posted on the web regarding ADAPT's actions?

    Well, have we got the thing for you!

    NationalADAPT has established an account on "Twitter". Twitter is a free service that will allow us to communicate instantly with activists across the nation through the web and through text messages to cell phones.

    Get All the latest info and even more importantly, share it with your friends, family, coworkers, activists and even your enemies!

    Here's how:

    Sign up for Twitter and to follow NationalADAPT by clicking here.

    You will need to create a username and a password and enter the code that appears on the screen. If you are blind, or have low vision, you may need someone enter the code for you because your screen reader will not be able to read the code, and the audio is of poor quality (sorry, beyond our control).

    Spread the message to your friends:

    After you have clicked on "I Accept", you'll be asked to invite friends to use Twitter. You can suggest they follow NationalADAPT, or skip this for now.

    Turn on your mobile:

    You can always check NationalADAPT's updates on the web version of Twitter, but we are really encouraging activists across the country to get our text messages on their phone to know when anything important happens with ADAPT actions between September 13th and 18th.

    Click on option 3-turn on your mobile phone. Enter your info and give it permission to send text messages to your phone. After you enter your information, you will be taken to a page where you'll need to verify that your phone is on. Twitter will ask you to send a specific code to 40404.

    To do this, you can create a new contact in your phone address book (you can call it Twitter) and enter the number that they provide. It's a 5-digit number. There are also some letters on the page. Send a text to the number, entering the letters exactly as you see them. You will receive a confirmation that your phone is on.

    Get NationalADAPT updates on your phone:

    After that, click on the link that says Home. It's near the top right on the screen. It will take you back to the National ADAPT Twitter page, and give
    you the option to turn on your device (phone) to receive updates. Please click on the on button so that you can receive updates.

    You should now be all set to get updates on your mobile phone! Stay in touch AND LET OTHERS KNOW what ADAPT is doing as it happens!

    FREE OUR PEOPLE!!

    Chris Hilderbrant
    Rochester ADAPT
    childerbrant@rochestercdr.org


    Groundbreaking Coalition Introduces “Consumer Workforce Council” for Home Care in Pennsylvania
    Initiative to Improve Wages and Provide Health Benefits for Direct Care Workforce Will Allow for More Home Care Options for Seniors and People with Disabilities

    A coalition of direct care attendants, people with disabilities, seniors, and advocates announced a new initiative to deliver additional home care options to thousands of Pennsylvanians. They have proposed the creation of a Consumer Workforce Council – a consumer-run body with a mandate to stabilize and improve consumer-directed care.

    This Consumer Workforce Council would be charged with protecting the rights of seniors and people with disabilities to direct their own care, in their homes, while ensuring that the attendants who support them can advocate for higher wages and health benefits. The Council was designed by a Consumer Attendant Workforce Steering Committee convened by the Commonwealth during the summer of 2008. The Committee will present its vision of expanded home care services to Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Labor and Industry, Sandi Vito, on September 5th.

    More...

    Or clixk here to read previous posts about the Consumer Workforce Council

    September 4, 2008
    Liberty in the News:
    Mayor Nutter Claims Misquote on PNH Agreement
    "They Said, He Said"

    A group of activists says the mayor promised to get Philly "out of the nursing home business." The mayor believes he was misunderstood.

    by Andrew Thompson, City Paper

    CONFUSION

    By Aug. 22, the protestors had been camped outside of Philadelphia Nursing Home for five days. Most of them were paraplegic and confined to electric wheelchairs, and the only two tents were occupied by the able-bodied, so when the chanting and slogan-shouting ended at around 7 or 8 p.m. each night, they would simply recline in their chairs to sleep. A few feet away, a giant banner was spread on the barrier of PNH: "MAYOR NUTTER TEAR DOWN THESE WALLS." Behind those walls, the protestors said, was an institution that "warehoused" people, letting them languish in bedsores and human- and rodent-excrement. They wanted Philadelphia "out of the nursing home business."

    More...


    ADAPT Promises Pre-Election Surprises in D.C. to Get Community Choice Act Passed
    Washington, D.C.---Over 500 ADAPT disability rights activists committed to getting the Community Choice Act passed during this Congress are coming to town September 13-18 to exert some pre-election pressure on policymakers. The Community Choice Act (S. 799, H.R. 1621) would allow people with disabilities and older Americans to choose to live in their own homes and communities instead of being forced into nursing homes and other institutions by the current institutional bias in the nation’s Medicaid program.

    More...


    An important message from ADAPT's Dale Reid: Tune in tonight for Obama's nomination speech at the DNC
    I got a phone call last night from a woman ADAPT member and all she could do was scream and scream. I was finally able to discern she was telling me about an email from Kareem Dale (disability liason of the Obama campaign) and an honor being shown the ADAPT community. Dawn Russell, representing ADAPT, was invited to sit with the Obama and Biden families tonight.

    All Denver ADAPT has persisted for the past few months in a campaign to get Senator Obama to come to the Home of ADAPT to discuss disability issues and their inclusion in the campaign. The leading activist in this project has been Dawn Russell. During the National Convention Dawn has worked tirelessly to promote the Community Choice Act, CCA, in every venue. She has been at every disability caucus bringing that message, she has been on the floor at the Pepsi Center each night, she has been to every social gathering to which she could get a ticket. And for the past four days she has worn that orange ADAPT Community Choice t-shirt.

    Denver ADAPT and Atlanis have hosted an event for the host committee of the DNC at the Atlantis offices, featuring the ADAPT history museum, disability artist Luann Burke, and disability filmmaker Mart Romero. Two hundred people attended, including the disability community of Denver, Kareem Dale and disability rep on the DNC host committee David Kennedy, and politicos of all types.

    We want every ADAPT member to watch the speech tonight when Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for president of the United States and see our own Dawn Russell sitting on the field (with her orange ADAPT t-shirt) with the families of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Know that this honor has come from all of our hard work to promote CCA, and know that Dawn, representing the rest of ADAPT will continue the push to make CCA a reality!

    Watch to see if Obama mentions and publicly shows his commitment to disability issues and if he deserves our vote.

    It will also be interesting to see next week what the Republicans do regarding disability at their convention in the twin cities.



    The Carousel House, A Recreation Center for People with Disabilities, Presents: The ADA Picnic
    A fundraiser for the Documentary on People with Disabilities

    Featuring Hit House Entertainment's Special Guest:
    PHYLLIES INTRUDERS

    The event will have guest speakers to talk about the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We will have free food for any one that buys a ticket. Tickets will be $20.00 for the public, and $12.00 for anyone that comes to this event from a disability organization. We will have two Hamburgers or Hot Dogs along with two sides. The sides will be Mac Salad, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw and Potato Salad. You will also receive a cold drink with this meal. We will also have Vegetarian Burgers and mechanical soft diets for those in need.

    Date: Sunday September 14, 2008 From 3:00pm to 7:00pm
    Where: The Carousel House at Belmont Avenue & North Concourse Drive. For tickets call Neil Brooks @ 215-559-4051 & Carousel House


    New AARP Report Finds Older Americans Have Limited Access to Home and Community-Based Services under Medicaid
    The report, A Balancing Act: State Long-Term Care Reform, is the first to examine Medicaid spending on long-term care for older people and adults with physical disabilities, separate from other LTC users such as people with mental retardation/developmental disabilities (MR/DD).

    Read more...


    Action Alert:
    Key Senators Need to Hear Your Support for the ADA Amendments Act, S 3406! Your Senators Need to Hear from You in the Next Two Weeks!
    Action AlertPassage of the ADA Amendments Act is not a given. There are still major political issues related to getting this legislation considered before the Senate adjourns. Timing is everything! We need our CILs and advocates to press your Senators to move the ADAAA to the Senate floor in early September and pass it before they adjourn for last minute campaigning.

    If you live in the following states, your help is urgently needed for Senate consideration and passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, S. 3406 this year: please contact the Senators listed to schedule a meeting with them or their staff in the next two weeks.

    Members of the ADA Amendments Act Alliance (http://www.adabill.com/about-us/) have been scheduling joint meetings in their local area to encourage these Senators to cosponsor the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (S. 3406) and ask them to support a floor vote in the Senate on S. 3406 when they return from the August recess.

    Targeted Senators to Meet with in the Next two Weeks:
    Arizona: John Kyl
    Iowa: Chuck Grassley
    Kentucky: Jim Bunning
    Nebraska: Chuck Hagel
    Nevada: John Ensign
    Oklahoma: Tom Coburn
    South Carolina: Lindsey Graham
    Texas: Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn

    You can find your Senatorsʼ contact information through the Senate website:

    http://www.senate.gov by visiting your Senators' web pages, through the Capitol Switchboard at 1-800-828-0498, or (202) 224-3121 and asking to be connected to your Senatorsʼ offices, or checking the blue pages in your local phone book for their state office contact information.

    Talking Points for Phone Calls:

    "I am calling to express my strong support for the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, S. 3406. This bill would protect people with disabilities and provide a clear definition of disability under the ADA for employers. Over 220 national organizations disability and business associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the HR Policy Association support the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, S. 3406. These supporters recognize that this legislation that will ensure all Americans have a fair opportunity to secure employment. I urge you to support (or thank you for supporting) the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 and hope that the Senate will vote on this critical legislation in early September."

    Current Cosponsors:

    Alexander, Lamar (R-TN), Allard, Wayne (R-CO), Barrasso, John (R-WY), Bennett, Robert F. (R-UT), Biden, Joseph R., Jr. (D-DE), Boxer, Barbara (D-CA), Brown, Sherrod (D-OH), Brownback, Sam (R-KS), Burr, Richard (R-NC), Cardin, Benjamin L. (D-MD), Casey, Robert P., Jr. (D-PA), Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA), Clinton, Hillary Rodham (D-NY), Cochran, Thad (R-MS), Coleman, Norm (R-MN), Collins, Susan M. (R-ME), Craig, Larry E. (R-ID), Crapo, Mike (R-ID), Dodd, Christopher J. (D-CT), Dole, Elizabeth (R-NC), Durbin, Richard (D-IL), Enzi, Michael B. (R-WY), Feingold, Russell D. (D-WI), Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA), Gregg, Judd (R-NH), Hatch, Orrin G. (R-UT), Isakson, Johnny (R-GA), Johnson, Tim (D-SD), Kennedy, Edward M. (D-MA), Kerry, John F. (D-MA), Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN), Kohl, Herb (D-WI), Landrieu, Mary L. (D-LA), Lautenberg, Frank R. (D-NJ), Leahy, Patrick J. (D-VT), Levin, Carl (D-MI), Lincoln, Blanche L. (D-AR), Lugar, Richard G. (R-IN), Martinez, Mel (R-FL), McCain, John (R-AZ), McCaskill, Claire (D-MO), Menendez, Robert (D-NJ), Mikulski, Barbara A. (D-MD), Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK), Murray, Patty (D-WA), Nelson, Bill (D-FL), Obama, Barack (D-IL), Reed, Jack (D-RI), Reid, Harry (D-NV), Roberts, Pat (R-KS), Salazar, Ken (D-CO), Sanders, Bernard (I-VT), Schumer, Charles E. (D-NY), Smith, Gordon H. (R-OR), Snowe, Olympia J. (R-ME), Specter, Arlen (R-PA), Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI), Stevens, Ted (R-AK), Sununu, John E. (R-NH), Tester, Jon (D-MT), Thune, John (R-SD), Voinovich, George V. (R-OH), Warner, John (R-VA), Wyden, Ron (D-OR).

    Background Information

    On Thursday, July 31st Senator Harkin (D-IA) and Orin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, S 3406, which builds on the House-passed ADA Amendments Act (which passed the House overwhelmingly in June by a 402-17 vote) in a way that maximizes bipartisan consensus. NCIL strongly supports S 3406 and urges disability advocates to call their two Senators and schedule meetings to urge them to cosponsor and support S 3406. If one of your Senators is already a cosponsor, thank him or her for doing the right thing! For more information, visit http://www.adabill.com/

    Let NCIL know what your lawmakers and their staff say. Please contact NCIL Policy Analyst Deb Cotter by email mailto:deb@ncil.org with "S.3406 Senate Follow up" in the subject line or by phone (202) 207-0334, ext. 1008. Thank you!


    August 24, 2008
    ADAPT Phila. Nursing Home Action:
    Media Retrospective 8/18 - 8/23/2008

    In the past week, we have posted many items about ADAPT's encampment at the gates of Philadelphia Nursing Home. For your convenience, we have collected the news and video links below as a retrospective on the successful Action.

    Shernell and Marsha at PNH

    NEW! Photo gallery

    View videos taken by ADAPT members at PNH

    View a montage of news clips about the action

    Download a radio interview from Disability Nation

    Philadelphia Inquirer Article

    Fox News coverage


    SHERNELL PIERRE (foreground) and Marsah Thrower (left), disability-rights activists, demonstrate yesterday in front of Philadelphia Nursing Home. They and others vere sleeping on the sidewalk outside the facility and say they'll stay until the city helps find homes and services for the disabled residents living in "horrible conditions" at PNH.
    Photo by Jessica Griffin/Daily News




    Liberty in the News:
    ADAPT Action radio interview available for download
    You can download an .mp3 of radio coverage of the ADAPT PNH action from Disability Nation by clicking the link below:

    Click here to go to the download site!


    Fact Sheet:
    Consumer / Attendant Workforce Steering Committee
    This document covers some frequently asked questions that people with disabilities, seniors, and workers have asked about ongoing conversations on the future of home care in Pennsylvania. Much misinformation has been distributed by those who may not have a vested interest in our communities speaking for ourselves. We hope that this document, sent by me on behalf of the Steering Committee on Worker and Consumer-Employer Issues in Pennsylvania clarifies our vision for a better future for consumer-employers and direct care workers alike.

    Tom Earle
    CEO, Liberty Resources

    Click here to read the Consumer/Attendant Workforce Steering Committee FAQ document

    Click here to read LRI's previous article on the Steering Committee.


    LRI on YouTube:
    PNH Action Videos Now Up on Youtube!
    Follow the link below to view a playlist of several videos taken by ADAPT members who camped out at Philadelphia Nursing Home from August 18 -23 in order to get Mayor Michael Nutter to agree to downsize the nursing home.

    Click here to view the PNH Video Playlist at Youtube!

    Click here to view a montage of news clips on the PNH Action!


    Philadelphia Nursing Home Action a success!
    ADAPT would like to thank everyone who supported us, made food, helped us set up, gave money, faxed and called the Mayor, gave supplies, and gave a lift to our spirits. On Friday afternoon, August 22, we visited City Hall and began chanting. After waiting over an hour for the Mayor, he said he will downsize PNH and he wants to get out of the nursing home business. ADAPT will meet with him at the end of September to discuss the details. Now the real work begins to hold him to his statements. We could not have done this without the tremendous support we received.

    Thanks,
    Nancy & ADAPT

    Nancy Salandra at PHA with ADAPT team


    Liberty in the News:
    Philadelphia Daily News "Picture of the Day", Friday, August 22, 2008.

    Shernell and Marsha at PNH
    SHERNELL PIERRE (foreground) and Marsah Thrower (left), disability-rights activists, demonstrate yesterday in front of Philadelphia Nursing Home. They and others vere sleeping on the sidewalk outside the facility and say they'll stay until the city helps find homes and services for the disabled residents living in "horrible conditions" at PNH.
    Photo by Jessica Griffin/Daily News


    PNH ACTION ALERT:
    FAX THIS LETTER TO MAYOR NUTTER TODAY!
    Close Philadelphia Nursing Home!

    Please fax the following letter regarding ADAPT's demands that he agree to downsize and eventually close Philadelphia Nursing Home to Mayor Nutter. It only takes a minute to fax the document to the Mayor and help him understand the situation. The Mayor's fax line is 215-686-6215.

    ===================================================

    To: Mayor Michael Nutter
    Re: Philadelphia Nursing Home
    Fax: 215-686-6215

    Dear Mayor Nutter:

    The Disabled Community is shocked and appalled at the response to our requests to downsize and finally close Philadelphia Nursing Home. You know we are not trying to make people homeless nor endanger lives.

    There are plenty of resources available to help people transition out of Philadelphia Nursing Home. The State of Pennsylvania Department of Health and Welfare are already working on a Pilot Project; Money Follow The Person, which is redirecting money from institutions to People with Disabilities living in the community.

    Currently, the state spends over $80,000 a year per patient in Philadelphia Nursing Home. That money would be more than adequate to allow people to live independently in their homes, in the community and receive services such as Attendant care, community integration and a whole support network from people who have been in the Philadelphia Nursing Home and who is now living independent lives in the community. There are agencies that help people get services in their own homes throughout the City of Philadelphia such as: Liberty Resources, Homemaker Services for the Metropolitan area, Jewish Employment Vocational Services and United Cerebral Palsy to name a few. Philadelphia Housing Authority has allotted vouchers for People with Disabilities. There is money that the City can get through Shelter Plus Care Services from Housing and Urban Development.

    You claim that Philadelphia Nursing Home passed inspection even though the Medicare Website shows that Philadelphia Nursing Home has higher incidents of bedsores, depression and people losing weight. You need only to walk in and see the horrible conditions there. You only need to read reports of people who have drank bleach, people sleeping in their own waste and having dirty needles left on their beds.

    Mayor Nutter, you can work with us. There are plenty of people who have come out of Philadelphia Nursing Home who now live happy, productive lives in the community. Please, step up to the plate, be a leader, and learn about how you can help.

    Sincerely,



    PNH ACTION ALERT:
    We need your help in getting Mayor Nutter to agree to close Philadelphia Nursing Home!
    The advocates fighting to downsize or close PNH down need your continued support in getting the message across to the Mayor. Please take a few minutes to call Mayor Nutter. Make your voice heard and keep the pressure on him to take action!


    Mayor Nutter's Office: 215-686-3000 or 215-686-2181


    Liberty in the News:
    Philadelphia Nursing Home Action
    August 18, Day 1

    Protesters seek to close Phila. Nursing Home
    By Lloylita Prout, Inquirer Staff Writer


    Marshall Brown at PNH
    Above: Marshall Brown, ADAPT

    "Our Homes! Not Mental Homes!" is the message on the shirt of Marshall Brown.

    Brown and eight other members of Philadelphia ADAPT, a disability rights group, began a sit-in around 9 a.m. at Philadelphia Nursing Home, 21st Street and Girard Avenue, near Girard College.

    By 11, the contingent had grown to 15, most of them in wheelchairs.

    "There is no justice for someone in a nursing home," read a sign held by one of the demonstrators.

    The group's goal is to persuade Mayor Nutter to help find homes for 50 or so disabled residents over the next six months, then get out of the nursing-home business, according to Zachary Lewis, 26, a spokesman for ADAPT.

    click here to read more from the Inquirer...

    Click here for Fox News coverage




    NATIONAL COUNCIL ON INDEPENDENT LIVING
    comment on revisions to the ADA!
    Your Comments Urgently Needed!

    The Department of Justice recently issued major proposed revisions to its regulations implementing Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    Some of DOJ's changes are excellent, and urgently needed. It is important that the disability community laud these, to support DOJ against industry attack. Good proposals include adoption of the new 2004 ADAAG, stronger hotel reservation and ticketing provisions, recognition of psychiatric service animals, additional companion seating in theaters and stadiums, and stronger provisions for effective communication for people with hearing, visual, and speech disabilities.

    However, there are also many draconian changes that would radically reduce the rights of people with disabilities. For example, DOJ proposes:

    A significant weakening of the readily achievable barrier removal requirement for public accommodations;
    A significant reduction of elements required to be accessible in state and local government facilities;
    An exemption for all existing facilities from the new recreation and playground rules; The Department has declined to issue regulations on accessible medical equipment.

    To see draft comments, visit www.ncil.org and www.dredf.org/DOJ_NPRM. To submit comments go to www.ada.gov.



    Join the ARC of Philadelphia in rallying against Tropic Thunder
    Join the The Arc of Philadelphia along with the many Partner Organizations across the nation for a National Rally for Respect.

    We are boycotting the content of a recent movie called “Tropic Thunder.”

    We want to provide information to the public on the “R” word and other issues around dignity for people with Intellectual Disabilities.

    Meet at The Riverview Theater on Columbus Blvd, South Philadelphia, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.

    We are joined across the nation with:
    The Arc of the United States
    National Coalition on Self Determination
    National Down Syndrome Society
    Self Advocates Becoming Empowered
    TASH and many other partner organizations

    For more information, contact: Donna at 215-229-4550 ext 112
    www.arcpddc.org



    Liberty's CEO, Tom Earle, Throws Out First Pitch at the Phillies Game, Gets Called Henry
    At Thursday's game against the Florida Marlins, the announcers may have gotten Tom Earle's name wrong, but Tom got everything right. The Liberty CEO threw the game's first pitch masterfully, avoiding embarrassment and a blooper reel legacy. The ball dropped nicely into Brett Myers catcher's mitt with the sweet slap of leather on leather, greatly impressing the Phanatic. Check out the video:





    Making It Real: Seniors, People With Disabilities, and Workers Join Consumer/Attendant Workforce Steering Committee
    Seniors, people with disabilities, and the workers who support them are joining together to develop a structure that will promote a reliable and retainable home care workforce that’s right for Pennsylvania. And by fighting to re-balance the long term living system, seniors and people with disabilities will have the choices they deserve when it comes to their services.

    For too long, people who get their services in the community have struggled because they can’t find or retain workers. With many new consumers – some under 60 and many over 60 – wishing to remain in their communities, the demand for caregivers will only increase, making the problem worse.

    Today, people who care about community integration have the historic opportunity to address this problem. Alongside Pennsylvania's Secretary of Labor and Industry Sandi Vito, a Steering Committee comprising consumers, attendants, advocates, and workers will work to create a blueprint for a Pennsylvania home care initiative grounded in the principles of consumer control, self-direction, community integration, and fairness.

    Members of the Steering Committee are drawn from a wide variety of stakeholder organizations, including Centers for Independent Living, ADAPT, the AAAs, AARP, the Homecare Association, SEIU, 1199C AFSCME, Disability Rights Network, and many others. Individual consumers – both over and under 60 -- and direct care workers are also participating. They are supported by a legal team with expertise in the rights of people with disabilities and seniors, in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid system, and labor law.

    “We have an amazing opportunity to fix our long term living system,” says Kathy Lind, a Pennsylvania American Association of Retired Persons member. “People with disabilities want to change our system from one centered on nursing homes to one focused on people’s homes, just like seniors do. And we all need a workforce we can rely on to make the promise of community living real. We are finally working together, and this time we’ll win!”


    Liberty in the News:
    WBRE News Features a Story About a Liberty Resources Consumer
    Follow the link for video of the segment:
    http://pahomepage.com/media_player.php?media_id=33621

    Visit WBRE at:
    http://pahomepage.com


    You Can Help Support DIA's Efforts to get the Mayor to Commit to Closing Philadelphia Nursing Home
    URGENT SUPPORT NEEDED

    To encourage Mayor Michael Nutter to make a commitment to downsize and eventually close Philadelphia Nursing Home (PNH), Disabled In Action (DIA) will be staging an indefinite 24 hour demonstration outside the walls of PNH beginning on August 18.

    In order to make this demonstration a success we need your support in the following ways:

    1. Cash donations to purchase supplies.

    2. Definite commitments from people who would be willing to provide food for breakfasts, lunches or dinners. Breakfasts could be coffee, bagels, donuts, granola bars, and juices. Lunches could consist of sandwiches, salads, fruit etc. Dinners could be chicken dishes, hotdogs, hamburgers, salads.

    3. Water each day

    4. Spray bottles, sunscreen lotion, bugspray.

    5. Your physical presence for as many hours as you can join us.

    6. Ask your churches, mosque or temples and any other organizations you know who might be willing to help us out.

    If you would like to help, please contact Cecilia Ramnathsingh at 215-634-2000 extension 240


    Amendments to ADA will return act to its original intent
    From the Philadelphia Inquirer / philly.com:

    Eighteen years ago, the first President Bush said: "With today's signing of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, every man, woman and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence and freedom."

    In large measure, he was right: Those doors have come open. Tens of millions of Americans with disabilities now enjoy rights the rest of us have long taken for granted: the right to use the same streets, theaters, restrooms or offices, and the right to prove themselves in the workplace and succeed on their talent and drive alone.

    We all understand why there are curb cuts at every street corner, kneeling buses on our city streets, ramps at movie theaters, and accessible restrooms and handicapped parking almost everywhere. By now they've become part of the fabric of life. And we wouldn't have it any other way, because each one is the sign of a pledge: the promise of an America that excludes none of its people from our shared life. more...


    What do You Want to Hear from the next President in his Inaugural Address?
    The Constitution Center wants to ask Americans in this election year what one thing they yearn to hear from the next President when he (and it most likely will be ”he”) stands up next January 20 to give his inaugural address.

    They are asking people to write down those desired presidential words, using a Web page they’ve developed. The link for the page is below.

    Responses will be displayed in an exhibit at the center, discussed in a December program with famous speech writers, and if all goes well, sent to the next president’s speech writing team to be reviewed as the winner of the election prepares his Inaugural Address.

    To take part, just click on the following link. It takes just a few moments. When you close the Web page, your submission automatically goes to the Constitution Center. You don’t have to send it to us. In fact, don’t send it to us. If you do have comments about what you liked or didn’t like about the exercise, please DO send them to me at csatullo@phillynews.com. Getting feedback from real people is why we’re doing this test.

    All submissions done as part of this beta test will be included in the full-fledged project, which will be rolled out nationally after Election Day:

    Here’s the link: http://www.hsgadv.com/ncc/addressamerica_1.htm

    Chris Satullo

    p.s. If you have any trouble with the link, that’s probably because you have an older version of the Flash media player. The site offers you a link to install a newer version. Let me know if you encounter any problems.


    Liberty in the News:
    Artists at an unusual studio in Philadelphia blaze a trail for people with disabilities.
    By GWEN SHRIFT
    INQUIRER STAFF WRITER


    A mural in the street-level lobby of a building on Market Street shows what can be done with enough tempera paint and wheelchairs.

    Arcs of color slice across the canvas like blades of grass bent by a passing breeze. No brush made these lines. Artists who cannot walk dabbed paint on their tires and rolled them.

    The lobby belongs to Liberty Resources, an advocacy organization for the disabled, and the artwork doesn't end there. The group's suite of offices in the stately Sovereign Building bloom from top to bottom with clients' work.

    A photo collage in the form of a quilt hangs on a wall on the top floor. Tactile mixed-media pieces decorate a conference room. Another wheel-chair mural splashes a tempera rainbow across an office off the lobby.

    The real action is in the basement, home of an art studio and gallery dedicated to nurturing the talents and financial independence of people with disabilities.
    "This is not a rec program," said Barbara Gregson, who started the Independence Arts Studio last year. "It's taught by professional artists to create professional artists ... People with disabilities can make art a career."

    Art also breaks barriers for the disabled as a whole, said curator Kathryn Pannepacker. "It's about re¬educating the public about who we are as people. We're creating respect, demanding respect."

    The studio brings in teachers like Steve Johnson, a noted portraitist who uses a wheelchair himself, to offer instruction in techniques such as watercolor, acrylic and oil pas¬tels. Students also have done print-making, papermaking and textile art. Many have sold works during past exhibits (another is scheduled for the end of this month.)

    They also offer silk pillows and velvet scarves painted with dye, which among other works are currently available from a cart stationed outside on Market Street. Art is expected to also be sold online in the future.

    Work is accomplished in the wide-open basement of the Sovereign Building, where a ramp and specially built easels accommodate wheelchairs and adaptive devices are available for virtually any disability.

    These include a wooden shoe like invention to which a brush can be attached to allow a person to paint with his or her foot. A "helmet brush" — which actually looks like a cap made of straps — can be worn on the head by a painter who has no use of hands or feet. Pannepacker is working to develop an accessible loom for textile art.

    Some may need this kind of help, but art is more than physical technique, as Steve Johnson shows during a class in acrylic painting.

    He has the group working on a view of City Hall, a challenging subject loaded with shadows, architectural detail and multiple perspectives.

    "We're going to do a few windows on this side, and a few details on the other side," said Johnson. "Do your sidewalk on this side, just make a light line.

    Remember, this is an impressionistic painting, so we're not going to worry about making it straight.... a dab of purple, a dab of red, a dab of blue — this is going to be a dark brownish-purple."

    Tim Taylor produces a painting that resembles the teacher's example, but stands on its own as well. He paints precisely defined lines to indicate ledges on the buildings and lays down color fields with a keen sense of contrast to render the French Second Empire exuberance of City Hall's tower.

    Taylor, 47, said he has been painting "Since I was livin'. I love it... I like landscapes, and I like freestyle art, like abstract, because there's a lot that's hidden in abstract. It's all up to your imagination."


    McCain Agrees to Participate in Ohio Presidential Candidates Forum by Videoconference.
    Attention Shifts to Convincing Obama to Make a Similar Commitment

    With just a few days left until the Presidential Candidates Forum on July 26th in Columbus, Ohio, we need advocates to increase the pressure on Senator Barack Obama to attend the forum. Thanks to the hundreds of advocates that have used the Center for Disability Rights' (CDR) website, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) has received commitment from Senator John McCain to participate in the entire forum, via satellite. Senator Obama's campaign team has yet to commit and is offering a surrogate speaker instead. This is not acceptable! Even though Obama will be out of the country, there is no reason why they can't make a similar commitment to McCain and participate by satellite. There are certainly many other alternatives and commitments available to the campaign other than “sorry” and “here’s our surrogate.”

    Click on the link to the CDR website below:

    http://capwiz.com/rochestercdr/issues/alert/?alertid=11638076

    Send the message as is, or feel free to edit it to convey additional information so Senator Obama can understand our community's concern. Fill in the boxes with your contact information. When done, click the “Send Message” button.

    If appropriate, forward the alert to advocates who are most likely to take action in your group or network.


    NCIL ACTION ALERT:
    The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act passed both Houses of Congress; the President has issued a Veto
    Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed a new Medicare bill that would address our concerns on competitive bidding, wheelchair purchasing, complex rehab wheelchairs, and physician reimbursement rates. NCIL, United Spinal, and Families USA, as well as other advocacy organizations are working with bipartisan members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to reform proposed Medicare policies that will have disastrous consequences for people with disabilities who are reliant upon Medicare.


    The President vetoed the bill this morning and the disability community needs to step up and stop this injustice by telling our Representative and Senators to override the President's veto.


    Follow this link to United Spinal and tell your Senators and Representative that you support H.R. 6331, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act. You can also call 1-800-828-0498 and ask to speak to your elected Representatives. Tell them your personal stories about how difficult it is to obtain healthcare with Medicare and the process it takes in order to obtain proper durable medical equipment in a timely manner.

    This is our issue! If we do nothing, we only have ourselves to blame. Pick up the phone or send an e-mail today.


    If you need more information contact Elizabeth Leef at Elizabeth@ncil.org or call 202-207-0334.



    URGENT: LAST MINUTE DEMONSTRATION, THURS. JULY 10!
    WHAT: National Governors Association Celebrates its 100th Anniversary

    ACTION: To encourage our governors to support Community Choice.

    WHEN: Thursday, July 10, 2008

    WHERE: DoubleTree Hotel, Broad and Locust Streets

    TIME: Meet at Liberty Resources at 10:00 AM. March together to the DoubleTree at 10:30 AM. Demonstration ends at 2:00 PM.

    MORE INFO: Each State receives Federal Medicaid dollars to distribute. DIA/ADAPT wants the Governors to know how much better life is for a disabled person living in the community rather than in a nursing home. Governors CAN direct Medicaid money to community-based services.

    Any questions contact:
    Zachary Lewis, 215-634-2000 ext. 233 or
    Denerale Jones, 215-634-2000 ext. 295


    Avoiding Foreclosures
    LRI’s Housing Advocacy Department is taking part in Philadelphia’s model effort to prevent people from losing their homes – an issue that is impacting many of our Consumers. Philadelphia is taking the lead among urban areas across the country to address the foreclosure crisis. Click the link below to read an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer regarding avoiding foreclosures.
    http://www.philly.com/inquirer/currents/20080706_Editorial__Avoiding_Foreclosures.html


    ACTION ALERT:
    Convince Obama & McCain to Attend Ohio Presidential Candidates Forum on the Anniversary of the ADA
    July 9, 2008

    This action alert comes to us from Brad Williams of NYSILC

    We are three weeks from the Presidential Candidates Forum on July 26th in Columbus, Ohio. AAPD has been talking to both Senator Obama's and Senator McCain's schedulers but they do not have a firm commitment from either candidate. This is not acceptable! It is time to start real pressure.

    Action: Click on the link to the CDR website below:
    http://capwiz.com/rochestercdr/issues/alert/?alertid=11553991&type=CU&show_alert=1

    Use the text message provided. Feel free to edit or add to it to convey your message, especially to elaborate about an issue that is important to you. Fill in the information boxes with your information. When done, click the "Send Message" button.

    If appropriate, forward the alert to advocates who are most likely to take action in your group or network.


    Liberty in the News:
    Mayor Nutter Announces Philadelphia's New Human Relations Commissioners, Including LRI CEO Thomas Earle
    On Tuesday, July 8, Mayor Michael Nutter held a press conference in his reception room at City Hall to announce the eight Commissioners who will sit on the City's reinvigorated Human Relations Commission. Among the diverse group, which includes representatives of the Muslim, Jewish, and Lesbian and Gay communities, is Liberty's own CEO, Tom Earle--the first person with a disability to serve on the Commission.

    Mayor Nutter promised that the new commission would be "a more active, vigorous, engaged and involved entity. It's just a whole new ball game."

    Click here for the full article on philly.com.


    H.R. 3995 HARMS IMPORTANT DISABILITY RIGHTS PROGRAMS


    Urge your Member of Congress to oppose this damaging bill

    Congressman Barney Frank recently introduced legislation that is supported by VOR (the Voice of the Retarded) which would place restrictions on the ability of Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) to protect the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities who live in intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded (ICF/MRs) from abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, Congressional staff may not understand about the work of P&As, or other partners under the DDAct, and 36 Members of Congress (including some civil rights luminaries) have cosponsored this bill. We must stem the tide!

    For instructions on how you can take action and for a sample letter template, visit DRNPA's "Alerts" page.


    NCIL Members Take Action: Tell Senators to Pass the ADA Amendments Act, HR 3195 Before July 26th, the 18th Anniversary of the ADA!
    Call or fax a letter to your Senators and tell them to vote for the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, HR 3195 as passed by the House on June 25th. This bill, HR 3195, has been changed to reflect the deal the business and disability communities reached. Below is a sample phone script and letter. Tell the Senate to Pass the Bill with no Changes, No Amendments!

    Sample Phone Script
    [Call: 1-800- 828-0498 or (202) 224-3121]

    "I am calling to express my strong support for the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, H.R. 3195. This bill would protect people with disabilities and provide a clear definition of disability under the ADA for employers. The ADA Amendments Act is supported by over 100 national disability organizations and many key business associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the HR Policy Association. These supporters recognize that this legislation that will ensure all Americans have a fair opportunity to secure employment. I urge Senator to support the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 as passed by the House."

    Sample Letter to Fax*
    Click Here for a Directory and Contact Information.

    *US mail sent to Congress can be delayed by up to four weeks because of security screening. Also, because the Senate receives so many emails, some Senators have chosen to block email. Given time constraints, phone calls and faxes to Senators are preferred.

    Dear Senator:

    I urge you to support the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, H.R. 3195, as passed by the House of Representatives.

    The Americans with Disabilities Act has transformed the nation since its enactment in 1990. The ADA was intended to protect people with disabilities from discrimination at work and in public life. Over the last decade, the promises and protections of the ADA have dissolved for people with disabilities. Judicial decisions over the last decade have excluded people with conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease and bipolar disorder - those who Congress clearly intended to protect under the ADA in 1990 - from seeking protections against employment discrimination under the ADA.

    The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 will re-establish these protections. This legislation is supported by over 60 national disability organizations, including the National Council on Independent Living, and many key business associations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the HR Policy Association.

    The ADA Amendments Act would give employers and people with disabilities tools for successful integration into the workplace and society. Please join in this historic partnership and help ensure that the ADA once again covers the people Congress intended to be covered. People with disabilities depend upon it. I urge you to support the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 as passed by the House.

    Sincerely,

    [Name]


    For more ADA Restoration and ADA Amendment Act news, please visit http://www.ncil.org/news/ADARADeal2.html.

    For more information, contact NCIL Policy Analyst Deb Cotter by email deb@ncil.org with “ADA Amendments Act” in the subject line, by phone (202)207-0334, ext. 1008.



    LRI / PCIL Action Alert: Tell the Legislature to Support Independent Living

    We Must Act Now!
    BACKGROUND
    State legislative leaders and the Governor are negotiating the final state budget. They must continue to hear from the ENTIRE Independent Living Community that CIL funding and attendant care funding is important. This document gives you all the information you will need. Please take action. It’s easy and fast.

    What THE INDEPENDENT LIVING COMMUNITY Needs to Do
    Your local CIL is partnering with the PA Statewide Independent Living Council and Pennsylvania Council on Independent Living to organize separate EMAIL and Call-in Days. Your participation in both is critical.

    EMAIL CAMPAIGN
    Starts Friday, June 20

    In just seconds, EVERYONE can send an email to legislative leaders and their local Representative and Senator through the Action Center on the PA Statewide Independent Living Council’s website. The step-by-step process is very easy.


    1. Go to www.pasilc.org and click “Contact your Legislator” in the center.

    2. Complete the simple information form. The system needs your home address to automatically identify your legislators.

    3. The text of the email is already written for you.
    4. Click send. The email is automatically sent to legislative leaders and your local Representative and Senator.

    5. Encourage other Independent Living supporters to also send emails.

    CALL-IN DAY
    Monday, June 23

    10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    Please set aside about 20-30 minutes to make several phone calls. Your message must be clear and short. You will likely only have a moment on the call:

    “Hello, my name is (SAY YOUR NAME). I am a consumer of Independent Living services of the (STATE THE NAME OF YOUR LOCAL CIL). I live in [insert name] county. I am a voter and a taxpayer.

    In the proposed budget, CIL funding was once again threatened to be cut. It is crucial that $450,000 that is proposed to be cut is restored. Also, while other sectors of human services have received moderate COLAs in recent years, CILs have not. CILs must start to receive a modest COLA in order to provide much needed services to Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

    We are grateful that restoration and a 3% COLA for CILS that appear in the current House form of the budget under Printer’s Number 3931. They must remain in the final version of the budget.

    Finally, attendant care workers need a 3% COLA. Attendants empower people with disabilities to live in your communities, which saves the state millions on institutional spending. Most attendants are paid less than $10 an hour, so the COLA would help keep and attract more people to the job.

    Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your support on these issues.”


    How to Contact the Governor and Legislative Leadership
    • Governor Edward G. Rendell:(717) 787-2500 or (800) 932-0784

    • Sen. Joseph B. Scarnati III (R), President Pro Tempore: (717) 787-7084

    • Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R), Majority Floor Leader: (717) 787-4712

    • Sen. Robert J. Mellow (D), Minority Leader: (717) 787-6481

    • Sen. Gibson E. Armstrong (R), Majority Appropriations Chair: (717) 787-6535

    • Sen. Gerald J. LaValle (D), Ranking Appropriations Chair: (717) 787-3076

    • Rep. Dennis M. O’Brien (R), House Speaker: (717) 787-4610

    • Rep. H. William DeWeese (D), Majority Floor Leader: (717) 783-3797

    • Rep. Samuel H. Smith (R), Minority Floor Leader: (717) 787-3845

    • Rep. Dwight Evans (D), Majority Appropriations Chair: (717) 783-1540

    • Rep. Mario J. Civera, Jr. (R), Ranking ppropriations Chair: (717) 787-3850

    • Your Local Representative and Senator
      (Look below for how to find your local legislator)

    What has already happened?
    The voice of the Independent Living Community is being heard in the halls of the Capitol. In the last few months, advocates have been attending budget hearings, visited with many legislators, sent a Faces of Independent Living email campaign to all legislators and attended a rally on June 10.

    The feedback from the legislature and administration was clear: the collective voice of independent living is being heard in the halls of the Capitol! This was clear when the state House of Representatives revealed its current version of the budget (often referred to as the “fake budget” because much discussion and change will still occur) on June 11: it contained a proposed $450,000 restoration on the Centers for Independent Living (CIL) line item as well as a first-time cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 3% on the [restored] line item. WE CAN’T STOP NOW!!

    Who is my local legislator?
    When you send an email through the Action Center, the computer system identifies your legislator based on your home address. If you are calling your legislator, you can find their name and number in your local telephone book or visit the legislative web site at www.legis.state.pa.us; then visit the box in the upper-righthand corner of the page titled “Find Members By.” Through use of this box, you can locate legislators by zip code or county.

    Additional Resources Available
    Your CIL received information in earlier emails containing budget and policy attachments, as used during the recent Capitol Day. Also, visit the PA SILC web site at www.pasilc.org for additional information. And, as always, feel free to contact any PA SILC/PCIL staff member with questions or concerns.

    Follow-up with PA SILC/PCIL
    PA SILC/PCIL would like to track the success of Virtual Capitol Day. Please take a moment to email Melissa DiSanto Simmons of the PA SILC at mdsimmons@pasilc.org regarding your governor and legislative contacts through this campaign:
    • Your name, CIL, whether you are a consumer, staffer (title), board member, family member/friend, employer.

    • Time of your call(s).

    • Whom you called and with whom you spoke (name of staffer).

    • The message you shared.

    • Comments made to you during the call.

    • Does the governor/legislator support your issues?
    • Will s/he vote to restore the cut and include a 3% COLA?

    At this time, the budget is scheduled to be voted upon during the week of June 23. If this effort is successful, an additional day may also be chosen during the week of June 23. Stay tuned!



    TAKE ACTION: Attend one of Two House Committee Mark ups on ADA Restoration!
    Your help is needed to fill two House Committee rooms during upcoming mark ups of the ADA Restoration Act of 2007. On the morning of this Wednesday, June 18th two Committees in the US House of Representatives will consider legislation, the ADA Amendments of 2008, that would restore the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, to reverse the negative effect of Supreme Court and lower court rulings that have chipped away at people with disabilities' civil rights protections. As a local advocate for people with disabilities, you play a critical role in helping influence policy makers by showing up in person at these and other Committee events. Lawmakers need to see people with disabilities, a diversity of disabilities, to remind them of the human impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

    This movement by two House Committees is the direct result of the negotiations that the disability and business communities have had over the past several months on a revising the ADA Restoration Act of 2007, H.R. 3195. For information about the negotiated deal, please visit the ADA Restoration Action Hub.

    On Wednesday, June 18th at 10:00 AM, the House Education and Labor Committee (full committee) will hold a mark up in 2175 Rayburn House Office Building. It is essential that we secure great attendance from the disability community on this crucial piece of legislation and NCIL strongly urges advocates to attend!

    House Education and Labor Committee Mark up of ADA Amendments Act
    Wednesday, June 18th at 10:00 AM**
    2175 Rayburn House Office Building
    Click here to visit http://edlabor.house.gov/

    House Judiciary Committee Mark up of the ADA Amendments Act
    Wednesday, June 18th at 10:15 AM**
    2141 Rayburn House Office Building
    Click here to visit http://judiciary.house.gov/

    ** Please arrive early to allow for long lines at building security and lines to enter the Committee rooms. This is a hot topic and it’s important that we show our support of this measure by turning out in force at these and other Committee activities. If you don’t want to get stuck in an overflow room, showing up early is highly recommended.

    ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCE: Main entrance, horseshoe drive off South Capitol Street. Closest Metro Station: Capitol South (Orange and Blue Line Trains). Please do not hesitate to contact NCIL Policy Analyst Deb Cotter, by email at deb@ncil.org or by phone (202) 207-0334, ext. 1008, if you have any questions. Thank you!


    ADA Deal on Tap
    Over the past few months, NCIL Executive Director John Lancaster has had the opportunity to work with his colleagues from over 100 disability organizations to help negotiate a deal to restore the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). NCIL governance, working closely with the NCIL ADA/Civil Rights Subcommittee, agreed to move ahead with the business community and Congressional leaders to reach agreement on legislative language that will restore anti-discrimination provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, reversing several Supreme Court rulings that had eroded these civil rights protections.

    NCIL and the below-listed disability organizations that support the deal are currently working with Members of Congress and their staff to introduce the negotiated deal language in both the House and Senate. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), an original sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, plans to fast track the bill through the House and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), an original cosponsor of the ADA of 1990, will work with the disability and business communities to move this deal, hopefully, a House-passed bill, through the Senate for passage. We will need the full force of our grassroots advocates contacting Members of Congress in support of the ADA Restoration Act Negotiated Deal. Stay tuned for NCIL Action Alerts in the coming days with talking points and Congressional contact information, supporting the Negotiated Deal.

    AAPD is compiling a list of organizations that are supportive of the deal, meaning that they support not only the drafted legislative language but also the negotiation's terms, which mean that we'll defend this language against any amendments that Members of Congress attempt to add that may make it better for either side - unless, of course, both sides agree to the amendments. We urge your organization to sign on as well.

    These organizations that have indicated their support for the proposed ADA Restoration deal with the business community. If your local, state, or national organization would like to add its name in support of the deal, please send an email to JFA Moderator Anne Sommers at indicating your support.

    Background: A handful of disability community and business community negotiators have reached a proposed “deal.” Both communities are now vetting this deal with their constituencies.

    The NCIL ADA/Civil Rights Subcommittee and Executive Committee studied and support the proposed negotiated deal language.

    Please use the following links to learn more about the ADA Restoration Act Negotiated Deal:


    For more information, please contact NCIL Policy Analyst Deb Cotter by email at deb@ncil.org with “ADA Restoration Comments” in the subject line, phone (202) 207-0334, or fax (202) 207-0431.

    Current Signatories to ADA Restoration Proposed Deal (as of June 2, 2008):

    AARP
    AARP Foundation
    American Association of People with Disabilities
    American Council of the Blind
    American Diabetes Association
    American Foundation for the Blind
    American Psychological Association
    APSE: The Network on Employment
    Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
    Brain Injury Association of America
    Council for Learning Disabilities
    Easter Seals
    Epilepsy Foundation
    Hearing Loss Association of America
    Learning Disabilities Association of America
    Mental Health America! National Alliance on Mental Illness
    National Association of Community Health Charities
    National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
    National Center for Learning Disabilities
    National Council on Independent Living
    National Disability Rights Network
    National Health Council
    National Multiple Sclerosis Society
    National Spinal Cord Injury Association
    Paralyzed Veterans of America
    The ARC of the United States
    United Cerebral Palsy
    United Spinal Association


    ALFIE call to Action:
    March to the Governor's Office, Thursday, June 12
    The Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALFIE) along with the Coalition of Advocates for Inclusion (CIA!) are visiting Governors Rendell’s office on Broad Street this Thursday, June 12.

    We are meeting at the Clothes Pin statue at 15th and Market Streets at 11:00 AM and will begin our march to Governor Rendell’s Office on Broad Street at 11:30 AM for a noon visit and press call. This will last about an hour.

    Inclusion Advocates, including ALFIE members and Consumers of LRI, are frustrated that the Governor will not meet with them to come up with a strategy to deliver inclusive education. The current strategy—if there is one—has left PA as the 46th worst state in the country for including disabled kids in regular classrooms, and Philadelphia is one of PA’s worst districts. The Governor is now planning to build a new special school in central PA which ultimately means more segregation everywhere.

    We also want to discuss with the Governor the possibility of introducing a bill which would designate two consecutive weeks in October as Disability History and Disability Awareness weeks. This bill is going through at least 10 states led by young disabled people nationally. We want to create a state wide group which can help the Governor deliver full inclusion in all schools in PA.

    Young people—disabled and non-disabled alike—are our future, and its time they had an education and an upbringing that includes everyone. Please try to attend and support this action.

    Tell Congress to Increase Funding for the Independent Living Program!
    Source: CQ

    The Senate and House have each adopted the Fiscal Year 2009 budget resolution conference agreement, paving the way for Congress to begin work on the Fiscal Year 2009 appropriation bills. The agreement provides $436.6 billion in domestic spending for Fiscal Year 2009, which is $21.1 billion over Fiscal Year 08 and $22.6 billion over the President’s request. The Senate adopted the conference agreement, S. Con. Res. 70, on June 4, and the House adopted the conference report June 5. Both votes were largely on party lines.

    In the Senate, the measure passed 48-45. Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) was the only Democrat voting against the measure, and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) were the only Republican senators voting for it. In the House, the measure passed 214-210 with 14 Democrats voting against the resolution; Representatives John Barrow (D-GA), Dan Boren (D-OK), Don Cazayoux (D-LA), Travis Childers (D-MS), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), Bill Foster (D-IL), Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Baron Hill (D-IN), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Nicholas Lampson (D-TX), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Harry Mitchell (D-AZ), and Patrick Murphy (D-PA) voted against the resolution along with all Republican members of the House.

    Passage of the resolution, which does not have to be signed by the President, represents a significant victory for the Democratic Congress, because the Republican-led Congress was unable to adopt a budget resolution in the last several election years.

    The next step is for the House and Senate Appropriation Committees to develop their 302(b) allocations. These allocations establish the overall amount for each of the 12 appropriation bills, including the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill, which includes funding for the Independent Living Program. The House Labor-HHS-Education; HHS Appropriations Subcommittee is expected to mark up their bill on June 19th with the full Appropriations Committee set to mark up this funding bill on June 25th.

    House appropriators began marking up their fiscal 2009 spending bills Wednesday, starting with two measures that are generally among the easiest to move. The Homeland Security Subcommittee approved its measure by voice vote in the morning, and the Interior-Environment Subcommittee was expected to finish its bill later in the day. The full Appropriations Committee has not released the spending limits that apply to each subcommittee’s bill. But as individual markups proceed, some of those numbers will be made public.

    A standoff over spending between the White House and Capitol Hill is likely to result in Democrats setting aside much of the work on the appropriations bills until after the election, and possibly until the next presidential administration.

    Tell Congress to Increase Funding for the Independent Living Program!

    As Members of the Labor-HHS-Ed Appropriations Subcommittee begin to consider funding for programs under the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, including the Independent Living Program, they need to hear from advocates like you about the important role IL plays in enhancing the lives of people with disabilities. Contact your Members of Congress today, by phone via the Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121, or by faxing them directly. You can obtain your Senators’ and Representative’s direct fax and phone numbers by looking at the online directory.

    On March 13th, NCIL President Kelly Buckland testified before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee. Kelly testified that Independent Living could be properly funded through reinvestment of the millions of dollars it has already saved the federal government through nursing home transition. Read Kelly’s testimony and use it in your talking points and letters.

    Please feel free to contact NCIL Policy Analyst Deb Cotter if you have any comments or questions, and let her know about the responses you receive from you Members of Congress. Email Deb@ncil.org with “2009 IL Appropriations” in the subject line or call Deb at (202) 207-0334, ext. 1008.



    ADAPT Call to Action:
    Moratorium on the Targeted Case Management (TCM) Rule in Danger
    Dear Community Choice Supporters:

    Please read the Alert below. The Case Management rule moratorium bill is part of the war spending bill. There are attempts to take out some of the provisions that we have advocated for. Please take Action.

    The ADAPT Community
    TO: Members of the CCD Health and LTSS Task Forces

    The moratorium on the targeted case management (TCM) rule is in grave danger of being dropped from the House Supplemental war appropriations bill.

    Please ask your networks to call offices of Democratic members and urge the members to contact the leadership (Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Majority Whip Clyburn, Caucus Chair Emanuel, Appropriations Committee Chairman Obey, and Reps. Becerra, Van Hollen, DeLauro and Rep. George Miller) and urge them to keep the TCM rule in the FY 2008 war supplemental appropriations bill.

    Message: "Thousands of vulnerable children and adults with disabilities will be harmed if the targeted case management rule remains in effect. States cannot afford to make up these cuts during this economic downturn. Please keep the moratorium on the targeted case management rule in the supplemental appropriations bill.

    We only have a very short window of opportunity to get this done. We may have only Monday 6/9 to turn this around.

    If possible, please ask your networks with Republican members who voted for H.R. 5613 (the bill that included the moratoria on all 7 rules) to contact White House Chief of Staff Bolton and urge him to accept a bill with the TCM moratoria.

    Thanks for all your help.
    Liz

    Liz Savage
    Director, Health and Housing Policy
    Disability Policy Collaboration - A Partnership of The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy
    1660 L Street, NW Suite 701 Washington, DC 20036
    Phone: (202) 783-2229
    Fax: (202) 783-8250
    savage@thedpc.org

    NATIONAL ADAPT MAILING LIST - Adapt Community Choice Act List
    http://www.adapt.org



    PRESS RELEASE
    Governor Rendell Says PA Receives First-In-Nation Federal Waiver to Serve Adults with Autism

    May 22, 2008 – Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced that Pennsylvania has been approved for a first-of-its-kind federal waiver program to provide home and community based services specifically for adults with autism.

    The $20 million-a-year waiver program, which is xpected to serve up to 200 individuals 21 years of age and older with autism, was approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Prior to its approval, no dedicated services existed for adults with autism in Pennsylvania.

    “This landmark program marks the first time that the federal government has approved the use of federal Medicaid funds to provide individual and family-based services specific to adults with autism,” Governor Rendell said. “Prior to the establishment of this waiver program, there was nothing designed for people with autism once they reached the age of 21.”

    Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle B. Richman, a consistent champion for Pennsylvanians with autism, said the new waiver program was one of the five main recommendations of Pennsylvania’s Autism Task Force. Under Richman’s tenure, DPW appointed its first director of autism affairs and established the Bureau of Autism Services, which also were major recommendations made by the task force.

    The waiver program will give adults with autism and their families the opportunity to choose a variety of available services designed to address their unique needs and maximize opportunities for independence and community inclusion.

    “Long-term planning is a never-ending concern for the parents and families of adults with autism and this waiver will provide many families with peace-of-mind because they will know their loved ones will be supported when they are unable to support them,” said Richman. “We have been working for many years to bring a higher level of service to Pennsylvanians with autism and their families and I am thrilled that the work of countless individuals will now be realized.”

    Individuals who are determined to be eligible for the waiver program will be able to receive supports and services, including family respite, employment assessment and supported employment, behavior supports and crisis intervention, and environmental modifications.

    For more information on services for people with autism in Pennsylvania, visit www.autisminpa.org. For more information about the Department of Public Welfare, visit www.dpw.state.pa.us.

    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    Governor’s Press Office
    Room 308, Main Capitol Building
    Harrisburg, PA 17120

    CONTACT:
    Chuck Ardo, 717-783-1116
    Anne C. Bale, DPW 717-787-4592



    April 2008
    Liberty Purchases the Sovereign Building at 714 Market Street!
    For the first time, Liberty Resources owns its home!
    Read about it in the Philadelphia Business Journal

    Read about it on costar.com.


    Bush chooses SBA chief Steve Preston to take over HUD
    By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent

    President Bush has chosen SBA Administrator Steve Preston to take over as head of the government's housing agency at a time of crisis in the industry, the White House announced on Friday.

    If confirmed by the Senate, Preston would replace HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, who announced his resignation last month amid allegations of political favoritism and a criminal investigation. Jackson's last day on the job is to be Friday.

    Bush was to announce Preston's nomination at midday before going to Camp David.

    Jackson leaves behind the wreckage of a national housing crisis and a trail of unanswered questions about whether he tilted the Housing and Urban Development Department toward Republican contractors and cronies.

    Preston will take over the agency at a time of chaos in the housing market. Foreclosures have surged to record highs as rising interest rates and the collapse of the once high-flying housing market have made it impossible for some to afford their monthly mortgage payments or sell their homes.

    The administration has taken some steps to provide relief to millions of people at risk of losing their homes. However, Democrats on Capitol Hill insist more needs to be done and have been moving ahead on additional rescue plans.

    A poll released on Monday said one in seven mortgage holders worry they may soon fail to make their monthly payments, and even more fret that their home's value is shrinking. The Associated Press-AOL Money & Finance poll also found that 60 percent said they definitely won't a buy a home in the next two years. That was up from 53 percent who said so in an AP-AOL poll in September 2006. Only 11 percent are certain or very likely to buy soon, down from 15 percent two years ago.

    Preston was sworn in as head of the Small Business Administration in July 2006, after his nomination was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Bush was expected to praise him as an effective manager and problem-solver who can take on complex challenges, officials said. Preston's selection was first reported by National Journal's Congress Daily.

    Preston has a background of 25 years in financial and operational leadership positions. Before joining SBA, he was executive vice president of The ServiceMaster Co., where he also served as chief financial officer. Before that, he was a senior vice president and treasurer of First Data Corp. and an investment banker at Lehman Brothers.

    The FBI is examining the ties between Jackson and a friend who was paid $392,000 by Jackson's department as a construction manager in New Orleans. Jackson's friend got the job after Jackson asked a staff member to pass along his name to the Housing Authority of New Orleans.

    In another instance of alleged favoritism that came to light in February, the Philadelphia housing authority alleges that Jackson retaliated against the agency because it refused to award a vacant lot worth $2 million to soul music producer-turned-community developer Kenny Gamble for redevelopment of a public housing complex. U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond ruled on March 31 in Philadelphia that HUD acted legally and did not retaliate against the housing authority.

    Jackson's problems began in 2006, when he told a group of commercial real estate executives that he had revoked a contract because the applicant who thanked him said he did not like Bush. Jackson later told investigators "I lied" when he made the remark about taking back the contract.


    Press release regarding Senator Patricia Vance's hearing on movement to rebalance the long-term care system
    Department of Public Welfare: Pennsylvania second highest in nation for nursing home spending.

    Text of April 8 press release.

    Nursing Home Industry Continues to Distort State Funding

    HARRISBURG -- With state payments to nursing homes up by more than $500 million in the past five years, Secretary of Public Welfare Estelle B. Richman today expressed continuing concern about misleading claims from nursing home industry representatives about the true financial health of Pennsylvania's nursing home facilities.

    "Nursing home representatives seem to be using scare tactics to mislead lawmakers and the public into believing they are under-funded," said Richman. "The truth is that Pennsylvania's nursing homes are paid more than $3 billion by the state, considerably more than they are paid in Illinois, Texas, Florida and California – states with much larger populations than Pennsylvania."

    In the past five years, payment rates for nursing homes have grown by 22 percent. The increase in total state dollars paid to nursing homes far exceeds increases in other critical areas including higher education, elementary education, child care, autism, mental retardation and community mental health.

    "Far from the gloomy picture painted by the nursing home industry, Pennsylvania's reimbursement rates are already among the highest in the nation with rates more than 20 percent higher than the national average," Richman said. "In fact, according to recent data compiled by the American Health Care Association, payments to Pennsylvania nursing homes are the fourth highest of the 32 states that provided data for the study."

    For more information on programs and services available through the Medical Assistance program, visit www.dpw.state.pa.us

    Contact: Stacey Witalec, (717) 787-4592

    FIFTH ANNUAL World of Possibilities: disabilities, Healthy Aging and Independent Living Expo. Something for Everyone!
    Please see our NEW Caring Communities/World of Possibilities Expo Video. You will not want to miss the World of Possibilities Expo the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg, MD on May 2-3, 2008. Please keep checking the Expo free features link HERE for updates. FREE WHEELCHAIR REPAIR TOO!

    This Expo is the biggest and best event of its kind in the region! 5-10,000 attendees expected. The World of Possibilities Expos are increasing in popularity and rapidly becoming the Region's major forum for disability and senior-related resources. Everyone within the disabilities and senior community, children with disabilities and their families, caregivers, veterans and baby-boomers etc. should be there!

    **Please note: Liberty is not involved in this event and cannot provide transportation. For further information, visit the Expo website.**

    Resource: Restoration of the ADA
    The below is an excellent resource with information on issues, as well as a customizable, online Action Letter to members of Congress or Senators regarding the restoration of the ADA.
    Click here to go to civilrights.org

    Fox 29 News Video Montage of LRI/PHA Agreement

    Moving from a nursing home to own home thanks to historic agreement between PHA and Liberty Resources
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Kirk Dorn, PHA January 25th, 2008
    Office: (215) 684-4112; Cell: (215) 704-3653

    PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Housing Authority and Liberty Resources Inc. signed a first of its kind agreement today that will allow as many as 100 physically disabled men and woman to move out of nursing homes and into their own apartments or homes.
    Under the agreement, PHA will allocate 100 vouchers from its Housing Choice program. Liberty, which says it already has a waiting list of 75, will refer the clients to PHA and then help them locate apartments or houses that are wheelchair accessible.

    “Life presents great challenges every day for men and women dependent on wheelchairs. We are proud to assist these courageous men and women in leading a more independent life in their own homes, rather than a nursing home,” said Carl Greene, PHA executive director.

    The PA Dept. of Public Welfare is funding 75 of the vouchers for the first two years of the program, PHA the other 25. After that, PHA will fund the entire 100.
    State Deputy Secretary of the Office of Long-Term Living John Michael Hall says the state will actually spend less on funding the special vouchers than it now does to pay for nursing home care. “It makes for great public policy when you improve the lives of these citizens and serve them with compassion, and save taxpayer dollars at the same time,” Hall said.

    For Liberty Resources, the agreement marks a great victory for the rights of the disabled. “The new level of collaboration between PHA and Liberty Resources will be tremendous advantage to Philadelphians with disabilities who have long desired to move from nursing homes into their own accessible apartments in the communities of their choice. We are thrilled with today’s meeting and moving forward together to meet the housing needs of the disabled community,” stated Thomas Earle, CEO of Liberty Resources.

    Liberty will help clients in their housing search and in obtaining additional funding from the state and or other sources for any necessary adjustments to the property to permit accessibility. PHA will review tenants with the same income and other background checks performed on all applicants for the voucher program.

    PHA has established an extraordinary record in recent years of helping clients with disabilities. All new PHA developments far exceed the 5% minimum for wheelchair accessible units. Including all of its public housing sites, old and new, almost 6.5% of the homes are accessible. In the voucher program, it is up to the families to find a suitable unit. PHA then inspects the unit and if approved issues the rent voucher.

    ***********************************************************
    PHA is a federally funded agency – the nation’s fourth largest housing authority - serving 84,000 residents. The agency is a national leader in using innovative financing and best private market practices to plan and develop affordable housing for low and modest-income families.

    Liberty Resources, Inc. is a non-profit, consumer driven organization that advocates and promotes Independent Living for persons with disabilities, to ensure their civil rights and equal access to all aspects of life in our community.

    Click here for photos from the event!

    We need more co-sponsors for the Community Choice Act!
    We need testimonies from every state. Get involved now. To see if your Senator or Representative has signed onto the legislation go to www.thomas.gov and type in the bill number. If your Senator or Representative is not on the list of co-sponsors, call them directly and ask them to sponsor S. 799 & H.R. 1621.

    The NCIL web site (www.ncil.org) has a copy of Dr. Mitch LaPlante’s report Estimating the Expense of a Mandatory Home- and Community-Based Personal Assistance Services Benefit Under Medicaid as well as talking points for the Community Choice Act of 2007. Together we can and will make a difference! Thank you for your advocacy efforts!

    As a Center for Independent Living, Liberty Resources is a member of the NCIL network. Click here to go to NCIL’s alert pages.