Urge Governor Cuomo to include a funding increase of only $5 million for Independent Living Centers in his budget proposal!

It is that time of year again where we need to ask for your help. We all know how crucial Independent Living Centers like Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY are in communities across the State. We provide a wide array of supports and services that help people be independent and integrated in their communities.

Yet, Governor Cuomo has failed to include a funding increase for Independent Living Centers in his proposed budget over and over again.

Governor Cuomo is developing his 2019-20 Executive Budget proposal, scheduled for next month. The Board of Regents again recommends he include a $5 million increase to the network of ILCs in this year’s budget. Now we have to make sure he follows this recommendation by telling him how important it is to people with disabilities across the State!

ACTION: Email Governor Cuomo. Urge him to include a funding increase of only $5 million to ILCs across New York in his Executive Budget proposal!

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CIDNY Receives 40th Anniversary Proclamation from NYC Council

The Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY for short) was honored with a proclamation from NYC Council for our 40th anniversary today. It was presented by Speaker Corey Johnson, who thanked us for our advocacy by and for people with disabilities. He said that the City “needs to do better” to reduce barriers and make the city more accessible.

We are grateful for the recognition of our efforts and our history as the first independent living center in New York. And we agree that our work is far from over.

You can see the proclamation in our Manhattan office.

It reads:

The New York City Council is proud to honor the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY) for its 40 years of outstanding service bringing people with disabilities closer to full and equal access to health care, housing, public services, education, employment, voting, emergency planning, and transportation; and

WHEREAS:  On July 26, 1990, the United States enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities and one of our nation’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation. In addition to prohibiting discrimination and guaranteeing that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life, the ADA also mandated the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services; and

WHEREAS: The significance of the ADA cannot be overstated. In the United States, nearly one in five Americans lives with a disability. In New York City alone, nearly one in eight residents live with a disability. For people with disabilities, the ADA is a monumental piece of civil rights legislation, providing them with increased access to critical services while empowering them to reach their greatest potential. The ADA has also benefitted their loved ones as well as every person without a disability too for it has meant greater inclusion, diversity and community – all the traits that have defined our nation since its earliest days; and

WHEREAS: CIDNY, a non-profit organization founded in 1978, serves as the voice of people with disabilities in New York City. Its staff and board include social workers, lawyers, and other highly qualified professionals, most of whom are people with disabilities. Racially and ethnically diverse, they all share a strong belief in self-determination and bring invaluable life experiences and insights to their critical work; and

WHEREAS: From its start four decades ago, CIDNY has passionately advocated for civil rights and a strong safety net of benefits and services, while ensuring that the concerns of people with disabilities are heard whenever and wherever issues affecting their lives are being decided. Additionally, it advises government officials on ways to make public services like transportation, health insurance, education, and entitlements work better; monitors public and private initiatives that affect people with disabilities and offers constructive solutions to problems; and conducts a wide range of training and technical assistance activities to public officials, health care workers, and other service providers on disability awareness and disability-related issues; and

WHEREAS: Since the ADA was enacted 28 years ago, CIDNY has witnessed even more people with disabilities strive and succeed in education and in the workplace, live independently in the community, and access and benefit from services provided by schools, hospitals, and public transportation – all of which has greatly strengthened our city, state and nation; and

WHEREAS: Even with the ADA, removing all barriers for people with disabilities has remained a challenging goal. Yet, thanks to the collective action of activists and organizations like CIDNY, great advances continue to be made in society, in courtrooms, and in our communities; now, therefore

BE IT KNOWN: That the New York City Council is proud to honor the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York in celebration of its 40TH ANNIVERSARY and for its extraordinary service to people with disabilities throughout New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.

Signed this 18th day of July in the year Twenty Eighteen.

Urge Congress to Continue the Money Follows the Person Program by Supporting the EMPOWER Care Act!

Money Follows the Person (MFP) is one of the longest-running, most successful Medicaid demonstrations. MFP was designed to help states transition people with disabilities from institutions into the community and to assist states in rebalancing their long-term services and supports systems to increase access to home and community-based services.

Since it began, 47 states have participated and over 75,000 people with disabilities have received assistance to leave institutions and move back home. Independent evaluations have proven MFP improves the quality of life for individuals and reduced Medicaid and Medicare expenditures by approximately 23%.

Unfortunately, MFP expired September 30, 2016, and states are running out of funding.

In New York, MFP funds the Open Doors Transition Center and Peer Outreach & Referral programs. Open Doors helps individuals living in nursing homes return to the community and assists individuals with developmental disabilities living in large group homes and institutions transition to smaller community settings or more integrated community programs. Since January 2015, Open Doors has assisted over 1800 individuals transition out of institutions and move back home! New York has committed to funding the Open Doors program through September 2019, however, we need to secure additional federal support to ensure the program is maintained beyond 2019!

The EMPOWER Care Act S. 2227 and H.R. 5306 would improve and extend the program for five years. So far, there are no New York Senators and Representatives on the bill. Help get New York to sign on as co-sponsors of the EMPOWER Care Act!

Act Now!

  • Call Senators Chuck Schumer and Gillibrand as well as your Representative and ask them to co-sponsor the EMPOWER Care Act today! You can reach them by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Senators or Representative.
  • Ask them to Co-Sponsor EMPOWER Care Act S.2227/H.R.5306 to extend the Money Follows the Person Program and pass it immediately.
  • Can’t call? You can also use Resistbot to turn texts into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters.
  • Spread the word: tweet and share this post on Facebook.

Talking Points

  • The Money Follows the Person Program brings people with disabilities and older adults back home to their communities.
  • The Money Follows the Person program gives people greater control over the lives.
  • It’s fiscally responsible! MFP improves the quality of life of individuals while saving states and the federal government Medicaid funding.
  • The program expired over a year ago. Without additional funding, states could scale back programs, potentially pulling the rug out from under the people who need it.
  • Talk about why this is important for you or someone you know, and the importance of the Open Doors program in New York. MFP frees people! MFP keeps families together!

Thanks to the New York State Independent Living Council for the details.

Support Funding for Independent Living Centers

We are thrilled that Representative Hanabusa (HI) sent a Dear Colleague letter to the entire House of Representatives. She asked them to join her in supporting an increase in funding for Independent Living Centers. Once signatures are received, Rep. Hanabusa will submit a letter to Chairman Cole (OK) and Ranking Member DeLauro (CT) of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS-Ed) to request increased funding for the Independent Living Program and donating some ergonomic desk and chairs in FY 2019. So far, Representatives Norton (DC) and Sablan (CNMI) have signed on.
We need to get as many supporters as possible by Wednesday, March 14, 2018!
Take Action!
The Independent Living Program is a vital, cost-effective program that has been underfunded for years. We need your help to get as many other Representatives as possible to sign-on! Contact your Representative TODAY and urge them to sign on to Representative Hanabusa’s Independent Living Appropriations request. Make sure your Rep. knows how vital the Independent Living Program is to you, and how much the CILs in their state do for their disabled constituents!
All Representatives can be reached by the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). You can find your Representative’s direct DC and local office numbers as well as other contact information at Contacting Congress. You can also use Resistbot to turn texts into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters.
H/T National Council on Independent Living