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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

New EVV Advocacy Document and Opportunities to Take Action!

Since its creation earlier this year, NCIL’s Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) Task Force has closely followed federal and state activity and has been hard at work strategizing and advocating against EVV. With EVV systems rolling out around the country, one thing has been made clearer than ever: EVV is harmful and discriminatory, and it undermines consumer direction – a key tenet of the Independent Living Movement! In addition, it is an absolute violation of our privacy and has a chilling effect on workers continuing or entering the labor force of personal care services providers. All of these issues combined will result in putting our right to live independently in the community in severe jeopardy.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThe NCIL EVV Task Force has created the following Principles & Goals document to guide NCIL’s work, and we hope our members will be able to use this to guide their advocacy on the issue as well. Please feel free to use this document (as a whole or in pieces) as you see fit in your advocacy. Please also share this document with your networks and encourage everyone you know to learn more about why EVV is so harmful to people with disabilities!

Opportunities to Take Action

  1. Provide input to CMS!

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will host an Open Door Forum via national conference call to solicit stakeholder feedback on EVV implementation. We encourage all interested individuals to participate in the call on November 7 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern at (800) 837-1935, Conference ID 33979177. We also urge you to submit comments. Please submit your comments on EVV to CMS at by October 26, 2018 and include “November 7 Stakeholder Call Feedback” in the subject line of the email. NCIL believes EVV threatens decades of independent living advocacy work and privacy rights of disabled citizens. Please let CMS know that you support the NCIL EVV Principles and Goals document with your comments. Feel free to copy sections from the document that speak to your specific concerns and/or write your own unique statement.  [Read more…]

Organizers Forum: Video as an Organizing Tool

  • Tuesday, October 16, 2018; 1:00-:00 p.m. Eastern

We all watch short videos on Facebook, but do we know how best to use video in our community organizing work? Learn from experienced organizers and social media strategists how to incorporate visual media into your organizational toolbox to do outreach and win campaigns. Find out how to prepare videos simply and effectively and how to use them in your work.  [Read more…]

Urgent: Action Needed to Stop Damage to Fair Housing – Deadline: Midnight, Monday, October 15

Access to housing is one of the top disability issues across the country. Did you know that more than half of housing discrimination complaints filed with the federal government are because of disability discrimination?

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingToday, we need your help to defend disability rights and access to housing. “Fair housing” is the term used for enforcement of equal access to housing, without discrimination. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is currently waging an attack on fair housing by opening up its own rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) to revisions that could damage the disability housing rights we have won so far, and your voice is needed.

We need to flood HUD with comments supporting the 2015 rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) that exposes and addresses our nation’s history of government-led segregation and inequitable community investment, and requires jurisdictions to create policies and programs to address it. The 2015 rule also requires real community engagement by HUD, and that must also happen.

For those of you who represent an organization, we ask you to take 3 easy but important steps today:

  1. Use our template letter (Word document), modify with your own thoughts and comments, and submit to HUD via by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Monday October 15th. Be sure to edit the [bolded] portions with your organization’s information before submitting.
  2. Encourage others within your network to do the same.

For those of you representing yourself as an individual, you can also use the same link to submit comments. We urge you to focus on explaining why it is important to end discrimination in housing.

Comments are due by midnight on Monday, October 15.

Thank you to our friends at Access Living for providing this information.

Directory of Protection and Advocacy Voter Assistance Hotlines 2018

Do you have questions about voting, or have you experienced a challenge or barrier in casting your ballot? Your state’s Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agency runs a hotline to assist voters with disabilities in navigating these challenges. Please see the below directory to find your state’s voter assistance hotline.  [Read more…]

Get Out the Vote with NCIL

It’s less than one month until the 2018 Midterms. How do you plan to get out the vote?

A circular button that says "VOTE" and has red and blue stripes with white starsAcross the country, advocates like you are writing and implementing GOTV strategies, contacting friends and family to encourage them to show up at the polls on November 6th. You’re using tools and strategies created by your fellow NCIL advocates, such as NCIL’s 2018 GOTV Guide.

We need your help to build the disability voting bloc. Donate to NCIL’s Voting Rights Fund now, so that more people with disabilities can cast their vote on November 6th.

Prepare for the Midterms with Upcoming Webinars

There’s only about a month left until the Midterms, and organizations around the country are gearing up to mobilize their communities to show up at the polls on voting day. Are you ready to Get Out the Vote? Tune in to the following webinars to learn more about voter mobilization and voters with disabilities!

VOTE Emblem features the universal sybol of accessibility holding a paper with Choice check marked and Option uncheckedOn Thursday, October 11th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, Nonprofit Vote will host the final webinar of their Midterms series on strategies and messaging on GOTV for nonprofits. Attend this webinar to learn how your nonprofit can effectively engage in nonprofit Get Out the Vote tactics to mobilize your community. Sign up for this webinar over at Nonprofit Vote.

On Tuesday, October 16th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, the Great Lakes ADA Center will be hosting “The Right to Vote: Access for People with Disabilities“. During this webinar, Michelle Bishop of the National Disability Rights Network will discuss the status of accessibility of the voting process for people with disabilities. Attendees do have the option of earning 1.5 credit hours of Continuing Education Recognition.

On Thursday, October 18th at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, the American Association of People with Disabilities’ REV UP Campaign will host “Breaking Barriers to Voting”. This webinar, which is produced in collaboration with DOnetwork, will discuss navigating polling place barriers for people with disabilities and give attendees an opportunity to ask questions and get answers on their accessibility concerns.

CIL-NET & SILC-NET Present… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Know Your Resources — Orientation to the IL-NET and and

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETThe IL-NET program has operated since 1994 to support Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) with training and technical assistance on a wide variety of topics. IL-NET’s resources cover an expansive list of topics related to CILs and SILCs, from advocacy to financial management, and everything in between. The sheer quantity of material offered by the program can be overwhelming.

Please join us for this complimentary teleconference and webinar to learn what the IL-NET has to offer you. Staff from each of our partner organizations, ILRU, NCIL, APRIL, and Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities will walk you through the trainings and resources they offer and how you can best access them. You will learn about online trainings and materials that you can access right away, as well as training topics for 2019 that you can add to your calendar. Don’t miss this free event!  [Read more…]

Alaska, Arizona, Maine, North Dakota, and West Virginia Advocates: Keep The Pressure on Your Senator to Vote NO on Kavanaugh!

THANK YOU for taking action and demanding your Senators vote NO on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Because of the work of advocates around the country, the Senate’s vote has been delayed – but a vote is still rapidly approaching. If the last few weeks have proven anything, it’s that Judge Kavanaugh is unfit to serve on the highest court in the country. Kavanaugh would pose a threat to people around our country for decades to come, so we must keep the pressure up!

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingTake Action!

You live in a key state with a target Senator, so we need you to take action! The following Senators are critical in this effort and we must get them to publicly commit to voting NO:

  • Collins (ME)
  • Flake (AZ)
  • Heitkamp (ND)
  • Manchin (WV)
  • Murkowski (AK)

Call them now and tell them to vote NO on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Keep the pressure up until they’ve committed to a NO vote! Your Senators can be reached by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY).

As a reminder, NCIL has conducted a review of Judge Kavanaugh’s past decisions which have proven him to be dangerous for people with disabilities. Judge Kavanaugh proved that he does not support self-determination for people with disabilities when he ruled against individuals with intellectual disabilities who had been forced to undergo elective surgeries without their consent or input. He has repeatedly attacked the Affordable Care Act, which is critical to healthcare access for many disabled people. He has repeatedly made decisions that would harm the disability community. For more information, please refer to NCIL’s full statement of opposition.

Remembering Ann Ford

Source: Illinois Network of CILs (INCIL)

Ann Ford - HeadshotToday the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living mourns the loss of Ann Ford, our founding Executive Director. Ann secured a place in history as a trailblazing organizer for people with disabilities who spent her entire adult life fighting for civil rights, integration and inclusion.

Her work to launch and lead the Illinois Network of CILs brought a stronger and more focused voice for the Independent Living movement to lawmakers.

Ann never shied away from telling the truth about the impact of state or federal policies on Illinois’ disability community.

She carried herself with a gentle demeanor undergirded by a tenacious commitment to justice, fairness and knowledge of the struggles faced by people with disabilities worldwide.

Ann had credibility in the corridors of power because she was honest, direct and steeped in personal and professional experience with the Independent Living philosophy.  [Read more…]

Take Action to Oppose Kavanaugh Today!

Today, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh are testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Kavanaugh will not protect our rights, and his appointment to the Supreme Court would pose major threats to our community for decades.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingIf you live in a state with one of the below Senators, please call and tell them to Vote NO on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation:

  • Collins (R-ME)
  • Flake (R-AZ)
  • Heller (R-NV)
  • Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Rubio (R-FL)
  • Sullivan (R-AK)

Throughout the confirmation process, we have seen protests, arrests, arguments among Senators, and repeated requests from Democratic Senators to delay the confirmation process. The drama surrounding these hearings illustrates how many people have concerns about Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and we unequivocally share those concerns.

A review of Judge Kavanaugh’s past decisions on healthcare, self-determination, employment, education, civil rights, and voting rights (among others) have proven him to be dangerous for people with disabilities.

We are thrilled that Liz Weintraub, the Association of University Centers on Disability’s Senior Advocacy Specialist, provided testimony with a focus on Kavanaugh’s threats to people with disabilities, and particularly his decision in Doe v DC. You can view an uncaptioned video of the testimony or read a transcript. For more information on that decision and others, please refer to NCIL’s full statement of opposition.