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

Early Bird Registration Rates for NCIL’s 2017 Annual Conference End at Midnight April 28!

Revolution - A Global Independent Living Movement - Annual Conference on Independent Living 2017. Graphic: Continents have been added to NCIL's logo (a blue semi-circle), which forms a globe. A red heart sits between the end points of the semi-circle.Open our Annual Conference Guide (in PDF or plain text) to find everything you need to know about the 2017 Annual Conference.

Then, register online or by using the printable Registration Form (PDF or plain text). Online registration gives you the ability to register up to three attendees with one transaction and accepts Discover, American Express, Visa and MasterCard.

All registrations received and paid on or before April 28, 2017 are eligible for the Early Bird registration rates.

This year, you can use NCIL’s custom links to reserve your room at the Grand Hyatt or Marriott Metro Center.

Additional details are available on our Conference webpage. See you in July!

Memorandum: Call for Resolutions

This is a call for resolutions to be presented to the NCIL Membership at the Annual Council Meeting. This will be the only call for resolutions to be presented for the 2017 NCIL Annual Council Meeting. The Annual Council Meeting will be held Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC. The President will recognize the contact person listed in your resolution to speak at the Annual Meeting. If you are unable to attend, please indicate a designee that will be in attendance. A guide to writing a resolution is available on our website, and a link is included below.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingPlease note: only NCIL members – individuals and organizations – are eligible to submit a resolution for consideration.

Annual Council Meeting Resolutions

The purpose of resolutions is for members to speak directly to what NCIL does and what NCIL stands for. Resolutions to be presented at the Annual Council Meeting must be postmarked or received by Friday, June 2, 2017. The President will appoint a task force to review all resolutions to determine their impact on each of the following areas:

  • NCIL’s Mission & Guiding Principles: Is the proposed resolution consistent / compatible? Is the proposed resolution national in scope?
  • NCIL’s Resources: Can NCIL implement the proposed resolution’s intent with current financial and staff resources?
  • NCIL’s Governance: Does the proposed resolution require any significant changes to NCIL’s bylaws or Standard Operating Procedures?

The resolution task force will provide the NCIL board with a one-page summary of the resolution and the potential impact in each area. The NCIL board will make a recommendation to the membership to adopt or reject the resolution. The recommendation shall be in writing with a brief statement explaining the rationale for the board’s recommendation. All resolutions, including a brief statement with the board’s recommendation, will be included in the Annual Council Meeting packet.

“A call for resolutions shall be disseminated to the NCIL membership no less than 45 days prior to the resolution deadline date. No resolutions will be accepted for consideration after the deadline date.” (NCIL By-Laws, Article III, Section IV).  [Read more…]

NCIL Applauds Two Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against NYC Subway System

NCIL applauds the efforts of our member CILs, Bronx Independent Living Services (BILS), Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled (BCID), Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY), and Harlem Independent Living Center (HILC), in filing two class action lawsuits today against the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) regarding the NYC subway system.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThe NYC subway system spans the five boroughs of New York City. However, less than one quarter of the nearly 500 subway stations in the system are accessible for people with mobility disabilities. Of the 10 major transportation systems in the country, NYC is the least accessible. In contrast, Washington D.C. and San Francisco’s transportation systems are both 100% accessible for wheelchair users and others who have difficulty climbing steps. Alternative transportation options in NYC, such as the Access-A-Ride paratransit program, are unreliable and segregate people with disabilities from their fellow NYC residents.

The lawsuit alleges that though the MTA has had the resources to make their stations accessible over the past several decades, they have chosen not to consider accessibility as a priority. The plaintiffs claim that the inaccessibility of the NYC subway system violates the New York City Human Rights Law as well as the city administrative code.

We support our member CILs in this effort and salute their commitment to equal access for all!

For more information, see below:

Urgent Action Needed to Protect the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The efforts to roll back the rights of people with disabilities through ADA Notification bills like H.R. 620 are gaining momentum in Congress. While similar bills have been unable to garner enough support to pass into law, we do not expect that to be the case in the 115th. This bill continues to gain support from both sides of the aisle in Congress, and it’s on us to fight it!

H.R. 620 would create additional barriers to seeing our rights enforced under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition to requiring that businesses in violation of the ADA be provided with a very specific written notice by the person who encountered the access barrier, those businesses would then be allowed a lengthy timeframe to “make substantial progress in removing the barrier.” Not only would this remove any incentive for businesses to come into compliance with the ADA before receiving a notification, but it would also shift the onus of monitoring compliance to the very people being discriminated against! Twenty-seven years after the ADA was signed into law, this is unacceptable. H.R. 620 would be a major setback for people with disabilities.

We need you to take action! We hope you have already been in touch with your Representatives about the dangers of this bill. Please keep it up! Please tell your Representatives to OPPOSE H.R. 620 and any other bill that would weaken the ADA, thereby weakening the protections for people with disabilities all over the country.

Please call your Representatives today. Have everyone from your organization call. And then call them again tomorrow! You can get in touch with your Representatives by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You can find additional contact information for them by visiting

Note: If your Representative is on the Judiciary Committee, it is especially important for you to contact them now! The list of Committee members is below.  [Read more…]

Nominate for the NCIL Board of Directors by June 13, 2017!

Dear NCIL Members:

NCIL members have an opportunity to nominate an individual to run for each of the following positions on the NCIL Board:

If you or someone you know would be interested in running for the NCIL Board, please fill out the nomination form.

Please carefully review the position descriptions and memorandum, as it will help in considering potential nominees. Also, make sure to share these resources with the individual you are nominating so that s/he has a clear understanding of what will be expected should s/he be elected.

35th Anniversary Logo: NCIL – National Council on Independent Living. Celebrating 35 Years of Advocacy. Graphic features party candles.Nomination Deadline: June 13, 2017.

  • Article III, Section F (2) of the NCIL SOPs, states that “In order for a person to be nominated for an office or position on NCIL’s Governing Board, he or she must be staff, board, or designated representative of a NCIL CIL/SILC member and shall reside within the state of the CIL/SILC member.”
  • All Board member terms are 2 years. Each officer position (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) is limited to 2 terms by the same individual. No other board positions are term-limited.
  • Those elected to the NCIL Board are strongly encouraged to attend the NCIL Annual Council Meeting and Conference. The newly elected will meet with their fellow NCIL Board members on July 28, 2017, following the NCIL Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

If you have any questions regarding the nominating process, please feel free to contact me or Charlotte Stewart of the NCIL Membership and Nominating Committee at (V) 214-630-4796.  [Read more…]

You’re Invited! DC Office of Disability Rights Event – Suicide: It’s Time to Talk about It

On May 3, 2017 from 10 am to 1 pm, we are going to have a frank discussion about suicide, its impact, and what to do when faced with the topic. We will have representatives from District agencies for a panel discussion and interaction with audience members.

  • When: Wednesday, May 3, 2017; 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Where: 441 4th Street, NW-One Judiciary Square / Old Council Chambers-1st Floor, South Lobby

This event is being hosted by the Office of Disability Rights (ODR), the Commission on Persons with Disabilities, the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA), the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).

New Business Acumen Monthly Webinar Series

Source: Administration for Community Living

Join the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities for the first installment in their monthly webinar series on Wednesday, April 26, at 12:30 pm Eastern titled “Business Acumen 101: Modernizing Your Community-Based Business in a Changing Environment.”

The mission of community-based organizations (CBO) is rooted in supporting people with disabilities and/or older adults to have vibrant and meaningful lives in their community. This mission is achieved through a culture and philosophy that values person-centered practices, which in turn has yielded a highly customized and community specific provider network. With the movement toward integrated health care, join us to learn more about national efforts to help CBOs to sharpen their business skills in order to translate their mission and expertise into value-added partnerships with a variety of payers including managed care organizations.

Webinar takeaways:

  • Understand what is meant by the term “Business Acumen”
  • Introduction to the Disability Network Business Acumen Grant
  • Understand what this work means to you as a CBO

Stay tuned for upcoming webinars on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 12:30 p.m. Eastern.

Learn more about ACL’s Business Acumen initiative to help states and community-based organizations build networks and respond to delivery system changes, including technical assistance, building business capacity for successful contracting with integrated care entities, and developing pathways to sustainability.

Reminder: Budget Cuts Are Looming – Take Action Now!

The current Continuing Resolution (CR) will only keep the government funded through April 28, so when Congress returns to DC next week, we can expect appropriations to be at the top of their to-do list. First, Congress will need to fund the remainder of FY 2017 to avoid a shutdown; then, they can get started on FY 2018 funding.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingSo far, all we’ve seen from President Trump is the “skinny budget” (PDF) he released in March. This budget provided a partial overview of what the President would like to see. While we know there has been criticism on both sides of the aisle, we also know that Congress intends to make major cuts, many that will likely hit programs and departments that are important to the disability community. Because of this, we need to fight against any cuts that will negatively impact the Independent Living Program, and we need to act now.

Back in March, we sent an alert asking you to contact your members of Congress and invite them to visit your CIL. Now it’s more important than ever that we keep the pressure on Congress! We know that there are a lot of issues facing our community right now, and there is a lot at stake. That said, IL funding is critical, and cuts to the IL program would be detrimental to CILs around the country. We MUST work to ensure that President Trump’s proposed cuts are not implemented, and that the Independent Living Program does not see any future cuts.

Please continue talking with your members of Congress. Please continue trying to get them to visit your CIL. Keep setting up meetings, calling, emailing, and doing whatever you can to make sure that your Senators and Representatives know how important Independent Living is to their constituents with disabilities. Only by seeing the work that the IL community is doing every day and by hearing directly from their constituents will they understand the vital need for funding and the incredible value of the IL program!

Rural Transportation: A Vermont Perspective

By Peter Johnke, NCIL Transportation Subcommittee Co-Chair

If you live in a rural area and don’t own a car or are unable to drive, getting from one place to another may be a challenge (at best) or impossible (at worst), if public transit doesn’t exist where you live or work. People with disabilities face many barriers to transportation and in rural areas, it can be particularly difficult.

In Vermont, there are ten different transit providers, each with their own system of routes and fares. Only the most populated area has ADA Complimentary Paratransit. Other regions use Deviated Fixed Routes and Demand Response Routes to meet the needs of people who need accessible transportation. If transit exists in your area, traveling locally may not be too difficult. But it becomes much more challenging when traveling from one region to another. Except for a few commuter routes and some intrastate routes, it’s very difficult to get from one region of the state to another. Yet, this is often necessary for employment, medical appointments, and even shopping. In Vermont, crossing county lines is routine. Accessible transportation is problematic for evenings, weekends, and holidays though.  [Read more…]

Join Our Partner, the LEAD Center, for a Webinar on ABLE Accounts

The LEAD Center, in collaboration with the ABLE National Resource Center, will be holding a webinar focused on how individuals with disabilities, and their families, can use ABLE Accounts to increase their financial stability and produce more positive employment outcomes.

LEAD Center Logo -

The webinar will take place on April 27 at 3:00-4:30 p.m. EST and aims to demonstrate how provisions in the ABLE Act can enable people with disabilities to achieve competitive integrated employment, begin to save more than $2,000 without fear of loss of SSI and Medicaid eligibility and set longer term goals for financial stability and self-determined and self-directed lives.  [Read more…]