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

Housing & Transportation

Action Alert: Sign A Letter of Support for the Access Living ADA Lawsuit Against Uber!

  • Deadline: 12:00 Noon Central Time; Monday, October 17, 2016

The Access Living ADA lawsuit against Uber regarding wheelchair accessible rides has been widely covered in the press.

Access Living (of Metropolitan Chicago) has organized a sign on letter regarding access to transportation, including transit in the new economy. Please join Access Living in making a public statement for cross-disability solidarity. Access Living believes that advocating for transit access cannot leave some groups behind, even as other disability groups may have benefited from new transit choices.

Once the signatures are gathered, the letter will be made public in order to demonstrate the seriousness of holding transit services accountable under the ADA. Access Living is asking for national, state and local groups to sign on to the letter below.

If your organization is willing to sign on, please email Amber Smock at asmock@accessliving.org with the appropriate full name of your group by 12:00 Noon Central on Monday, October 17. The letter will be made public on Tuesday, October 18.

Letter of Support:

We the undersigned organizations, affirm and support the right of people with disabilities to travel services under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. For decades, transportation issues have been at the forefront of our movement for independence and civil rights in the United States. People with disabilities have the moral and legal right to equivalent transit services, including, but not limited to, rideshare services like Uber.

Furthermore, we emphasize that transit services must serve ALL people with disabilities as defined by the ADA, not just some of us. While new developments in the transit industry have benefited some people with disabilities, these developments have left others out of the mainstream of American life, effectively relegating them to social isolation and invisibility. We, like others in our society, have employment, family, social and civic obligations that require us to be able to travel in a speedy and affordable fashion. The current status quo is not acceptable. It is long past time to ensure equivalent ride service for all. Disability transit considerations should always be part of the original planning of systems, not an afterthought.

We, the undersigned, support the efforts of Access Living and other groups to hold transit services accountable for serving people with disabilities.

Signatories to Date:

  • Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago
  • ADA Legacy Project
  • Brazoria County Center for Independent Living
  • Center for Disability Rights
  • Chicago Hearing Society, a division of Anixter Center
  • Disability Policy Consortium of Massachusetts
  • Disability Rights Center
  • Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
  • Disability Rights Oregon
  • National Council on Independent Living
  • National Council on Independent Living Region 6 – New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas and Louisiana
  • Northwest Down Syndrome Association
  • Road to Freedom Bus Tour
  • Texas Disability Project

Medicaid Transportation: An Update from the NCIL Transportation Subcommittee

Transportation for people with disabilities can be a complex issue. One of the more confusing areas is Medicaid Transportation, also referred to Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Services (NEMTS), which may also have a different name, depending on which state you live in. Each state has Medicaid transportation programs, transportation covered as a part of an individual state’s particular Medicaid Waivers, including managed care (long term, behavioral or other types) and also reimburses Medicaid recipients for use of private vehicles for allowable expenses under NEMT. We wish to provide some basic information here.

What it is: The Kaiser Foundation and CMS – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (PDF) provide explanations of program, particularly how benefits may vary among states. Contact your state’s lead agency on Medicaid for further information.

Who is eligible: See pages 3 (included parties) and 12 (excluded parties) in CMS Guide (PDF) and the links above for your state. Medicaid covers low income populations of all ages and many people with disabilities. Advocates should also check with their individual state for further specifics, since CMS grants some measure of flexibility on covered benefits. One recent change that states have been struggling with and the impact on overall transportation costs is still unclear is the Medicaid Expansion to additional populations (PDF) under the Affordable Care Act, which would increase the number eligible consumers for a Medicaid Transportation benefit.

What it covers: Medicaid transportation benefits covered under your state’s Medicaid Plan, which must be approved by CMS. See general information on states and contact your state’s designated Medicaid agency[Read more…]

Webinar: Partnerships with Faith-based & Community Organizations to Support Inclusive Coordinated Transportation & Mobility Management

  • October 25, 2016; 3:00 p.m. Eastern
  • Register online to receive more information and reminders about this webinar

This Webinar is hosted by the National Center for Mobility Management and the ACL Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Partnerships Project, in cooperation with the Federal Transit Administration, and the U.S. Department of HHS Administration for Community Living (ACL) as well as their Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (The Partnership Center). Attendees will:

  • Learn about strategies to reach out to faith-based and community organizations and national initiatives that can support your work;
  • Hear about partnerships that have been established with non-traditional – non-transit organizations such as religious organizations; and
  • Acquire resources regarding how to develop and sustain relationships.

National Aging and Disability Transportation Center Announces Grant Opportunity Funding Innovations in Accessible Mobility

The National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) invites applications for development of program innovations that increase accessible transportation options for older adults and people with disabilities and maximize the utilization of FTA’s Enhanced Mobility of Seniors & Individuals with Disabilities (Section 5310) program and other federal funding investments. The grants of up to $50,000 each, which will be awarded to as many as six communities for a 12-month period, support program innovations and approaches that increase accessible transportation options for those groups. The NADTC is an FTA-funded technical assistance center that works to further the availability and accessibility of transportation options for older adults, people with disabilities and caregivers.

Eligible applicants include public transit agencies; councils of government; metropolitan planning organizations; tribal agencies, Area Agencies on Aging; Community Action Agencies; Centers for Independent Living; ARCs (Intellectual Disability service organizations); and community organizations involved in the administration, delivery or coordination of public transit, human services transportation, aging, or disability services. Apply before August 26, 2016. For more information, contact Eileen Miller, NADTC Senior Program Associate at (202) 872-0888.

August 10th Teleconference for NADTC Innovations in Accessible Mobility Grant Applicants

Join National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) staff on August 10 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern for an informational teleconference about the NADTC Mobility Grants. NADTC will address questions about grant scope, funding and the grant application process. Applicants should plan to participate.

  • Dial-in: 888.599.4876
  • Passcode: 8816955

CIL-NET Presents… A National Onsite Training – Affordable, Accessible, Integrated Housing: Expanding Options for People with Disabilities

CIL-NET Presents… A National Onsite Training:

August 23-25, 2016; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Register online or by using the printable registration form (PDF)

Registration Fee: $150.00

  • Registration Deadline: Extended to August 15, 2016
  • Guestroom Reservation Deadline: Extended to August 12, 2016

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETCIL-NET is organizing this outstanding training opportunity to make sure that you and your co-workers are equipped to help individuals find housing, all while increasing the stock of affordable, accessible, integrated housing in your community!

Please join us in Pittsburgh this summer to learn from leading housing experts in Independent Living and housing.

Target Audience

CIL Administrators, Housing Specialists, Advocates and others concerned with increasing the availability of integrated, affordable, accessible housing for persons with disabilities.  [Read more…]

PVA Air Travel Survey for Passengers with Disabilities

The purpose of this survey by Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is to help members of the Department of Transportation’s Advisory Committee on Accessible Air Transportation (ACCESS Advisory Committee) in their efforts to develop specific regulations regarding whether the Department should require an accessible lavatory (restroom) on a single aisle aircraft. To assist the committee, please complete the survey.

Preliminary results are due back to the ACCESS committee on July 22, however the survey will be open until August 1 and all respondents will be counted. Please contact Paralyzed Veterans of America with any questions.

An Update on Air Travel from the NCIL Transportation Subcommittee

Air travel has been a challenge for people with disabilities for years. Some of the major issues include:

  • Inaccessible websites for travel or kiosks
  • Non- accessible airports
  • Lack of disability etiquette for airport staff, airline personnel, TSAs and those transporting individuals to the airport (hotel buses, taxis, Transportation Networking Companies (Uber, Lyft), trains / high speed rail and private transportation bus companies
  • Lost or damaged Durable Medical Equipment, Assistive Technology, or other equipment
  • Much longer waits than non-disabled customers
  • Disregard for personal privacy and rights, including unnecessary ‘pat downs’ for the sake of safety (worse since 9/11)
  • Stated disability or ‘special needs’ assistance which can often make things worse than if you came without prior notification (pre-check, etc.) despite policies and enforcement that are to make it easier
  • Mistreatment of service animals
  • Lack of adequate seating or foot space
  • No or limited access to bathrooms on planes
  • Issues with tie downs for wheelchairs

NCIL Efforts:

NCIL has been at work on several areas of public policy and related implementation regarding air travel for individuals with disabilities. While it’s fair to say that NCIL’s efforts are disability-focused, others benefit from as well, including seniors and others that may not consider themselves members of either of these communities.  [Read more…]

An Update from the NCIL Housing Subcommittee

The Senate and the House both are currently in deliberations over appropriations for HUD and USDA Rural Housing, and advocacy is needed to ensure that housing programs receive the funding they need. Both groups have released their budget numbers for HUD appropriations, but Senate hasn’t for USDA Rural Housing.

This chart from Enterprise (PDF) lists the programs and the amounts. Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 is the final budget numbers for the current year and FY17 Proposed is what the President proposed. FY 2017 House and FY 2017 Senate are self-explanatory. It’s a given that the President won’t receive his requested amounts, so the issue here is what we will end up with between the House and the Senate numbers when they are reconciled.

Many programs saw more-or-less the same funding they received in 2016. Apparently Congress has little appetite for a budgetary fight on housing in an election year, although reportedly the House has proposed significant cuts to programs serving low-to-moderate income households such as food assistance[Read more…]

Greyhound Disability Settlement: The Latest on the Greyhound Lawsuit and Claims Process from the U.S. Department of Justice

NCIL Presents… A National Teleconference

Thursday, June 2, 2016; 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern

Register online.

Please join NCIL on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern to hear about the Department of Justice’s recent filing of a lawsuit against Greyhound Lines, Inc. and, importantly, the Claims Process that is currently underway to help compensate any person who 1) has a disability 2) traveled or attempted to travel on Greyhound between February 8, 2013, and February 8, 2016, and 3) during that travel or attempted travel experienced disability discrimination. This historic settlement will allow for compensation of all individuals who file valid claims on or before November 10, 2016 and is intended to remedy the nationwide practice of disability discrimination that the United States alleges occurred on Greyhound. DOJ Trial Attorneys Nabina Sinha and Anne Langford will discuss the resolution, the Claims Process, and will be available to answer questions.

Read more about the settlement at justice.gov.

This teleconference is free for NCIL Members. There is a $25.00 registration fee for Non-Members, per call-in site. Fee does not apply per participant in group, provided the group uses the same conference line.

The Policy Briefing will be available via teleconference and CART (captioned) webcast. You must register by 12:00 Noon Eastern on June 2nd to participate in the call.

Please contact Tim Fuchs at tim@ncil.org with any questions.

Fair Housing Under Attack as Senate Considers THUD Bill – Take Action TODAY: Urge Your Senators to Oppose the Lee-Cotton Amendment

Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition

We really need you to weigh in to defeat an amendment that will undermine our nation’s efforts to expand opportunity and fairness for all.

Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) are now being joined by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Senate Banking Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) on an amendment to prohibit funding for implementation or enforcement of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (“AFFH”) rule.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition sent a letter (PDF) to the Senate explaining why this misguided and harmful amendment must be defeated. The AFFH rule simply clarifies existing fair housing obligations and will allow states and local governments to more fairly and effectively invest federal funds in their communities.

Take Action

Contact your Senators today and urge them to oppose the Lee-Cotton amendment. Your voice is critical in defeating this amendment!  [Read more…]