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

Housing & Transportation

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

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 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…]

Opportunity to Comment: FAA Draft Advisory Circular on Access to Airports by Individuals with Disabilities

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announces the availability of draft Advisory Circular, (AC) 150/5360-14A, Access to Airports by Individuals with Disabilities, for public review. This AC will provide guidance and recommendations for ensuring access to airports by individuals with disabilities. The draft AC substantially revises and incorporates regulatory updates and recommendations for Service Animal Relief Areas (SARA) at airports. The draft AC was rewritten to improve readability, and to simplify and clarify the regulations for airport operators regarding airport access by individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the FAA is interested in public input regarding the use of wayfinding technologies and other technology innovations at airports.

Comments must be received on or before June 6, 2016. The FAA will also consider comments received after that date to the extent practicable.  [Read more…]

Claims for Compensation Under Historic Settlement Between DOJ and Greyhound May Now Be Filed

Source: Department of Justice

A claims process is now available to compensate people who experienced disability discrimination while traveling or attempting to travel on Greyhound. The claims process is part of a consent decree that resolves nationwide Americans with Disabilities Act discrimination claims brought by the Justice Department. Greyhound Lines, Inc. has hired a Claims Administrator to distribute an uncapped amount of compensation to people who experienced disability discrimination while traveling or attempting to travel on Greyhound.

Individuals eligible for compensation must:

  • have a disability;
  • have traveled or attempted to travel on Greyhound between February 8, 2013, and February 8, 2016;
  • experienced a disability-related incident during the travel or attempted travel (for example, lack of accessible transportation or transportation-related services, Greyhound’s failure to make disability-related accommodations, etc.); and
  • submit a Claim Form by mail, email, or online, to the Claims Administrator by no later than November 10, 2016.

[Read more…]

NCIL Responds to National Apartment Association Concerns over ADA ‘Notification’

NCIL is stunned by a recent misleading press release from the National Apartment Association (NAA). The NAA talks about their efforts to promote housing and jobs. Yet one of their lobbying points has nothing to do with providing housing and jobs – in fact, it would eliminate housing options for many Americans.

The NAA stated that during their Lobby Day on March 9, they identified to legislators the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act as barriers to their industry’s efforts to provide housing and jobs. They asked legislators to “support legislation that provides a business owner with the opportunity to cure an alleged ADA deficiency prior to the initiation of a lawsuit.”

This is a rather stunning position to take, considering that the Americans with Disabilities Act largely does not impact housing, other than leasing offices and other places of public accommodations. There, the requirements are relatively simple.

People with disabilities often have accessibility needs that only multi-family units meeting the design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act can meet. That is why people with disabilities have been very supportive of efforts of the apartment industry to build more multi-family housing. We know, and the National Apartment Association surely does, too, that the biggest barriers to housing construction isn’t the Americans with Disabilities Act, but the attitudes in many communities leading to NIMBYism – the “Not In My Back Yard” mindset. Yet this is curiously absent from the NAA’s policy priorities.

Instead, the NAA begs for relief from a law that has little to do with housing. They support a bill that, in its current form, would actually criminalize the process of making a complaint if not done exactly right. Clearly they have hopes of expanding this bill to include Fair Housing.

Why? The Americans with Disabilities Act is over 25 years old. The Fair Housing Act as amended to include disability is 28 years old. We know from history that those two are hardly barriers to economic activities such as housing construction. Why, then, would the NAA support an ADA notification bill, with obvious hopes of expanding it to include Fair Housing accessibility complaints?

Clearly, then, the NAA seeks to shield its members who are not in compliance by weakening the law. But to do so would deny one in five Americans’ right to equal access to housing and businesses. This effort is a slap in the face to people with disabilities who have supported the apartment industry, who are some of the apartment industry’s best tenants, and who have every right to expect that, more than two and a half decades after the passage of accessibility and anti-disability discrimination laws, there will be equal access.

NAA has affiliates all across the country. Please contact the local affiliate (politely!) and:

  1. Tell them that you are disappointed by NAA’s support of taking rights away from people with disabilities through the ADA notification bill, and ask if they support criminalizing people trying to stand up for their rights to equal access.
  2. Ask them to contact the NAA to say that they do not support this legislative priority.
  3. Want to go the Extra Mile? Many affiliates list their members. If the affiliate is resistant, contact the members and ask them question #1. Ask them to let the affiliate know that they do not support this.

It is possible that the person you speak to is not aware of what NAA is doing. Be prepared to summarize or to send a copy of this.

Action Alert: Contact Your Members of Congress Regarding FAA Reauthorization!

Air Travel Issues: Air travel for individuals with disabilities has long been an issue of frustration for many. Despite Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended), the Air Career Access Act of 1986 (as amended in 2009) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (as amended by the 2008 ADA Amendments Act), and stronger enforcement by recent Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) leadership, issues persist. It’s to the point where many in our community refuse to consider air travel, particularly persons using Durable Medical Equipment (DME) such as power wheelchairs, scooters, and Assistive Technology (AT).


  • Refusal to permit support service animals to accompany passengers with disabilities or improper treatment of service animals
  • Inappropriate handling of DME and AT, to the degree that expensive repairs and replacement of DME or AT occurred. There are instances of it being sent to wrong locations, stranding individuals in airports for extended time periods.
  • Lack of disability etiquette or cultural competency with airport and airline and other support personnel (including security, TSAs, etc.). People with disabilities want to be treated in a manner consistent with non-disabled passengers. At times, some additional assistance may be needed, but it should be done a respectful manner.
  • Inaccessible airports. These continue to decline, but there are some sections where it’s not fully accessible or the accessible options are blocked due to renovations without a secondary option.
  • Poor treatment of individuals who have types of surgeries with metal implants. We understand the need for heightened security since 9/11. Nevertheless, heightened security should never be an excuse for mistreatment of passengers under any circumstances. This has probably occurred as much with seniors as well as those under age 60.

FAA Reauthorization (Due March 31, 2016)

After the current short term 6 month extension approved in September 2015, Congress must pass another FAA Reauthorization by March 31, 2015. There are two bills that have moved in the House and the Senate has another one. None of the current bills moving have addressed disability concerns stated in the previous paragraph. The current bills being considered are H.R. 4441 (6 years), H.R. 4721 (1 year), and S. 2644 (2 years). It’s possible that these bills will be conferenced (meaning brought together) to come up with a final product to address concerns of the Congress and the President in the next 2 weeks.

Take Action

Contact your members of Congress – both US House and Senate – to let them know that you want them to address disability concerns in the final version of the FAA Reauthorization. You can leave a short message, asking them address disability concerns (section 508) in the final version. Feel free to send an e-mail noting some the concerns stated in this article or your short version of own air travel story, noting why our concerns need to addressed.

AirAccess360: Website for Air Travel Stories

NCIL has endorsed Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) launched the site in January to collect stories from the disability community about their air travel experiences.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). NCIL is working with PVA and the broader disability community to bring attention to the successes and failures in air travel for passengers with disabilities.

We need all people with disabilities to actively engage with us in this effort. Please share the website and encourage everyone to share their stories. We will be using these stories to increase advocacy around the ACAA and improve air travel for passengers with disabilities.

Help NCIL’s Housing Subcommittee Introduce the Topic of Accessible, Affordable Housing Into Electoral Races!

By NCIL Housing Subcommittee

equal housing opportunity symbolAt a recent meeting of the NCIL Housing Subcommittee, we were discussing the lack of coverage of housing issues in the electoral races at all levels. We felt that access to affordable, accessible, healthy / nontoxic, decent, safe and integrated housing is such an important issue for not just people with disabilities, but for almost everyone.

As campaign races heat up at all levels around the country, we want YOU to contact your legislators, to attend debates, public meetings, and forums, and ask them this important question:

What is your plan to address the need for affordable and accessible housing for people with disabilities, seniors, and low income families?

The more people that we ask this question, the more this will become an issue in races. So go ahead, and ask away! For federal races (House, Senate, and President), please e-mail any response you get to NCIL Housing Subcommittee Chair Brian Peters at

Letter Requesting Strong THUD 302b Allocation: Add Your Organization As A Signatory by February 19!

Groups concerned about transportation, housing, community development, and homelessness are once again working together to urge Congress to provide the highest possible funding level for the one appropriations subcommittee that funds all of these program areas, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Subcommittee. Congress will soon decide how to divide its available spending for the next fiscal year, FY2017, among the 12 appropriations subcommittees. These subcommittee allocations are referred to as the “302b allocations.”

Please sign your organization on today! Together, we hope to urge Congress to provide the highest possible amount for the THUD Subcommittee.

Please share this sign-on letter with your networks! The deadline to be included on the letter sent to Congress is the close of business February 19, 2016. Offers People with Disabilities Forum to Share Air Travel Experiences

Source: PVA

Individuals with disabilities now have a platform for sharing their stories, photos, videos and graphics about their air travel experiences., launched in January 2016 by Paralyzed Veterans of America, enables passengers with disabilities who utilize air travel to share positive and negative stories about their experiences.

The new website, launched in advance of the 30th anniversary of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), seeks the help of passengers with disabilities in showing the progress that has been made as well as the work that remains to accomplish the true spirit of the ACAA.

“It’s not just people who use wheelchairs who have problems,” said Heather Ansley, associate general counsel for corporate and government relations for Paralyzed Veterans of America. “There are a lot of different nuances, and we want to show the importance of air travel for the independence of people with disabilities – from business trips to vacations to travel associated with medical needs.” offers a simple submission form in which air passengers with disabilities can submit their story, an image as well as additional images or videos relevant to describing their air travel experience. The site will also highlight some of the stories received by displaying them for others to review. [Read more at…]