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


NCIL Conference Less Than Two Weeks Away: Additional Speakers Confirmed!

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.We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at this year’s Annual Conference on Independent Living from July 24-27 in Washington, DC! If you haven’t registered yet, see below for more information. You don’t want to miss it!

We are happy to announce the confirmation of two additional speakers to our lineup. This year, we are excited to welcome Judy Heumann as our keynote speaker and Melissa Ortiz, who will be joining Bob Williams at our closing plenary.

Judy Heumann is an internationally recognized disability rights activist and an early leader in the Independent Living movement. She is one of the leading voices on disability rights around the world, which makes her perfect to keynote this year’s NCIL conference focusing on the Global Independent Living Movement!

Since the 1970s, Judy has been a powerful force in the disability community. She has a long history of working for disability rights, which has included working for state government, the federal government, and non-profit organizations. She also has a long history of involvement and leadership within the Independent Living movement, which includes co-founding, serving as the Deputy Director and serving on the Board of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley. Judy was instrumental in organizing the Federal hearings held at the Berkeley CIL that led to Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1978.

Judy worked as the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) at the US Department of Education under President Clinton, was the World Bank’s first Advisor on Disability and Development, and served as Special Advisor for International Disability Rights for the US State Department. In addition to co-founding the CIL at Berkeley, she co-founded the World Institute on Disability (WID) and Disabled in Action (DIA). She has also been deeply involved with several landmark pieces of legislation for people with disabilities, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA – previously known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Melissa Ortiz joined the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in June of 2017 as the Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities (AoD). Melissa believes that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, disabled or not. Her mission is to provide people with disabilities with the necessary tools and supports to live independently. Her belief is that these fundamental rights are woven into our national fabric.

In her role as Commissioner of the AoD, she is enthusiastic about working on behalf of Americans with disabilities. She has worked in the classroom in Nashville, Tennessee, in the nonprofit sector in Washington, DC and New York City, on a number of political campaigns around the country, and has bent the ear of some of the country’s most powerful leaders in the process.

She identifies as a “happy patriot” and is committed to driving a dialogue between both sides of the political aisle and people with disabilities. She is uniquely suited to bridge the gap between these groups and is passionate about creating solutions. She currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband Tony and Service Dog Dachshund, Annie Oakley.  [Read more…]

Last Chance: Pre-Event Registration for NCIL’s 2017 Annual Conference on Independent Living Closes at Midnight, July 14!

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.All pre-event registrations for the 2017 Annual Conference on Independent Living must be received by Friday, July 14 at 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time.

Individuals may still register onsite, but please note that onsite registration fees differ from standard registration fees and plan accordingly.

Pre-event registration rates:

  • NCIL Member: $265
  • Non-member: $385
  • Daily Rate: $115-160 / day

Onsite registration rates:

  • NCIL Member: $305
  • Non-Member: $430
  • Daily Rate: $210 / day

Register today and save!

To register, use the NCIL online store, which gives you the ability to register up to three attendees with one transaction and accepts Discover, American Express, Visa, and MasterCard, or use the printable registration form (PDF or plain text).

Additional details are available on our conference webpage.

This year’s Annual Conference on Independent Living is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in recent history, and we can’t wait to see you there!

Shop #PrimeDay and Support NCIL!

Score great deals and support NCIL at the same time! If you plan on shopping on Amazon for #PrimeDay today, use NCIL’s custom link.

A portion of your purchase will go to NCIL so that we can keep fighting for community living for all!

Disability Network Business Acumen: Learning Collaborative & Office Hours

Source: National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD)

This is a reminder that the Disability Network Business Acumen Application is due electronically via email to by 11:59 p.m. EST, Friday, July 14, 2017.

Business Acumen Center Logo - Providing Resources to Sustain Disability OrganizationsIs your Center for Independent Living (CIL) or other organization applying to be a part of the Disability Business Acumen Learning Collaborative? Have questions about the application process? Looking for feedback on the opportunity (or challenge) you’d like to focus on? If so, then please plan to join us on Monday, July 10th from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (EDT) or Wednesday, July 12th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EDT) for a Question and Answer call-in session hosted by the Disability Business Acumen Resource Center. With no set agenda, representatives from the Resource Center will be on hand to answer your questions and provide feedback as you develop your Learning Collaborative application.

If you would like to pose a question or just listen in to the discussion, please e-mail to register, submit your question(s) and receive the call-in information. Have a question, but can’t make it to either of the call-in sessions? Send it to – in addition to receiving an individual response, frequently asked questions and responses will be posted to the Disability Business Acumen Resource Center website.

For more information about the Learning Collaborative, please visit the NASUAD website.

Announcing: The 2017 NCIL Policy Briefing!

Register online.

June 29, 2017; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern

NCIL is happy to announce our 12th Annual Policy Briefing.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThis important presentation will to bring advocates up-to-date on national issues and federal policies that affect people with disabilities and provide participants with question and answer sessions with national leaders to ensure you have in-depth information on the issues you care about most.

The Policy Briefing will ensure that we are fired up and prepared for NCIL’s 2017 Day on the Hill! For those of you who will not be at the 2017 Annual Conference on Independent Living, this will provide you with valuable and timely information that you can use in your community. Please share this training announcement far and wide so that our issues reach many people.

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 webinar. You must register by 12:00 Noon Eastern on June 29, 2017 to participate in the call.

  • Materials: This call will address the issues covered in NCIL’s Legislative & Advocacy Priorities Booklet, which is available in PDF, Word, or plain text.

Please contact Tim Fuchs at with any questions.

You Are Invited to An Advanced Screening of Defiant Lives At the Ed Roberts Campus!

Movie poster of the documentary “DEFIANT LIVES The Rise and Triumph of the Disability Rights Movement”. Image features pink-toned staircase with projected image of the face of a person with a disability behind bars and a wheelchair user.You are invited to a “Father’s Day” Private Advanced Screening of Defiant Lives, plus Q&A Panel with Director / Co-Producer Sarah Barton, Catherine Kudlick, Leroy Moore, and Marsha Saxton. The panel will be moderated by Lawrence Carter-Long.

Defiant Lives tells stories of the rise and fight of the disability rights movement in Australia, USA and UK from incarceration in nursing homes and other institutions to the social model of disability.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC) – Ashby Bart Station

3075 Adeline Street; Berkeley, CA 94703

* RSVP is required. RSVP by June 16 and request accessibility accommodations to: and with Berkeley SCREENING in the subject line.

  • ERC is a fragrance-free building. In consideration of individuals who are sensitive to chemicals in fragrances, please refrain from using scented products.
  • Defiant Lives is audio described and open captioned.
  • Sign Language Interpreters and CART will be provided; Venue is wheelchair accessible.

Invitation provided by: Defiant Lives Productions Pty Ltd, DREDF, WID, Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, AAPD, The CIL, DisBeat, Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0, and EIN SOF Communications.

DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for FY 2017 Preparedness Grants

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Notices of Funding Opportunity for 10 DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.6 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. The grants reflect the Department’s focus on funding for programs that address our nation’s immediate security needs and ensure public safety in our communities.

The FY 2017 grant guidance will continue to focus on the nation’s highest risk areas, including urban areas that face the most significant threats. For FY 2017, the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will enhance regional preparedness and capabilities by funding 33 high-threat, high-density urban areas. This represents Congressional intent to limit FY 2017 UASI funding to those Urban Areas that represent up to 85 percent of the nationwide risk, as stated in the Explanatory Statement accompanying the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2017 (Pub. L. No. 1154-31).  [Read more…]

Colleen Starkloff Recognized as a Woman of Achievement for Human Welfare

Colleen Starkloff was duly recognized as a Woman of Achievement for Human Welfare an Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, May 16.

The Women of Achievement honors extraordinary women who have inspired and helped shape communities in St. Louis for the better. These volunteers represent diverse civic, cultural, and professional leaders whose volunteerism and dedication to making a difference goes way beyond the call of duty. The Awards Luncheon seeks to recognize and celebrate their remarkable commitment and immeasurable contributions to the St. Louis region.

The Women of Achievement award was created in 1955 by the St. Louis Globe Democrat newspaper to recognize and honor the achievements of women who, through their volunteer efforts, have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to improving the quality of life in the St. Louis community.

New Discounted Accessible Guestrooms Available at the Fairfield Inn & Suites!

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.A new block of discounted accessible guestrooms is now available at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Washington, DC / Downtown: 500 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.

The Fairfield Inn is four blocks (0.4 miles) from the Grand Hyatt. The rate is $209 per night (plus tax of 14.5%). Reservations must be made by June 26, 2017.

To make your reservations online, use NCIL’s custom link or call the hotel at (888) 236-2427. Be sure to identify our group code “IND” or “Annual Conference on Independent Living” to receive the discounted rate for NCIL attendees. If you experience any trouble booking your room through the reservations system, or to confirm your ADA room any time after booking, you are welcome to call Fayven Estefanos at the Fairfield Inn at (202) 697-4016 or email

Please Note:

  • Rooms reserved through the reservation link will simply show “King Room”, but all guestrooms in NCIL’s block of rooms at the Fairfield Inn are ADA accessible. Guests are encouraged to confirm their reservation with Fayven Estefanos, Sales Coordinator, at (202) 697-4016 or email
  • This overflow block is for ADA Accessible guestrooms. There are still plenty of standard guestrooms available at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

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

Notice: CILs and SILCs Must Be a 2017 NCIL Member by Monday, June 26 in Order to Vote at the Annual Council Meeting!

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingNCIL’s Standard Operating Procedures require that CILs and SILCs pay their dues in full thirty (30) days prior to the Annual Council meeting to be eligible to vote at that meeting. If your organization has not yet joined or renewed for 2017, you must sign-up and pay your dues in full by 12:00 Midnight on Monday, June 26, 2017 in order to vote at the Annual Council Meeting.

If you do not join or renew by June 26, your organization will not be able to vote for the Governing Board members and Resolutions that guide NCIL’s actions and priority issues.

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the Conference, you can still have a designated NCIL member vote for you by proxy.

Make sure your voice is heard: sign up today!

Visit the NCIL organizational membership page to complete your organization’s 2017 membership. You can purchase your membership using our secure online store, or by using the printable membership form (PDF).

Thank you for your support!

NCIL Staff