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

Information Alert: More Options for Purchasing Assistive Technology!

Accessible Voting Machine DemonstrationThe NCIL Technology Subcommittee, chaired by John Nousaine of North Country Independent Living, worked many long days with Congressional leadership on both the House and Senate’s Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to advocate for the Alternative Finance Programs (AFP) throughout the country.

The coordinated advocacy and outreach done by our members and others who understand the importance of this issue turned out to be a great success!

In FY 2012 Appropriations, there will be $2 Million in new funds to the AFP distributed nationwide. The language states clearly that the funds go towards financing and there is no match requirement. This will be a consumer controlled and directed program, which allows nonprofits to apply for funds.

Full language in the bill – HR 2055:

Provided further, That $2,000,000 shall be for competitive grants to support alternative financing programs that provide for the purchase of assistive technology devices, such as a low-interest loan fund; an interest buy-down program; a revolving loan fund; a loan guarantee; or insurance program: Provided further, That applicants shall provide an assurance that, and information describing the manner in which, the alternative financing program will expand and emphasize consumer choice and control: Provided further, That State agencies and community-based disability organizations that are directed by and operated for individuals with disabilities shall be eligible to compete.

NCIL thanks our membership for responding swiftly to our alerts! This funding will assist and improve the lives of thousands of people with disabilities. It will allow many people with disabilities to continue or start to live independent lives.

NCIL would like to thank members of both Appropriations Subcommittees; Chair Denny Rehberg (R-MT) in the Senate and Ranking member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in the House; Chair Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking member Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL); and all of their dedicated staff members for their tireless work.

We acknowledge and thank members of the NCIL Technology Committee for their impressive commitment and their persistence to make AFP a reality. We want to thank our advocacy partners for attending meetings, making phone calls and signing our November 3 letter of support for this legislation! There were 63 national, state and local organizations that supported AFP and signed onto the letter.

For more information, please contact Dara Baldwin, Policy Analyst, at dara@ncil.org.

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