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

CIL-NET Presents… A National Teleconference & Webinar: Approaches to Emerging Systems Advocacy in CILs

Systems advocacy is a core service at the heart of the Independent Living Movement. Our systems advocacy priorities are informed by the access barriers and discrimination we experience, but it takes a concerted effort to identify emerging systems advocacy issues that CILs must address – in addition to the ongoing fights for justice in housing, transportation, healthcare, etc.

IL-NET Logo - CIL-NET + SILC-NETJoin us on July 12th to learn how one CIL has created a systems advocacy model to identify and act on emerging systems advocacy issues. Access Living brings together elements of community organizing and systems advocacy to recruit leaders and address issues that affect communities experiencing multiple forms of oppression. Your presenters will walk through the process, from concept to campaign, so you understand how they build consensus and organizational buy-in, partner with community organizations and other advocates, and work towards systemic solutions. You will learn how they have navigated the process through real-life examples from active advocacy campaigns. They will also share how this work has impacted their organization, including reporting, ensuring accountability, and even opening new funding opportunities.

Registration Fee: $75.00. Fee is per site (connection) and does not apply per participant; registrants are encouraged to gather as many individuals as desired to participate by telephone.  [Read more…]

The National Council on Independent Living Condemns White House Zero Tolerance Policy

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) strongly condemns the inhumane actions of the Trump Administration that have resulted in the separation of immigrant families at the US/Mexico border.

Contrary to recent statements from the President, this policy is not required by law. Rather, the horrifying separations of immigrant children from their parents are the direct result of his Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. As a result of this policy, children have been torn from their parents, warehoused in overcrowded and isolated institutions, and forced to face inconceivable harm and abuse. The Administration’s policy is cruel, inhumane, and detrimental to the safety and well-being of both immigrant children and parents.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingAs a national disability rights organization, we are extremely concerned about the disabled children who are being separated from their parents and detained. These children are impacted disproportionately by this policy and are facing unthinkable trauma. We are also concerned for the children – and parents – who may develop disabilities due to the horror of what they are being forced to endure. The trauma they are experiencing is unquestionably causing irreversible harm.

The immigrant and disabled communities are inextricably linked. Many immigrants are disabled or have disabled family members – in fact, disability is the reason some of these people left their countries for the US. Many immigrants come to the US for better opportunities, including better treatment and support for disability and chronic conditions; sometimes they are trying to get to the US to simply survive. But immigration law has long been discriminatory against disabled immigrants, and they face a disproportionate risk for detainment and deportation. In all nearly settings – including detention centers – disabled immigrants often face insurmountable difficulties to accessing the supports and services they need.

NCIL stands in solidarity with the immigrant communities and others who oppose this immoral policy, and the families being traumatized by this policy. Children are not meant to serve as negotiating tactics, and the infliction of harm should not be used to send a message. We condemn the inhumane actions of this Administration.

After significant pressure, the President has signed an Executive Order (EO) to end the practice of separating families. But that won’t be enough, because there is no clear plan to reunite the 2,000 separated children and their parents immediately, and the EO still leaves the dangerous zero tolerance policy in place. Simply put, yesterday’s Executive Order is not the solution. We call on the President to take further action and end his zero tolerance policy immediately and completely.

Deadline Extended: DIA Children’s Art and Young Adult Essay Contests

The deadline to submit content for the Disability Integration Act Children’s Art Contest and Young Adult Essay Contest has been extended to Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingAll submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on June 26. Please visit our website for complete details, guidelines, and contest rules:

Good luck to all contest participants!

The Future of the Independent Living Movement Depends on You

Dear Friends of NCIL,

In 2016, while interning in DC, I received a youth scholarship to attend NCIL’s Annual Conference. I attended the conference and was struck by the sheer amount of power and passion contained in that space. I felt privileged to be among friends, fellow advocates, and disability rights legends – an experience that would not have been possible without the scholarship.

Now, two years later, I work at NCIL, helping to ensure that every person with a disability has the choice to live in the community, no matter what their needs. That’s why I’m writing to you today.

Mobilize - Resistance through Action: 2018 Annual Conference on Independent Living. Graphic features an arrow striking a heart over the letters "IL" and a target that replaces the "o" in "Mobilize"Two years ago, your support made it possible for me to attend the NCIL conference. Now, I’m asking for your support again, to enable other young people to attend our conference. Times are hard and budgets are tight for everyone. Unfortunately, we simply don’t have the funds to extend scholarships to all the deserving youth that have applied.

That’s where you can help. Make a donation to the Youth Scholarship Fund. Your contributions will provide scholarships to youth with disabilities who would otherwise be unable to attend the conference. With your help, we’ve already accepted nearly 30 youth this year. You can help us accept even more.

Now more than ever, in these times of upheaval and uncertainty for disabled people, you need to invest in our young leaders – because they will be the ones shaping disability rights for decades to come. Help transform other young people’s lives as mine was transformed. The future of the Independent Living Movement depends on you.

Lead on!

Cara Liebowitz
NCIL Development Coordinator

Take Action for MFP on the Olmstead Anniversary!

This Friday, June 22, 2018, is the 19th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision cementing the ADA’s integration mandate. To commemorate the day, NCIL is joining other national disability organizations in hosting a National Call-In Day for the EMPOWER Care Act (S. 2227 and H.R. 5306).

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingSince Money Follows the Person (MFP) began in 2005, over 75,000 disabled people have been liberated from institutions, and CILs have played a critical role in that. But MFP expired on September 30, 2016, and states are starting to scale back and end their programs. In fact, last year was the first time the number of people transitioned into the community declined. We need your advocacy to get the House and Senate to pass the EMPOWER Care Act to reauthorize and fund MFP!

Take Action!

Congress must save and fund MFP, and they need to hear from us! Please urge your Senators and Representative to continue the Money Follows the Person program by co-sponsoring the EMPOWER Care Act!

  • Participate in the National Call-In Day! Call your Senators and Representative and urge them to co-sponsor the EMPOWER Care Act! All members of Congress can be reached by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). Find more information, including talking points, at the Facebook event. RSVP and share widely!
  • Use Social Media! Post on Facebook and Tweet at your members of Congress. Find your Members’ Twitter handles and other contact information on Contacting Congress. Make sure to use the hashtag #FundMFP in your posts. You can find more information, including sample Tweets, at the Facebook event.
  • Email your members of Congress! Customize a message to your Members of Congress online.
  • Continue sharing your stories with us! See our previous alert for more details about the stories we’re looking for. Our original deadline passed, but we’re still looking for your stories about the importance of community living!

HCBS Business Acumen Center Toolkit – Step 1: Prepare. Understand the Business Environment and Your Place within It

HCBS Business Acumen Center Toolkit – Disability Network Business Strategies: A Roadmap to Financial and Programmatic Sustainability for Community-Based Organizations

Step 1: Prepare. Understand the Business Environment and Your Place within It

The National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) is pleased to announce the release of the first module of the HCBS Business Center Toolkit, “Disability Network Business Strategies: A Roadmap to Financial and Programmatic Sustainability for Community-Based Organizations”. This resource is a “how-to’ guide designed to help Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) evaluate, plan, develop and implement strategies to help build and sustain their organizations in various business climates.

HCBS Business Acumen Center LogoThe first module, Step 1: Prepare. Understand the Business Environment and Your Place within It provides guidance to CBOs serving people with disabilities on the information, data and people needed to inform the development of their strategic plan. This module will help the CBO identify and/or refine their vision and mission, conduct an environmental scan and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, and identify champions. This user-friendly resource includes a collection of templates that CBOs and their teams can use to document their findings and ideas.

You can access the first module of the toolkit in PDF or plain text[Read more…]

Action Alert: Attend Webinar on Advocating for Increased Accessibility with Additional HAVA Funds

On June 14, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, this REV UP Campaign webinar will explain the recently released Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funding meant to help states to improve their election security and election accessibility. Mark Abbott from the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) will explain what funding is available, how it can be used, and how states can apply for it. Michelle Bishop from the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) will discuss how to advocate to state election officials to consider election accessibility as part of the overall plan to increase election security. Participants will have multiple opportunities to ask questions.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingWe encourage all people who care about election accessibility, from individual advocates to organizational staff, to attend.

Before the webinar, make sure to visit the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s page on 2018 HAVA Election Security Grants to learn how much your state was awarded from these grants.

Announcing: The 2018 NCIL Policy Briefing

Wednesday, June 27, 2018; 3:00-4:30 p.m. Eastern

NCIL is happy to announce our 13th 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 2018 Day on the Hill! For those of you who will not be at the 2018 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 CART (captioned) webcast. You must register by 12:00 Noon Eastern on June 27 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.

Take Action on the Disability Integration Act Over the Recess!

Members of Congress are back home this week for recess, so it’s the perfect time to meet with them about the Disability Integration Act (DIA)! If your Senators or Representative have still not signed on to the DIA, take action over the recess by urging them to become a cosponsor!

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingThe Disability Integration Act (S. 910 and H.R. 2472) is a critical bill that would reverse the institutional bias and help disabled people stay in our homes and communities. The DIA is the next logical step in our fight for disability rights and the only piece of legislation that will protect our community from institutionalization. We need ALL of our Members of Congress to support the DIA!

We know the disability community has the power to make things happen, and every meeting, email, call, and action counts. Use this recess to educate your Senators and Representative on the DIA and urge them to become a cosponsor! Tell them that living in our own communities and making choices about our lives is our right, and as our elected officials, it’s their responsibility to protect that!

Learn more about the DIA at

Final Week: Participants Needed for the National Survey on Health Reform & Disability

The NIDILRR-funded Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) is looking for adults aged 18-62 with disabilities to complete an online survey about getting and using health insurance and health care services – the National Survey on Health Reform & Disability.

Why? We want to know how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is affecting your life. If you have private insurance, insurance from an employer, Medicaid, Medicare, or no insurance please take the survey.

Who? Adults ages 18 to 62 with any type of disability, chronic health condition or mental illness.

How? The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete and your responses are anonymous.

During the week of May 27th – June 2nd the last of 2 drawings to win a $100 gift card will be held. The online survey is fully accessible for mobile devices and screen readers, but if you prefer to take the survey over the phone or have any questions about participating, please call toll-free 1-855-556-6328 (Voice/TTY) or email For more information about CHRIL, go to: