Monday, November 13, 2017

Action Alert: Fully Fund Access To Home

ACTION ALERT in large white capital letters on a dark red background

Call Governor Cuomo today to ensure $10 million in funding for Access to Home
is included in the New York State budget!

Inaccessible housing is one of the biggest barriers for people seeking to live in the community. Unfortunately, our existing home modification program, Access To Home, has been severely underfunded at a mere $1 million for the past several years. This has left many parts of the state unserved, and has resulted in years long waiting lists. The Governor has also vetoed the Visitability Tax Credit three times, which would have provided a tax credit to help people afford to retrofit their homes. The Governor needs to hear from the disability community that he can't keep ignoring the need for home modifications!

Further, as the State invests in programs such as Open Doors and the Olmstead Housing subsidy, which are designed to help people leave institutions or prevent unwanted and unnecessary institutionalization, it needs to provide funding for home modifications to enhance these efforts.

NYAIL is urging Governor Cuomo to include $10 million in funding for Access To Home, to help homeowners and renters alike get the home modifications they need to live in the community.

All centers hear from people who need accessible housing. We need you to identify those people and work with them to contact Governor Cuomo and their local legislators.

ACTION:


Background:

Access to Home is an important program administered by NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) that provides funding for home modifications to allow people with disabilities and older New Yorkers to stay in their homes and out of costly institutions. For many people, the addition of a ramp to their front door makes the difference between being able to leave the house and being homebound. The Independent Living community advocated vigorously for the State to create Access to Home to help alleviate the housing crisis for people with disabilities in New York by assisting low and middle-income individuals and families to make home modifications. Yet, Access to Home was cut by 75% several years ago under this administration. Ever since, Access to Home has been funded at a mere $1 million statewide, leaving many parts of the state without the program and resulting in years long waiting lists. While the State did allocate $19.6 million over three years to the program in the 2015-16 SFY from the J.P. Morgan settlement funds, those funds were limited to veterans with disabilities. This meant that the vast majority of low income families who needed home modifications to remain at home, couldn't access them, despite the increase in funding to a similar program.


Further, in his most recent veto message for the Visitability Tax Credit bill, Governor Cuomo cites Access To Home as the way the state supports people who need home modifications. However, unless you are a veteran, you likely can't get assistance in a timely manner from Access To Home. Access to Home requires significantly more funding to come close to meeting the need of people in this state to modify their home to make them accessible.

This Action Alert is issued by the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL).

Thursday, November 9, 2017

NCCI on YouTube

Have you visited NCCI's YouTube Channel?

So far, we have 6 videos posted about NCCI, and a separate list of 28 disability-related videos by others that are worth a look. Note that whenever possible, the videos we produce about NCCI include closed captions if you need them.

Click here to visit NCCI's YouTube Channel, or view our original videos below:

North Country Center for Independence Introduction




GoFundMe Thank You




#CuomoFails Protest: Albany, New York




CDPAP Presentation




Upcoming Changes in Clinton County Transportation




NCCI Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

NCCI Social Media Review

​It has been almost a year since we started using social media more steadily to communicate with the North Country disability community, and with the broader network of disability rights organizations around the country. Now is probably a good time for an update on what we are doing and what you'll find in NCCI's social media. Click the links to check out these sites:


A visit to NCCI's website is probably the simplest way to connect with our other social media networks. From here you can easily get to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube accounts. The website itself also provides a good overview of NCCI's mission, services, staff, board of directors, and advocacy activities. There's also an online Calendar, and of course the NCCI Blog, which presents new information and action alerts at least once a week. Start here, and make the website a "Favorite" so it's easy to come back!

We add new posts daily, usually two disability-related articles or NCCI news items, plus some selected shares from other related Facebook pages. Our content is curated for quality and focus over quantity. You may not enjoy or agree with every item posted, but you can trust that it has been selected with care, for specific reasons related to disability issues and NCCI’s mission.

Twitter
 
We "tweet" the same items we post on Facebook, and also retweet selected items from other Twitter users. As with Facebook, content is carefully selected, and free of unrelated junk. Twitter is an especially active place for disability conversations. There is a growing number of unique disability groups and discussions going on exclusively on Twitter. Most disability organizations and disability rights leaders and thinkers use Twitter every day to explore disability issues. Twitter is also widely used by elected officials, (with varying quality and effectiveness of course), and by journalists. This makes Twitter a powerful meeting place where disability movements and organizations can raise our issues to the attention of traditional media and politicians.

There’s not much to look at yet, but we are making an effort to share more photos of NCCI activities. In the near future, we might also explore ways for the local disability community to share their own photos.

We have an NCCI introductory video posted, and a playlist of disability-related videos from other sources. We’ll soon be posting more videos profiling NCCI staff and programs.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Urge Governor Cuomo to Sign the Visitability Tax Credit Bill into Law!

ACTION ALERT in all capital letters, white, against a dark red background

The Visitability Tax Credit bill (A.5950/S.2411) was delivered to Governor Cuomo today for his action. He now has 10 days to sign it into law or veto. This bill would provide homeowners with a tax credit of up to $2,750 to renovate their home to make it more universally visitable, or to go toward the cost of developing a universally visitable home.

ACTION:

Call Governor Cuomo today at # 518-474-8390 and urge him to sign the visitability tax credit bill, A.5950/S.2411, into law.

Say "I am calling to urge Governor Cuomo to sign the Visitability Tax Credit bill (A.5950/S.2411) into law. This tax credit is needed to help people with disabilities and older New Yorkers with the costs of making their homes more accessible and would allow people to age in place"

Background:

The disability community has long advocated for New York to increase the accessible housing stock across the State by incentivizing the use of "visitability" design standards. This includes basic accessible features, including:

One no-step entrance
An accessible path to the door
Hallways and doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair
An accessible bathroom on the first floor

Due to the high cost of home modifications, many people cannot afford to make changes to their homes to make them more accessible, or to move to a more accessible home. Most prefer to remain at home rather than move to nursing facilities or different, more accessible housing as their needs change. However, many are forced out because their homes are no longer safe or practical for them to live in. This tax credit will help to ensure that people with disabilities and older New Yorkers are able to afford these modifications and remain in their homes.

The NYS legislature passed similar legislation in 2015 and 2016. Governor Cuomo vetoed this legislation twice, indicating his support for the concept, but stating it had to be done in the context of the Budget. Unfortunately, Governor Cuomo didn't include this in his proposed Executive Budget. It has now passed the legislature for a third year in a row and is on the Governor's desk for action.

Previous vetoes indicated that there was a need to better understand the cost estimates for such a program. For this reason, the sponsors included a $1 million cap per year in aggregate. As the program would now be considered a pilot project, the State has five years to determine whether this cap is sufficient to meet the needs of the population. Further, the State can simply include the $1 million in the 2018-19 State Budget since it would not take effect until January 1, 2018, or after.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Fall Accessibility Month ... Wrap-Up and Results

Fall Accessibility Month sign, with illustration of a person in a wheelchair at the bottom of a flight of stairs, and an orange colored maple leaf

September is just about over, and so is Fall Accessibility Month. Our first month focusing on doing online business accessibility ratings has produced some good results. As of today, the following Plattsburgh restaurants have been accessibility rated on the AbleRoad website. Click the links to see the detailed ratings:

Starbucks
4 1/2 Stars
359 Route 3
Plattsburgh

Latitude 44 Bistro
4 Stars
5131 US Avenue
Plattsburgh

Burger King
4 Stars
305 Cornelia Street
Plattsburgh

Below Deli
3 1/2 Stars
37 Bridge Street
Plattsburgh

Our House Bistro
3 1/2 Stars
15 Bridge Street
Plattsburgh

DeLish By Irises
3 1/2 Stars
24 City Hall Place
Plattsburgh

Pizza Hut
2 1/2 Stars
5069 US Avenue
Plattsburgh

Irises Cafe & Wine Bar
1 Star
20 City Hall Place
Plattsburgh

This is a good start, but there are still 72 restaurants in the Plattsburgh area that need accessibility ratings. This is a long-term project, and in January, 2017 will be the first Winter Accessibility Month.

In the meantime, you can still help us by registering for free at AbleRoad, looking up unrated restaurants in the 12901 Zip Code, and giving star ratings the restaurants you visit.

Start by visiting AbleRoad and getting set up to add accessibility ratings. Or, you can call, (518-563-9058), or stop by NCCI and ask for a list of restaurants to rate.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Action Alert! Call Congressional Representatives from New York to Oppose the Graham-Cassidy Bill

Action Alert in bold white text on dark red background

Act today to stop the Republicans in the Senate from repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and making devastating cuts to Medicaid!

The Graham-Cassidy proposal is the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and gut the Medicaid program. It will have a devastating impact on Medicaid, especially in New York State, which will suffer billions of dollars in Medicaid funding cuts if this bill passes.

It would cause virtually all of the same devastating impacts  as previous repeal bills already rejected by the Senate, and would disproportionately harm seniors and people with disabilities. This bill would:

- Allow insurers to charge individuals with pre-existing conditions more money for health coverage

- Cap and block grant Medicaid (the equivalent of Medicaid cuts)

- Cut funding for Medicaid expansion

- Cut funding for financial assistance that helps low-wage workers and moderate-income families buy private insurance

- Repeal the ACA individual and employer mandates

This bill is gaining momentum in the Senate, and it must be stopped! While our New York Senators are thankfully opposed to this harmful bill, it is important that we push for Republican Representatives in the House to come out in opposition!

ACTION:

Call the following Congressional Representatives and urge them to come out publically in opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill.

Lee Zeldin, First District  #202-2253826
Peter King, Second district #202-225-7896
Daniel Donovan,11th district #202-225-3371
John Faso, 19th District #202-225-5614
*** Elise Stefanik  21st district #202-225-4611 ***
Claudia Tenney  22nd district #202-225-3665
Tom Reed, 23rd  District #202-225-3161
John Katko, 24th District #202-225-3701
Chris Collins, 27th District #202-225-5265

Urge them to:

- Oppose the Graham-Cassidy proposal and any other bill that cuts, caps, or block grants Medicaid.

- Support bi-partisan efforts to stabilize the healthcare marketplace and improve healthcare for all.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/UC5slzTqmoDnaJfoCEoa5g

Additional Resources:

Kaiser Family Foundation
http://www.kff.org/medicaid/fact-sheet/5-ways-the-graham-cassidy-proposal-puts-medicaid-coverage-at-risk/

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/like-other-aca-repeal-bills-cassidy-graham-plan-would-add-millions-to-uninsured

Manatt Health
https://www.manatt.com/Insights/White-Papers/2017/Impacts-of-New-Graham-Cassidy-Repeal-and-Replace-P

This is an Action Alert from the New York Association on Independent Living.