Monday, May 7, 2012

Focus: National Council on Independent Living

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) will be hosting a policy briefing on May 14, 2012 to discuss NCIL's advocacy agenda. It will be available via teleconference and CART (captioned) webcast. This event is free for NCIL members and $25 for non-members. During the policy briefing, NCIL will address the issues covered in its Legislative & Advocacy Priorities Booklet. The booklet advocates for improved accessibility at polling locations and against photo identification requirements; reauthorization of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with greater consumer participation; establishment of a new Independent Living Administration (ILA) and strengthening the Independent Living Program; maintenance of the insurance protections in the Affordable Care Act; funding for accessible diagnostic equipment; requiring states to provide alternatives to institutionalization for people with disabilities; a health insurance program for the unemployed; and maintaining Medicaid and bolstering the CLASS Act.

NCIL's Transportation Priorities

In terms of transportation, called the "linchpin to independence," NCIL's advocacy booklet focuses on increased accessibility of facilities and modes, availability of transportation, and complete streets. This applies to public and publicly-available transportation options.
NCIL would like all new and innovative public and private transportation systems that transfer passengers including individuals with disabilities from one point to another to be accessible for all passengers. Also, pedestrian safety and the rights-of-way must be designed to maximize accessibility to all community-based services, programs, activities, and employment opportunities that are available to the general public. There are three areas of concentration that will maximize community integration, involvement, and participation of individuals with disabilities in the following ways:
 Rural transportation services, including transportation services between one municipality and another: NCIL strongly supports increased availability and greater access to affordable and accessible rural transportation as well as a coordinated plan to ensure such transportation services among and between all; cities, urban, and rural areas. To maximize the availability of rural accessible transportation services, this rule of accessibility must also apply to small airplanes.
 Livable communities: Safe and accessible rights-of-ways including Complete Streets Legislation, which are all essential elements of community life.
 Private Transportation Services: Legislation is needed to increase the number and availability of accessible vehicles within the private transportation industry i.e. taxis, limousines, shuttle service, car rentals, buses, trains etc.

For housing, NCIL seeks federal legislation that would mandate accessible public housing as well as institute other reforms. There are more legislative positions articulated in the booklet as well as a great deal of detail about the aforementioned topics.

Finding Affordable, Accessible, Integrated Housing, and A Systems Approach to Expanding Housing - Aug. 7-10, 2012 in Chicago. NCIL presents this two-in-one training event that incorporates law, policy, helping individuals and working with institutional partners.