DISABILITY ISSUES FORUM ATTRACTS CANDIDATES IN TOP 3 SPOTS

Candidates Join Historic Issues Forum to Speak to Texas Disability Community

The Disability Vote will be an increasing factor in the upcoming elections.  With over 4 million Texans with disabilities, plus their families, friends, colleagues, and professionals that serve them, political candidates are increasingly recognizing this group as an important constituency. Major Texas media, including the San Antonio Express-News, the Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman, have already spotlighted disability issues in top-of-the-ballot races.

That’s why a growing coalition of groups from across the state is organizing the Texas Disability Issues Forum (TDIF) on September 24, 2014 in Austin. For the first time in the state’s history, major party candidates for the offices of Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General are invited to a disability-focused event to address the public policy concerns of this community.  And the public is invited.  So come on down y’all.

CLICK HERE to sign up.

TDIF’s placement just six weeks before Election Day and prior to early voting is no coincidence. “This is a transformational election,” says TDIF organizer Bob Kafka of ADAPT of Texas. “The leadership of our state is changing, and Texans with disabilities are deeply concerned and talking about issues like access to healthcare, attendant wages, and employment and want to know where the candidates stand on them.” He adds, “this has never been done before.  It could be a real game-changer.”

Over 45 local and statewide organizations have signed on to co-host TDIF. “At the PVA, we support all Texans with disabilities and hope our elected officials will do the same,” says Darrell Wilson of the Texas Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, one of the co-hosts.

As of 8/26/14, each of the Democratic candidates– Senator Wendy Davis for Governor, Senator Leticia Van de Putte for Lt. Governor, and Sam Houston for Attorney General– have confirmed their attendance. Organizers continue to work with the campaigns of the Republican candidates– Attorney General Greg Abbott for Governor, Senator Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor, and Senator Ken Paxton for Attorney General– to secure their participation. Organizers emphasize that TDIF is non-partisan and urge unconfirmed invitees to take this opportunity to participate in this historic event.

More about the Forum:

Not a face-to-face debate, candidates will address the community, discuss their position on critical issues and answer questions posed by an independent moderator (KUT’s Ben Philpott). A presentation on accessible voting and voting rights will follow the candidate Q&As, and attendees will be able to register to vote throughout the event.

TDIF will be broadcast and live-streamed on the web by Channel Austin. Media are invited, and photo opportunities will be encouraged.

Lead organizers are ADAPT of Texas, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, the Disability Voting Action Project, Texas Parent to Parent, and The Arc of Texas. Over 45 organizations from across the state will co-host and major sponsors include Superior HealthPlan, Amerigroup, Hanger Clinic, and Cigna HealthSpring.

Full details: bit.ly/TexasDIF

To attend please sign up at the Disability Voting Access Project website.  CLICK HERE to sign up.

Contact:

Bob Kafka   (512) 442-0252  bob.adapt@sbcglobal.net

Dennis Borel  (512) 478-3366  dborel@txdisabilities.org

AUSTIN SECTION 8 / HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER LIST TO OPEN AGAIN, SIGN UP!!!

Section 8 waiting list logo 2014After 8 years the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, HACA, is finally able to open the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher waiting list.  This will happen pretty soon and it won’t last that long so pay attention.  You can sign up between Oct 22 and Oct. 29 of this year.

This time however there will be no city block long waiting line.  This time HACA is signing folks up online and if you don’t have access to a computer you can go to one of their community partners (you can come to ADAPT) and if you need help due to a disability there is a phone number for you to call 1-888-262-3949.  HACA will accept waiting list applications online only from 12:00am October 22, 2014 through 11:59pm on October 29, 2014.  You can apply from anywhere with Internet access – from a home computer, laptop, smart phone or tablet.

Waiting list applications can be submitted at:

https://Austin.Apply4Housing.com
Apparently there are some scammers out there, so don’t be fooled.  Remember this website is the ONLY one where you can apply:

https://Austin.Apply4Housing.com

Because so many folks will be applying (or pre-applying to be more correct), HACA will have a lottery to select 2,500 people/families for the Waiting List. This way it doesn’t matter whether you apply on the first day or the last day of the pre-application period. You will have an equal chance in the lottery as long as you sign up during the pre-application period from October 22-29, 2014.

for more information you can go to HACA’s website

 

 

PACT 4th ANNUAL ATTENDANT APPRECIATION BBQ & PARTY

Please join the Personal Attendant Coalition of Texas (PACT) to recognize your work with persons with disabilities in our community.

Community Attendants  Equal Independence   Nominate someone today!

click here to go to nomination form

WHAT:  BBQ, Music by “Who‘s Your Daddy?”   Attendants of the Year Awards!    

WHEN:    Saturday October 18, 2014  4-6pm

WHERE:  Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 1206 E. 9th  (Metro Bus Route 2 )

 *IMPORTANT*:     RSVP to Nancy or Cathy At ADAPT/PACT: 512-442-0252 to register for this free event.

 PACT 4th BBQ Anual de APRECIACION DE ASISTENTES PERSONALES

Únase a la Coalición de Asistentes Personales de Texas – PACT – para reconocer su trabajo con personas en nuestra comunidad.

haga clic aquí para ir al formulario de nominación

QUÉ:         BBQ, Música de ”Whose Your Daddy?”,  Premios de Asistentes Personales del año!

CUÁNDO:   sábado, 20 de octobre  4-6pm

DÓNDE:    Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, 1206 E. 9th Street

Rutas de Autobús:    #2

IMPORTANTE:  RSVP antes de 15 de octobre a Nancy o Cathy En ADAPT / PACT: 512-442-0252  para registrarse. Gratis!

TEXAS HOSTS NATIONAL ADAPT ORGANIZING TRAINING

A dozen protesters in wheelchairs wearing ADAPT shirts and holding posters sit in a parking lot chanting

No Access No Tacos photo: Bruce Darling

Twenty activists from around the country came to Austin for a National ADAPT Organizing Training. The training covered many aspects of organizing and included a local action, this one targeting a local taco stand that has one and half steps at the front entrance. Even though it is 24 years post the passage of the ADA, and even though locals had brought up the issue of access on a number of occasions, Porfirio’s Tacos still had no access for folks with disabilities.  The owner met on the spot with the leadership team within an hour of our arrival and agreed to put in a ramp.  The hope is we will be seeing some new ADAPT groups sprouting up in the next few months, as well as new faces at the National action in Little Rock in September and in DC next spring.

VERY FUN FUNDRAISER ENDS AT THE END OF AUGUST

Nicky Boyte, David Wittie and Mary Steele outside the front of the Treasure City Fundraiser 2013

Nicky says come on down y’all!

Only a couple of days left for a truly fun fundraiser at

Treasure City Thrift Store 2142 E. 7th St. Austin TX 78702 ·(map)

(The big PINK building at E 7th St and Robert Martinez…

Ron Cranston in his tie dye ADAPT shirt, Cathy Cranston and Dolores Carillo in PACT shirts, and Danny Saenz, as well as pink haired Treasure City saleswoman outside the front door. Pink wall behind reads ..."e City"

Satisfied shoppers head out to party at 2013 Treasure City Fundraiser

Come peruse the eclectic (and ever changing) collections of this wonderful thrift store. Some of the proceeds will go to ADAPT if you buy during August!

Treasure City is a real gift to Austin.  Run by a very super women’s collective, the store supports MANY progressive Austin organizations, has cool stuff at CHEAP prices and then moves the stuff on through massive sales and even a giveaway at some point.  Their motto is Solidarity not Charity.  The merchandise is always changing and there are helpful, funky, weird and wonderful finds to be found.   They deserve to be supported and they make it so easy to do!

So come on down and check them out before September starts.  You’ll be glad you did! Shopping there any time in August will benefit ADAPT, and you too.  They have great stuff.

TREASURE CITY  – CHECK IT OUT!

 

 

 

ADAPT Marks ADA 24th Anniversary

Members of ADAPT and TCRP at a table in front of the Austin City Hall

ADAPT and TCRP press conference was a success

Thursday ADAPT held a press conference with the Texas Civil Rights Project to announce the filing of this years Americans with Disabilities Act Lawsuits.  Among them are suits against Yellow Cab, UBER and Lyft for failure to provide equal access for people with disabilities.

The Olmstead decision is 15!!

Come celebrate Freedom, Independence & Community Integration for ALL!!!

Monday June 23, 2014 at 10:30 am at the LBJ School of Public Affairs – 2300 Red River (on the UT Campus by the LBJ Library.)

We’ll hold a brief press conference and then celebrate, with light refreshments, the 15th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s LC & EW v. Olmstead decision.  This decision said unnecessary institutionalization is discrimination, and paved the way for Money Follows the Person (a Texas invention), and Community First Choice (CFC) among other free our people victories. Some in the disability community see this case as the disability version of Brown vs. Board of Education.

Come join us, bus routes #10 and #20 go by here, and it’s at the corner of Red River and Duval if you are walking, biking or driving, or skateboarding or whatever.

Lois CurtisLois Curtis (LC), pictured on the left, was one of the plaintiff’s in the Olmstead case.  Today she is a talented artist living in the community in her own place, with supports.  She was the ADAPT Celebrity Fun Runner several years ago.

 

Elaine Wilson (EW), pictured below, was the other heroine of the Olmstead case.  She also live on her own in the community after over 35 years of institutionalization.  She died in 2004.

Elaine-Wilson

A summary of the case is available from the Bazelon Center, and additional information on it’s ongoing effect is available from the US Department of Justice, including a gallery of people whose lives have been transformed just as Lois and Elaine’s were.

SUPPORT HOUSING FOR ALL

If you think landlords should not be able to say “WE DON’T TAKE SECTION 8!”  Contact the Austin City Council members This link will allow you email them all at once.

The Council will be voting on this in the next few weeks, so don’t delay!

If you or someone you know has searched for months for an apartment and been turned away again and just because the landlord doesn’t like Section 8 vouchers, this is your chance to share your story.  In fact, the Austin Tenant’s Council did a survey of landlords of properties with 50 or more units and found 91% of these properties refused to take Section 8/Housing Choice vouchers.  No wonder you had a problem!

The City of Austin is working on adding source of income to the City’s Human rights ordinance.  So in plain English?  That means landlords could not say no to vouchers like Section 8 or TBRA (Tenant based rental assistance), veterans vouchers, or any of those kinds of housing assistance.

The June 12 meeting at Neighborhood Housing and Community Development, was attended by several landlords and landlord groups as well as tenants and tenant advocates.  Discussion was lively but it was clear those who support this ordinance need to make their message heard.  The landlord advocates were throwing out many objections, some understandable but many based on misinformation.

ADAPT knows tons of folks who have been turned away again and again, and have had to renew their time to find a place again and again because of this problem.  Yet our sister group AHA!  Accessible Housing Austin! takes vouchers and has had no real problems with the vouchers or voucher holders.  HUD pays on time, unlike some tenants.

So share your views with City staff and Council members. Email them, or write a letter or make a visit.  But please speak up.  This is a big deal.

Victory! Disability Rights finally included in Civil Rights Summit

Disability rights are civil rights group group shot(photos by Kaye Beneke kaye@beneketx.com)

DISABILITY RIGHTS ARE CIVIL RIGHTS!

(April 8, 2014 – Austin, TX) Disability rights advocates gathered to hold a press conference near the LBJ Presidential Library where a national Civil Rights Summit is taking place.  The Summit which the library is holding to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and acknowledge it’s legacy.  Presidents Jimmy Carter, William “Bill” Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama will be addressing the conference, among many others.

To commemorate the impact of the Civil Rights Act, workshops cover a variety of other topics, including: Gay Marriage, Immigration Policy, Music and Social Consciousness, LBJ and MLK, Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream, Leveling the Sports Playing Field, Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement, Social Justice in the 21st Century, Women: How High is the Glass Ceiling?, and Education: The Ultimate Civil Right.  Despite having been contacted over 2 months ago to see if disability was going to be included, Summit organizers were not planning to include this important legacy.  However, at the 11th hour, thanks to the speedy and united response from the disability rights community from across the country, Summit Organizers finally found a place to include disability on one of the panels at the Summit.

So today members of the disability rights community and our allies gathered to celebrate this victory, the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and the importance of the Americans with Disabilities Act and disability rights movements. Speakers included: Bob Kafka – ADAPT, Regina Blye – TX SILC, Cema Mostroleo – SafePlace, Stephanie Thomas ADAPT, Dennis Borel -CTD, and Jim Harrington – TX Civil Rights Project.  We recommit to continuing our civil rights struggle.  In addition, we celebrate the ADA, great liberation legislation for 52 million Americans, which will see its 25th Anniversary next year.

Thank you to ALL who attended and all who wrote, called, emailed or otherwise contacted the Summit organizers.  AND thank you to Lex Frieden, one of the unsung heros of the ADA, who will ably represent us at the Summit on Thursday.

Nothing About Us Without Us!