HOUSING GETS CREAMED IN TRUMP BUDGET AND CONGRESS PROPOSALS

The federal budget put forth by the Trump administration will be terrible for people with disabilities.  The 15% cut in HUD funding might not sound that bad but here’s how it shakes out for low income folks with disabilities as well as other low income families. (And this is just some of the damage they hope to inflict):

  • Trump’s budget will increase average rent for HUD assisted disabled households by $72/month, 26%.
  • It cuts housing vouchers (of all kinds) so that over 250,000 nationally will lose their housing and obviously waiting lists for new vouchers will only get longer.
  • It cuts 811 program (housing for people with disabilities) by 16% ($25 million).
  • It cuts project based rental assistance (subsidized apartments) by $465 million so there won’t be enough just to continue what is being done now.  More folks lose housing.
  • Housing for people with AIDS is cut $26 million.
  • Public housing will be cut 68% in its capital funding, operating funds would be cut by half a billion dollars (almost 25%).
  • Homeless assistance is cut by over $1 billion.
  • This budget ELIMINATES ALL FUNDING FOR:
  • The National Housing Trust Fund (set up to target funding to the lowest income households)
  • HOME funds – one of the biggest funders of accessible, affordable, integrated housing.
  • CDBG funds – locally designed programs for things like targeted vouchers, sidewalks,  architectural barrier removal and so much more.

 

CHANGES THE RULES

HUD Secretary would be given the power to waive or change requirements for PHAs (public housing) and gets rid of cap on number of public housing units that can be converted to vouchers or rent assistance.

  • Tenant’s rent would go up from today’s 30% of adjust income to 35% of gross (total) income, and increases minimum rent to $50.
  • It PROHIBITS tenants from getting utility reimbursements
  • And freezes rent adjustments.

(want more details?  The National Low Income Housing Coalition has lots of good info http://nlihc.org/, as does Center on Budget and Policy Priorities   https://www.cbpp.org/topics/housing)

 

Even if Congress does better, the Trump budget sets the bar so low really bad cuts can be called improvements even though they hurt thousands of people.  It’s an old Texas Legislature trick: threaten to cut off both arms and both legs, so when they cut off one arm you are supposed to say thank you for not cutting off my other 3 limbs.

Don’t stay quiet.  Next week is a national week of action to support affordable housing.  Check out:  www.ourhomes-ourvoices.org

 

Austin’s efforts start on Saturday 10:00 am to 10:30 am with a press conference and rally at Austin City Hall (301 W 2nd St) On the plaza on the Cesar Chavez side between Guadalupe and Lavaca.  Click here for more details.

There will be additional events, including workshops (ADAPT is doing one on Fighting for Accessible, Affordable Integrated Housing  on ADA DAY July 26 from 1:00 to 2:30 at our office 1640 East 2nd ST – ASL interpreters provided) throughout the week.

Coverage of the event included:

)http://kut.org/post/advocates-austin-rally-against-proposed-cuts-federal-housing-funds http://www.kvue.com/news/local/affordable-housing-advocates-proposed-hud-cuts-would-have-devastating-effect-on-austin-community/458815403 http://www.mystatesman.com/news/local/federal-cuts-could-worsen-austin-affordability-crisis-groups-say/od1u6eJ3UhKtWUKub4XsEK/

DESERT ADAPT’s AMAZING VIGIL AGAINST MEDICAID CUTS

Desert ADAPT ended their over two week vigil in front of the Republican Headquarters in El Paso.  The stalwart ADAPTers had camped out on the sidewalk in front of the headquarters to protest the Republican pushed efforts to slash Medicaid as part of their Health Care bills.  For two weeks the Republicans refused to respond to Desert ADAPT’s stark demand that Medicaid be left out of this debacle.

Yesterday the police evicted them from their vigil.  But ADAPT’s troops ended their vigil, heads high and voices loud singing My Medicaid Matters and holding one more press conference to call attention to the havoc the Republicans in Congress want to rain down on people with disabilities.

Our hats are off to our brothers and sisters in El Paso.  Desert ADAPT you rock!

How do you spell power?  Desert ADAPT!

ADAPT/PACT Wring Instructions to improve Community Attendant Services from 85th Texas Legislature

by Cathy Cranston

When The Texas 85th Legislature ended on May 29th, there was a win for ADAPT/PACT from this bruising session, in the form of three budget riders. (Riders are instructions that get attached to the state budget.)

Rider 191 – Increase Consumer Directed Services – Health and Human Services Commission shall direct  the managed care organizations to increase the use of the Consumer Directed Services (CDS) model.

Rider 202 – Community Integration Performance Indicators is on page II-100 . This rider directs HHSC to work with stakeholders to develop and measure goals for integrating people with disabilities in the community.

Rider 204 – Ensure Network Adequacy is on page II-100.  This rider directs the managed care organizations to ensure there is a sufficient Community Attendant Workforce to meet the needs of people with disabilities they serve.

This is a great victory but we must remain watchful to make sure these riders are put into practice.

JULY 22ND (ANNIVERSARY OF OLMSTEAD DECISION) PROTESTS AGAINST HEALTH CARE ACT

by Heiwa Salovitz

On Thursday June 22nd, 2017, over a dozen ADAPT Of Texas members did a die-in, at both Senator Ted Cruz, and Senator John Cornyn’s Austin offices, to demonstrate the need for Medicaid, and other vital Health Insurance. To also tell them to vote NO, on the American Health Care Act. Cutting and capping Medicaid is dangerous for people. Medicaid helps people with disabilities live productive lives in the community, just like everyone else. Less dollars equals less service. Also, housing someone with a disability in a nursing home is more expensive than paying for that person’s community and long term services. Slashing funds to state medicaid programs puts tax cuts for the wealthy ahead of the future of children, people with disabilities and seniors.

Fox 7 covered the protest

CBS story on the protest

The group marched from Senator Cruz’s office to Senator Cornyn’s office, chanting “Save Our Medicaid”, and “No Cuts To Medicaid”. A small group ADAPTers managed to speak with Senator Cornyn’s Staff who stated that they would tell Senators DC Office how critical Medicaid is for Texans! Our action was part of a larger simultaneous National ADAPT Action, where roughly one-hundred ADAPTers from all over the country protested at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Capitol Office, in Washington DC.

Rachel Maddow tells some of the history of ADAPT and the story of the protest.

Please get involved and evolved! Your voice makes a difference

Editor’s Note:  Since then Austin ADAPT has participated in a half dozen protests against the various variations of this bill.  Die In protest was just one. 

LIKE YOUR HOUSING? PROTECT AFFORDABLE HOUSING!

 

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Come to City Hall Plaza to join supporters of affordable housing speak out against terrible proposed cuts in HUD and USDA budgets.

When:  Saturday July 22  10 am

Where: City Hall Plaza on Cesar Chavez between Guadalupe and Lavaca

for more info locally: Austin Homes – Austin Voices

on facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1025345994271845/AUSTIN HOMES - AUSTIN VOICES AUSTIN EVENTS CITY HALL RALLY Saturday, July 22 10:00am, 301 W 2nd St CIVICS 101: AFFORDABILITY, TRANSPORTATION AND CODENEXT -Austin Habitat Tuesday, July 25 6:00pm - 8:00pm in.gredients 2610 Manor Rd TEACH-IN - HOW TO FIGHT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION -Austin ADAPT Wednesday, July 26 1:00pm, ADAPT office 1640 A E 2nd St TENANTS’ RIGHTS PRESENTATION -Austin Tenants’ Council Thursday, July 27 2:00pm, ADAPT office 1640 A E 2nd St LETTER WRITING - Neighbors United for a Purpose July 28 2:00pm - 4:00pm, Lucero Apts 2301 Durwood St

___________________________________________________________________

A diverse group of people are gathered in front of some housing with a big sun behind it all. Beside them are the words Our Homes, Our Voices

for more info nationally:  www.ourhomesourvoices.org

DEATH OF COMMUNITY ATTENDANT SERVICES!

The 85th Texas Legislature Conference Committee is making decisions about the lives of people with disabilities and the community attendants that assist them in living independently.  Neither the House nor the Senate budget addresses the issues below.  Please call the telephone numbers below and tell them to fund:               

  1. FIND FUNDING TO RAISE COMMUNITY ATTENDANT WAGES FROM $8 TO $13;
  2. RESTORE $5 MILLION FOR RELOCATION SERVICES;
  3. RESTORE $10 MILLION IN-HOME FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES
  4. RESTORE FUNDING TO REDUCE WAITING LISTS FOR STARPLUS and ALL 1915C WAIVERS

BUDGET CONFERENCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

  1. Senator Hinojosa  512.463.0120       McAllen, Texas      District: 956.972.1841
  2. Senator Huffman  512.463.0117    Houston, Texas         District: 281.980.3500
  3. Senator Kolkhorst  512.463.0118      Brenham, Texas    District:  979.251.7888
  4. Senator  Nelson   512.463.0112      Grapevine, Texas     District:  817.424.3446
  5. Senator Schwertner   512.463.0105    Bryan, Texas     District:  979.776.0222
  6. Rep. Ashby   512.463.0508               Lufkin, Texas        District:   936.634.2762
  7. Rep. Davis   512.463.0389              Houston, Texas    District:  713.664.7095
  8. Rep. Gonzales  512.463.0670        Round Rock, Texas    District: 512.248.2558
  9. Rep. Longoria   512.463.0645        Penitas, Texas     District:  956.580.6944
  10. Rep. Zerwas    512.463.0657            Katy, Texas       District:  888.827.1560

Thank you for taking action to FREE OUR PEOPLE!

 

 

 

 

                           

 

 

Update on RESPECT and MORE Rally for Community Attendants

On March 8, 2017 over 100 people attended the RESPECT and MORE Rally/legislative briefing. Advocates, attendants, people with disabilities, representation of Texas Independent Living Centers and many other organizations were present. We had a great time at the luncheon even though the plight of the attendant is very serious.

National disability rights attorney Steve Gold addressed the group and a video “An Indecent Arrangement: Texas Attendant Services” was seen. Mark C. spoke about his inabilities to find an attendant that led to three hospitalizations and rehabilitation due to a pressure sore. These are real lives, real people that are dealing with this issue daily. Texas’ State Legislators continue neglecting the need in addressing the difficulty in recruiting and retaining Community Attendants. With competition from stores like Buc-ees and Dairy Queen (who start their employees at $12/per hour), the Medicaid and state funded home and community based attendant programs (which start and often keep attendants at $8/per hour)  can’t meet the needs of Texans that rely on attendant services.

After the luncheon/briefing, we marched over to the Capitol for a brief rally and then legislative visits.  The group delivered copies of petitions signed by thousands of Texans who support a $13/hour base wage for the Community Attendants.

 

All Night Vigil for the Death of Disability Rights

we are here at 11th and Congress in downtown Austin for an all night vigil. The state budget bills have ignored the call to raise attendant wages from $8 an hour to $13. Despite the fact fast food workers grocery baggers and gas station workers make more Texas thinks it’s unnecessary to raise the wages of these critical workers.  To see a video on this issue click here

The state is completely defunding the relocation services that help people in nursing homes move back into their own homes.

The state is also completely defunding In-Home and Family Support program, on of the most cost effective ones we have.  People on that program will just be out of luck.

The state is doing nothing about the over 100,000 people on waiting lists for community services.  Some of these folks have been waiting over a decade and now can just wait 2 more years.

We have folks here from El Paso, Austin, Kileen, Conroe, Corpus Christi and the Valley.  IMG_2579

Earlier we held a funeral in the Rotunda of the Capitol and a funeral march through the first floor.

 

DON’T FORGET TO JOIN THE RESPECT AND MORE RALLY

Wednesday, March 8th at 11 AM at the Schmidt-Jones Family Life Center, Great Hall (2nd floor), 1300 Lavaca (NW corner of 13th and Lavaca), Austin TX 78701 for Lunch and the Legislative Briefing from 11 AM to 12:30 PM with a 1pm March. 

Your organization can sign organizational letter of support too!  Go here for a sample letter.  Send a copy to Cathy Cranston and she will make sure it gets to all who need to read it!

Final 2017 Respect and MORE Attendant Rally Press release