The goal of this blog in coordination with the Resource Center for Accessible Living (RCAL) and outside advocacy is to bring awareness and change to issues pertaining to the disabled community in hopes to produce policies that maximize their quality of life and exemplify the philosophies of Independent Living. I am one of around 20 Systems Advocates working under the Statewide Systems Advocacy Network (SSAN) in coordination with the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL).
RCAL is a non-profit organization founded in 1983. RCAL’ s goal is to assist people with disabilities and open doors of opportunity and independence in the Ulster County region through self-determination by creating disability understanding and awareness, and access community-wide. Our vision is to create a fully accessible, integrated community without barriers for people with disabilities, and to assist and empower disabled individuals to live independently and participate in all aspects of community life. RCAL assists consumers through a wide range of services including: Advocacy, Architectural Barrier Consulting, Benefits Advisement, Enhanced Supported Employment Projects, Medicaid Service Coordination, Nursing Home Transition and Divergence Waiver Coordination, Guardianship and Child Assistance, Special Education School Health Services and Workshops, Durable Medical Equipment Loan Closet, and a variety of support groups.
According to the 1999 Supreme Court Olmstead decision individuals with disabilities have the civil right to live in the community in the most integrated setting possible. No individual should ever be forced into a nursing home or institution because they are offered no other solution. Over 20% of New Yorkers in nursing homes have indicated their desire to live in their own homes and receive the specific set of care they need in their own personal one-on-one setting.
Advocacy Issues may range from election reform, service coordination for individuals on waiver programs, accessibility and modification building codes, disability awareness and education, financial budget proposals to reform Medicaid and Medicare fraud and abuse,and a range of many more issues that surround advocating for aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act.