Newsletter: March 11, 2009

Northeast ADA March 11, 2009 News Bulletin

What's New in Our Region:

Successful Workshops and Focus Groups held in the Virgin Islands!

The DBTAC-Northeast team recently completed a training workshop and focus group sessions on St. Croix Island and St. Thomas Island of the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).  A territory of the U.S., the USVI are part of those served by DBTAC Region 2.  People with disabilities on the USVI face a unique set of challenges and barriers.  The purpose of the workshops we conducted was to craft local and regional strategies to improve the employment situation of people with disabilities in the USVI.  The workshops were widely attended by a range of stakeholders, including citizens with disabilities, business leaders, Department of Labor professionals, government representatives, disability professionals, and educators.  The focus groups were conducted to form a portrait of the employment and community access needs and challenges faced by people with disabilities living there.  Workshop participants and focus group attendees will be receiving summary reports in the weeks to come with the aim of continuing a positive and productive collaboration between the DBTAC- Northeast and the Virgin Islands.

Puerto Rico Condo Association Charged with Violating the Fair Housing Act:

On February 21st, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it charged Parque de las Flores Condominium Association with violating the Fair Housing Act (FHA) when the Association refused to provide an accessible parking space to a tenant whose son uses a wheelchair. The FHA makes it illegal to deny such a request when it is necessary to accommodate a tenant's disability.  Read more at:  http://www.hud.gov/news/release.cfm?content=pr08-023.cfm&CFID=10051485&CFTOKEN=61779625.

Poll Suggests More Training Needed in New York (NY) about Accessible Voting:

A recent press release from the NYS Independent Living Council (NYSILC) stated that a post-election survey conducted by Zogby International indicated that NYS poll workers and voters with disabilities need more training and outreach regarding accessible voting machines, including how to use them.  To access the press release and complete report, go to: http://www.nysilc.org/home-page.htm.

 

What's New in the Rest of the Country:


Recent Efforts by HUD to Improve Accessibility for People with Disabilities:

Videos for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumers: On February 19th, HUD announced new YouTube and Facebook videos to educate consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing about fair housing rights, housing counseling services, and loan programs offered by the Federal Housing Administration. Videos are conducted in sign language and close captioned and can be found at either: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=FHAHUD&view=videos or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Washington-DC/Federal-Housing-Administration-Department-of-Housing-and-Urban-Development/37437263955.

New Guidance on Reasonable Modifications:

On March 5th, HUD and the Department of Justice (DOJ) released new guidance reinforcing the right of persons with disabilities to make "reasonable modifications" to their dwellings if a structural change to their living space or common area of the building or complex in which they live is needed so that they can fully enjoy the premises. The guidance is designed to help housing providers and homeowners' associations better understand their obligations and help persons with disabilities better understand their rights regarding the "reasonable modifications" provision of the Fair Housing Act (FHA).  The guidelines are available online at www.usdoj.gov/fairhousing and www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/disabilities. For the press release, go to:  http://www.hud.gov/news/release.cfm?content=pr08-028.cfm&CFID=6147328&CFTOKEN=94902851

White House Adds Friend of Disability to Policy Staff:

On February 26th, President Obama announced the appointment of a leading public health policy expert, Jeffrey S. Crowley, as the Director of Office of National AIDS Policy. In addition to heading up the National AIDS Policy efforts in the Domestic Policy Council, Crowley will work closely with Special Assistant to the President, Kareem Dale, on disability policy. Said President Obama, "Jeffrey Crowley brings the experience and expertise that will help our nation address the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis and help my administration develop policies that will serve Americans with disabilities... In both of these key areas, we continue to face serious challenges and we must take bold steps to meet them".  For more information, go to:  http://jfactivist.typepad.com/jfactivist/2009/02/white-house-adds-friend-of-disability-to-policy-staff.html

Workshop Held on Emergency Preparedness Needs of People with Disabilities:

The American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) Homeland Security Standards Panel (HSSP) held a two-day workshop in early February at Gallaudet University, in Washington, D.C. to address the needs of people with disabilities and aging populations in emergency preparation, notification, response, and evacuation activities. Individuals with disabilities and disability advocacy groups provided input to over 100 key representatives from standards development organizations and government agencies as they discussed strengths and weaknesses of existing emergency preparedness standards and priorities for creating new standards. Check ANSI's HSSP website for the resulting report!  Read more at: http://www.ansi.org/news_publications/news_story.aspx?menuid=7&articleid=2105

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Recipients Will Earn Extra $250:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009's $787 billion national economic stimulus package includes a one-time $250 payment to those eligible for  SSDI and U.S. veterans disability compensation or pension benefits, among others.  Allsup, the leading nationwide provider of financial and healthcare related services to people with disabilities, has outlined answers to common questions about this one-time payment found within this press release: http://www.prweb.com/releases/Allsup/Economic_stimulus_package/prweb2185404.htm

Recently Released Disability Related Bulletins:

U.S. Access Board January/February edition of "Access Currents": includes  information and updates on public rights-of-way accessibility, outdoor sites, and bus and van draft guidelines.  This Ebulletin can be accessed at:  http://www.access-board.gov/news/Access%20Currents/Jan-Feb09.htm.

National Council on Disability (NCD) February Bulletin:

features updates on the 2010 National Summit on Disability Policy, NCD quarterly meetings, and the digital television transition. To access, go to:  http://news.prnewswire.com/ViewContent.aspx?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/02-25-2009/0004978493&EDATE

 

Opportunities for YOU:

 
Participate in a Research Survey- "Moving Vertically: Architecture's Influence on Social Interaction":

A research team at the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA), at the State University of New York's School of Architecture and Planning in Buffalo, is currently conducting a survey about the perceptions and experiences of ramps, lifts, elevators, and escalators in public buildings in order to both better understand how they affect social integration and discrimination and help designers create environments that are more inclusive of people who use assistance and/or assistive devices for mobility.  All are welcome to participate in the study, and people with mobility impairments are especially encouraged to participate.  This study uses anonymous online surveys, therefore it is confidential. This survey can be accessed with the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=DCK5X4yTKDG8FjQbecfuSw_3d_3d. Any questions and comments can be emailed to:  movingvertically@gmail.com.

Web Course on Career Development for People with Disabilities:

Training Resource Network, Inc. will offer a Web Course, Career Development for Youth and Adults with Disabilities, on March 17 - 30, 2009. This is a 2-week, 20-hour web training on developing career goals through innovative vocational assessment, career development skills, and vocational profiling for youth and adults with disabilities. Registration is limited. To learn more about the training and to register, go to:  https://trn-store.com/drupal/node/918

Enroll in a Creative Training Accelerating Talent (CTAT) Teletraining:

Teletrainings are provided via telephone with participants either following along with the session online or by using a printed copy of the presentation materials. All of the CTAT trainings are from 1:00-2:30pm Mountain Time and registration cost is $35 per phone line. March teletrainings are on March 23rd and 31st and cover what parents, schools and physicians need to know to manage pediatric concussion and family concerns regarding traumatic brain injury, respectively. April and May topics include grant writing, empowering youth, and depression in people with cognitive disabilities. To register, go to:  www.ctat-training.com.

Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion, and Disability Conference:

This conference will be held April 28th and 29th at the Pfahl Executive Education and Conference Center and the Blackwell Hotel and the Ohio State University Campus in Columbus, Ohio.  For program details and to register, go to:  HTTP://ada.osu.edu/conferences/2009Conf/announcement.html

 

Special Spotlight:  Digital Television Delay Act:

On February 11th, President Obama signed into law the 2009 DTV Delay Act. This will extend the digital television transition until June 12, 2009.  It does not prevent stations from making the transition early and, as of February 17th, about one-third of the nation's full-power television stations had already gone all-digital.  But it does provide more time for stations which may not have been ready for the transition. It also extends the deadline for redeeming converter box coupons until July 31st, giving consumers more time to prepare for the end of over-the-air analog broadcasts.  Given this delay, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has revised its DTV website, www.dtv.gov, with new information about the transition, helpful publications, and the ability for consumers to check the status of their converter box coupon application.  The DTV delay has been strongly supported by the Coalition for Accessible Technology (COAT) on the grounds of ongoing accessibility concerns, including problems with closed captioning, video description during natural programming pauses, and the hook-up of digital equipment.  See below to access many more links and resources on the DTV transition and Delay Act:

Text of the DTV Delay Act:  http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:S.352: 

Statement of President Obama on Signing the DTV Act: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/StatementofPresidentBarackObamaonSigningtheDTVBill/

What is DTV?:  http://www.dtv.gov/whatisdtv.html

Converter Box Coupon Program: https://www.dtv2009.gov/

FCC Advisory Publications:"Use Care When Calling about the DTV Transition": http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/usecarewhencalling.pdf

"Remember to Rescan": http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/rescan.pdf

FCC Consumer Facts: "Antennas and Digital Television": http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/dtvantennas.pdf

 

See you in a few weeks!!!