FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 21, 2019

Contact: Alexander Englander, Communications Specialist, (518) 465-4650
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DISABILITY RIGHTS COMMUNITY RELEASES INTERIM BUDGET REPORT CARD IN ADVANCE OF THE FINAL BUDGET

The Report Card Highlights the Level of Support Given to The Disability Community Throughout the Budget Process

Albany, NY (March 22, 2019) – The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL), has released its interim report card for the 2019-2020 budget. This update reflects the budget proposals released by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Assembly, and the New York State Senate.

“We are extremely pleased with the Senate and Assembly’s budget proposals. Both the Senate and the Assembly rejected the cuts to the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) which the Governor had proposed in his Budget,” stated NYAIL Executive Director, Lindsay Miller. She continued; “We are also very pleased the Assembly proposed increased funding of $3 million for the Access to Home program, which keeps low-income people with disabilities out of institutions by providing home modifications.”

The report card lays out the policies which must be enacted, and the programs which must be funded, to ensure community integration for New Yorkers with disabilities. Those priorities include; increased funding for home modifications, increased wages for home care workers, increased funding for the statewide network of Independent Living Centers, and funding of the Office for the Advocate for People with Disabilities. The latter is an unfunded Executive Order signed by both Governor’s Mario and Andrew Cuomo. This office is needed to provide people with disabilities a voice in State government. The Senate included funding for it in their budget proposal.

“No one has articulated better than Governor Cuomo the regressive policy changes being advanced at the Federal level and their impact on New Yorkers’ lives. It is critical that the Governor and the newly elected Legislature, with its new leadership, follow through on its promises to our community. They must enact laws to protect our civil rights and provide funding to programs that allow people with disabilities to live independent, integrated lives in their communities,” states Susan Dooha, Executive Director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York and NYAIL Board President.

To view the updated Report Cards, please go to https://ilny.us/advocacy/advocacy-priorities.

 

About NYAIL – The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) is a statewide membership organization of Independent Living Centers (ILCs), community-based not-for-profit providers of advocacy, services, and supports for New Yorkers with disabilities of all ages. ILCs are controlled by, and largely staffed by, people with disabilities. NYAIL strengthens local Independent Living Centers and is a leader in the civil rights movement for all people with disabilities.

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Contact:  Alexander Englander, Communications Specialist, (518) 465-4650 
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TNC ACCESSIBILITY TASK FORCE RELEASES REPORT ON IMPROVING ACCESSIBILITY FOR PASSENGERS WITH DISABILITIES

Advocates call for full implementation of all recommendations.

Albany, New York, February 25, 2019 –The Transportation Network Company (TNC) Accessibility Task Force has just issued their final report outlining their findings and providing recommendations on ways to ensure TNCs serve people with disabilities, especially wheelchair users, who are currently unable to utilize the service.

“Our objective was to provide strong recommendations that will significantly improve access to ridesharing for wheelchair users and others who have been unable to utilize the service while making sure the recommendations are achievable,” stated Meghan Parker, Task Force member and Director of Advocacy for the New York Association on Independent Living.

The New York State Transportation Network Company (TNC) Accessibility Task Force (the Task Force) was created as part of the legislation that authorized TNCs to operate statewide and were tasked with investigating the level of accessibility needed and identifying ways to improve access to riders with disabilities. Currently, TNCs do not provide service to people who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices which cannot be folded up and stored in the trunk.

“The recommendations, if properly implemented, will provide a much greater level of access to wheelchair users and others. Given that most people who use power chairs are unable to use any on-demand transportation service right now, this will be a big improvement,” said Todd Vaarwerk, Task Force member and Chief Policy Officer for Western New York Independent Living in Buffalo.

The task force held five listening sessions around the State and collected comments via email throughout November and December 2018. Through this process, they heard from the public about a wide variety of transportation barriers facing individuals with disabilities. Among those issues are; wheelchair accessibility, lack of rural transit, safety concerns, service animal awareness, accountability, and affordability.

The Task Force has also made recommendations which are divided into two categories; state government and transportation network companies. Recommendations for the TNC include better accountability, availability, and accessibility; driver education, application accessibility and an expansion of the TNC model payment options. Recommendations made to the State Legislature include; establishment of a governing entity to provide oversite, provide incentives to increase wheelchair accessible cars, and incentivize accessible vehicles already in service by communities for TNC use.

“I think oversight on the part of the State is key to ensuring the rest of the recommendations are implemented. We very much look forward to action on the part of the legislature and the Executive to ensure this report is implemented and results in increased and comparable access for wheelchair users and other passengers with disabilities,” stated Denise Figueroa, Task Force member and Executive Director for the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley in Troy.

To view the final report, please follow the link provided: https://dmv.ny.gov/forms/tnctaskforcefinalreport.pdf.

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About NYAIL – The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) is a statewide membership organization of Independent Living Centers (ILCs), community-based not-for-profit providers of advocacy, services and supports for New Yorkers with disabilities of all ages. ILCs are controlled by, and largely staffed by, people with disabilities. NYAIL strengthens local Independent Living Centers and is a leader in the civil rights movement for all people with disabilities.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 22, 2019

Contact: Pauline Barfield, Barfield Public Relations, 212-736-0404,
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Disability Rights Community Releases Budget and Legislative Report Cards In Advance of State Budget and Legislative Session
 
Albany, NY – Disability rights advocates have released report cards for the 2019-20 State Budget and 2019 Legislative Session. The disability community will be grading the Governor and Legislature on issues of critical importance to the community, including independent living, health, housing, employment, and transportation. Grades will be announced in April after enactment of the Budget, and in June, at the conclusion of the Legislative Session.
“With new leadership in the State Senate and a voter mandate for change, the disability community is optimistic that our priorities will be fully enacted this year. Not all of our Budget priorities are in the Executive Budget released on Tuesday, but we’re hopeful that after the Budget amendment period and three-way negotiations that they will be,” stated Lindsay Miller, Executive Director of the New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL). “We’re hoping for straight A’s.”
The report cards lay out the policies which must be enacted, and the programs which must be funded, to ensure community integration for New Yorkers with disabilities. Priorities include increased funding for several programs which are critical to the independence of people with disabilities, and which have been severely underfunded in recent years. This includes increased wages for home care workers to address the home care crisis and increased funding for home modifications through Access to Home to address the lack of accessible housing throughout the State. Other top priorities include increased funding for the statewide network of Independent Living Centers, as recommended by the Board of Regents. Also on the priority list is funding of the Office for the Advocate for People with Disabilities, which is currently an unfunded Executive Order signed by both Governor Mario and Andrew Cuomo. The Office is needed to provide people with disabilities a voice in state government.
“All of these priorities would help implement New York State’s already articulated priorities – the Olmstead Plan, the Employment First Initiative and the ABLE Initiative,” stated Miller. “We need the resources and laws to turn these policy statements into real programs that will help people with disabilities to realize true independence and community integration.”
 
 

Below is information regarding our 2019 budget and legislative priorities: