FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Wednesday, June 10, 2020

(Albany, NY) The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) has issued the following statement: 

We grieve the black lives lost in encounters with law enforcement, including George Floyd and others. Unfortunately, racist violence is not new for our communities. We have seen far too many black people die because of excessive use of force, including black people with disabilities.

In our experience racism intersects with ableism to the detriment of black people with disabilities. We see the inequality in access to and outcomes in education, employment, health, housing, and transportation when race intersects with disabilities.

We join with our allies across the nation in our commitment to working towards full equality. We join in the work of reforming institutions that have discriminatory policies and practices. Our board, staff, and volunteers will continue to work for equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Thursday, March 5, 2020

(Albany, NY): The New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) was awarded a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to start the Good Neighbor Program. The award is part of the first round of grants made by the new foundation, which is focused on the health and well-being of low-income and underserved New Yorkers.

The Good Neighbor Program assists people in nursing homes who wish to return to the community. Individuals that live in nursing homes may find they no longer have connections to their community and informal supports that might have existed prior to admission. The Good Neighbor Program is designed to fill gaps in the informal support network by enlisting Neighbors to support transition to community living.
 
Neighbors are paid a stipend to provide back-up assistance when needed, but also to build a neighborly relationship. Neighbors serve a role in breaking down social isolation and building engagement within the community. Social activity and independent living play important roles in improving health and happiness.
 
NYAIL currently administers the Open Doors program, which staffs Transition Specialists and Peer Advocates across New York State to assist people in transitioning out of nursing facilities and other institutions back to the community. Since 2015, Open Doors has received more than 10,000 referrals and has helped transition over 3,500 individuals.
 
“NYAIL is extremely thankful to the Mother Cabrini Foundation for funding the Good Neighbor Program. In our experience with the Open Doors program, one of the biggest barriers to transition for many individuals is the lack of informal supports. It is our hope that the Good Neighbor program will help address that barrier, bridging the gap between institution and community for individuals, and providing a model to New York State to help increase transitions long term.” – Lindsay Miller, Executive Director
 
For more information about the Good Neighbor Program call NYAIL at 518-465-4650.
 
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, December 17, 2019

Contact: Alex Thompson, (518) 465-4650, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                                                     

 (Albany, NY) – Independent Living advocates expressed frustration and disappointment with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s veto of Assembly bill 4737/Senate bill 1674, which would have created the Office of the Advocate for People with Disabilities. The Governor instead chose to create a Chief Disability Officer position within the Executive Department, with a promise that it would address all the objectives of the legislation.

People with disabilities, particularly physical and sensory disabilities, are frustrated that the current structure of State government has left them without any representation when key policy and budget decisions are being made which impact their daily lives. As an example, a decision was made to authorize Uber and Lyft to operate statewide, without any requirement to provide comparable service to people who use wheelchairs. As a result, advocates had to file litigation to protect their rights.

The disability community applauds the sponsors of the legislation for their vision and for gaining   overwhelming support of both houses. “I appreciate the dedication of Senator Skoufis and Assemblyman Steck in moving us to this point. They have been great allies. Adding a Chief Disability Officer is a step in the right direction toward the recognition and voice we need. I’m hopeful that regular communication with the Chief Disability Officer will lead to a broader understanding by the executive chamber on our issues,” said Doug Hovey, President and CEO of Independent Living, Inc. based in Orange County.

 “We are deeply disappointed Governor Cuomo chose to veto this bill that would have created the Office for the Advocate for People with Disabilities and provide a voice to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers with disabilities across the State. We have been working for years within the confines of the Budget process to make this Office a reality. We believe that the voice we are seeking requires more than one person. However, we will work with whoever is hired as the Chief Disability Officer, to make the Governor’s commitment to accomplish all the tasks outlined in the vetoed bill a reality,” said Lindsay Miller, Executive Director for the New York Association on Independent Living. 

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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