Center for Independent Living of Broward Executive Director Corey Hinds and several board members went to Tallahassee to discuss legislation regarding disability issues. Florida’s legislators have recently written several bills. There is also news of a federal bill. You will find descriptions and links of many of them below:
H.R. Bill 620 (Americans with Disabilities Education and Reform Act) - A bill passed by the federal House of Representatives that will make it more difficult to sue for discrimination (You can find out more from NCIL on this page)
House Bill 1107 (Disabled Parking Permits) – A bill requiring disabled parking permits to display the applicant’s driver license and provides penalties for certain unlawful uses
Senate Bill 242 (Developmental Disabilities) – A bill revising the term “developmental disability” to include the disability and symptoms attributable to Duchenne muscular dystrophy, etc.
Senate Bill 260 (Students with Disabilities in Public Schools) – Amends provisions relating to the seclusion and restraint of students with disabilities; Revises restraint policy; Requires continuing education and in-service training for teaching students with emotional or behavioral disabilities
For more information on any of these bills and others, contact the Center for Independent Living at 954-722-6400/ TTY (954) 735-0963
On, January 30, 2018, the Center for Independent Living of Broward hosted a Fire Safety Training where over 70 consumers with a hearing impairment learned about proper fire safety and received free fire alarms with strobe lights. The training included a demonstration, and a question and answer session to dispel rumors and myths pertaining to fire awareness.
The U.S. Fire Administration (or USFA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (or FEMA) have also collaborated on a fire safety guide that provides information and statistics.
You can also create your own plan and install fire alarms. Remember to test them twice each year. Ask a friend or relative if you need assistance. The CILB can provide the flashing light alarms or offer information on how to get one. Also consider getting an emergency call system so you can summon help when needed.
For more information go to www.usfa.fema.gov or contact the Center for Independent Living of Broward
Charmayne Carrion-Pereira is a 53-year-old resident who has multiple disabilities. Ms. Carrion-Pereira contacted the CILB and requested financial assistance because she fell behind paying her FPL & rent bills. Her situation became dire after missing work. She also needed to provide for her family. However, because of a collaboration between the Center for Independent Living and United Way of Broward County, she was able to pay her back rent and catch up on her delinquent FPL bills.
CIL Director of Programs, Brian Johnson stated that, through funding from United Way of Broward, the Center for Independent Living of Broward was able to assist several families “negatively impacted by Hurricane Irma” such as hers. Collaborations such as these allow the Center for Independent Living to assist Broward County residents who are affected by similar situations.
Hispanic Unity staff member assists CILB consumer Gustavo Maso prepare his taxes
As people with disabilities, we often hear news about how government programs affect us financially. The new tax laws have put a new spotlight on that issue. But, according to the Internal Revenue Service’s website, there is tax assistance for people with disabilities.
According to their article from January 2018, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can assist adults with disabilities, as well as parents of children with disabilities, if they qualify. The agency says that many people “miss out on this valuable credit because they do not file a tax return.”
The credit could give you a refund of up to $6,318. However, the agency says that “many do not claim the credit because they fall below the income threshold requiring them to file.” Regardless, the IRS urges you to file a return because it is the only way to receive this credit and claim the EITC.
The CIL Broward is partnering with the Hispanic Unity: VITA program and serves as a site to assist people with disabilities by appointment to get their taxes prepared.
Go to https://www.irs.gov/ for information. You can also call CILB at 954-722-6400/ TTY (954) 735-0963 for information on how we can assist you with tax preparation
Make sure you are always prepared for a hurricane
Most of us remember the stress of dealing with last year’s hurricanes. After all, they hit the area hard, and many of us took a long time to recover from the damage. The experience should remind us that South Florida is prone to hurricanes every year. As such, we need to make sure we are prepared for similar events in the future.
Broward County’s official website has prepared a Hurricane Preparedness Guide that will help all of us stay alert and get ready. It gives a detailed explanation of things we need to know. There are
several issues to consider, and they include:
1. Meeting with friends and family to develop an overall plan
2. You should also discuss any need for evacuation
3. Secure your home and everything in it
4. Secure your vehicles for safety
5. Develop a plan for your pets
6. Keep communication going between you and others
7. Gather any needed supplies (See below)
Those of us that have a disability realize that extra steps may need to be taken. We should ensure that we have any needed medication or medical supplies. Discuss any needs for accommodations in case the electricity goes out. As we all know, the chance for losing power during a hurricane can be high. So, precautions should be taken in advance.
For more information and assistance, go to http://www.broward.org/Hurricane/HurricanePreparednessGuide/index.html or contact the Center for Independent Living of Broward. You may also register with Broward County’s Vulnerable Population Registry or get information from the Emergency Preparedness program for Residents with Special Needs
The Center for Independent Living’s collaboration with the SHIP program has helped our consumer’s remove barriers within their own homes.
These images reflect just two of the many examples of how the CILB has assisted many of our consumers who own a home.
As many of us know, acquiring accessible housing for people with disabilities can be difficult especially if you live in a rural area. The Center for Independent Living has had its share of successes. But, as many of us know, we have also had our share of hurdles to jump over.
But, there is a new solution.
According to the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC: Rural), “The Home Usability Program is part of the Research and Training Center on Promoting Interventions for Community Living (RTC/PICL).” It is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Kansas and the University of Montana, and the program is currently partnered with CIL’s in those areas. To be eligible, consumers must be over 21 and be a resident with a disability.
The program starts with working with an individual to identify problems within the home. Then,
researchers collaborate with local CILs to develop a network of resources, to help alleviate
small-scale problems quickly and inexpensively.
The program has two goals:
1. Develop a tool that people with disabilities can use in their own home to identify problems
2. Create a guide for CILs to develop their own local network of resources to assist consumers
The Center for Independent Living of Broward serves as the project manager for the Broward County State Housing Initiative Partnerships (SHIP) Program where we can offer assistance for removing
barriers for anyone that owns their home. This year, we are proud to announce that we can offer
assistance in over 19 municipalities/ cities. To see if you qualify and get more information, please contact the Center for Independent Living of Broward
Increasing accessibility is one of our many goals at the CILB. We realize there are times when a consumer’s own equipment breaks down for certain reasons. So, we have developed a program with our consumers in mind.
The Center for Independent Living is proud to remind our consumers that we loan medical equipment at no cost to you. In addition, we also offer monthly wheelchair repair clinics. Consumers are always invited to learn how to maintain their own equipment. After all, it is essential for everyone we serve to have durable medical equipment that works.
Please check our calendar on Page 6 of this newsletter to find out when our next Wheelchair Repair Clinic will occur. If you can’t attend an event, please contact the CILB. We are more than happy to assist you with your needs.
Clockwise from Upper-Left: 1. CILB Executive Director Corey Hinds and Director of Programs Brian Johnson thank Wells Fargo staff, 2. Our big collection of donated toys for local children, 3. Santa pays a visit to the CILB
On December 14, the Center for Independent Living of Broward collaborated with Elite Event Management staff to provide donated toys to over 90 individuals in the community. A wonderful assortment of food was provided, and children enjoyed the entertainment of Strawberry the clown. We also want to say a special thank you to Wells Fargo Bank for their generous donation.