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Press & Announcements

Organization: Givers Health

Contact: Tara English

Email: hello@givers.health
 

Givers Health & The Center for Independent Living Offer Free Job Training and Incentives for California Caregivers

 

Courses delivered through the CalGrows program to caregivers for older adults and adults with disabilities


 

Berkeley, CA – Givers Health, in partnership with the Center for Independent Living (CIL) is announcing the launch of its Training for Caregivers curriculum, offered through the CalGrows workforce training and development program. Registration is now open for courses available to caregivers working with older adults and people with disabilities, helping support Californians on a path to a career in health care.

 

“CIL is thrilled to partner with Givers Health to not only help our current consumers but our larger community,” said Bob Hand, Interim Executive Director of CIL. “Givers Health’s focus on empowering family caregivers aligns with one of CIL’s core founding beliefs, that people with disabilities deserve the right to live integrated within the community. We look forward to training and supporting paid and unpaid caregivers on emerging needs of our community, such as Disaster Preparedness.”

 

“We’re excited to be participating in this transformative work to invest in California’s caregivers and help advance California’s Master Plan for Aging,” said Tara English, CEO of Givers Health. ”Our partner, the Center for Independent Living, is a pioneer in the disability rights movement and long-standing advocate of self-direction, a philosophy we share in our work. Together, we’ll provide training that honors the individual preferences and identities of care recipients and caregivers.”

 

CalGrows seeks to help build individual skill sets, job satisfaction, and growth opportunities, helping further careers and the retention of skilled, experienced caregivers for older adults and people with disabilities. Qualified applicants can also receive up to $6,000 in financial incentives and career pathway development benefits.

 

Training for Caregivers offers education and training in both English and Spanish, addressing an array of crucial topics that caregivers and care recipients frequently face. These include assistive technologies, planning for emergencies, disability justice, complexities of chronic conditions, customizing care plans, and much more. Givers Health and the Center for Independent Living bring a combined 65+ years of serving family caregivers, older adults, and people with disabilities. Through this partnership, Givers Health and the CIL are excited to share their commitment to supporting and enabling caregivers and the people that they serve with accessibility and technology.

 

Free training, along with personalized coaching, is available for paid direct care workers, Home and Community-Based Services caregivers, and unpaid family and friend caregivers through the CalGrows website at www.calgrows.org. Courses from Givers Health/The CIL are available online and in-person, along with courses from other training providers, and are searchable by topic, location, language, and incentive.

 

A total of 76 organizations across California received grants through the CalGrows Innovation Fund earlier this year. Grants were awarded to diverse organizations with innovative ideas to offer training and incentives for the direct care Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) workforce and unpaid family and friend caregivers.

 

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Givers Health & The Center for Independent Living Offer Free Job Training and Incentives for California Caregivers

Celebrating Juneteenth and the Intersection of the Black Civil Rights and the Disability Rights Movements

 

Today we celebrate Juneteenth, which is also commonly referred to as “Juneteenth Independence Day,” “Freedom Day,” or “Emancipation Day.” It commemorates the emancipation of 250,000 African American slaves in Texas on June 19th, 1865 – almost two years after Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the abolition movement, a collective resistance effort by slaves and their allies. While it’s been celebrated in many communities since the 1860s, it finally became a federal holiday in 2021. The day serves as a reminder to reflect on the progress society has made while also recognizing there still is work to be done to create a more equitable and just future.

 

While Juneteenth celebrates the abolition of slavery and brings focus on the continued fight for racial equality, there is no denying the relationship between the Black civil rights movements and the disability rights movements in the United States. Many Black activists in the civil rights movement have significantly influenced and in some cases, were directly involved in the disability rights and independent living movements, and many Black liberation organizers were people with disabilities. 

 

Abolitionist and freedom fighter Harriet Tubman herself was a person with a disability. As were civil rights heroes Fanny Lou Hamer and Mary Davidson, organizer and founding member of the National Association for Black Social Workers. A more recent example of Black disability rights activists is Brad Lomax. Lomax was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and had to be carried onto the bus because he was a wheelchair user. He was a member of the Black Panther Party and helped lead the 504 Sit-in in San Francisco. The Black Panthers assisted the protestors at the sit-in with food and supplies helping protestors continue their fight for accessibility.

 

Today, Black artists and activists with disabilities are leading the way to a more inclusive and accessible future for all. Black, disabled writer Keri Grey is a Senior Director at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), where she socially and politically mobilizes, empowers, and equips people with disabilities from marginalized communities from an intersectional framework. Talila Lewis is a Black, disabled is “an abolitionist community lawyer, educator, and organizer whose work reveals and addresses the inextricable links between ableism, racism, classism, and all forms of systemic oppression and structural inequity.” 

 

CIL continues to fight for access for all and recognizes that this means working at the intersection of disability rights and other social justice movements to gain rights, access, and inclusion for all those most excluded from the resources and power needed to do so. Over the next year, the CIL is working to increase our work with people with disabilities who bear the greatest consequences of this exclusion - those who are currently and formerly-incarcerated, people who are unhoused and people who are institutionalized. 

 

If interested in learning more, we recommend visiting the links below:

The Overlooked History of Black Disabled People

Harriet Tubman’s Disability and Why it Matters

Exploring the Intersection of Black History and Disability Inclusion

Black History Month: 8 Influential Black Americans with Disabilities

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Celebrating Juneteenth and the Intersection of the Black Civil Rights and the Disability Rights Move
Mural & exhibit featuring disabled artists and disability rights activists hung at the Oakland Airport

Mural & exhibit featuring disabled artists and disability rights activists hung at the Oakland Airport

Honoring 50-years of local Center for Independent Living & disability rights advocate Judith Heumann

May 22, 2023

The Center for Independent Living is proud to announce our collaboration with the Port of Oakland on a series of paintings and exhibits at the Oakland International Airport (OAK). This series is intended to educate the public about the history of the disability rights and justice movement, which started locally in the Bay Area in the 1960s and 70s, and to offer inspiration for today’s efforts towards inclusion and civil rights for all.

 

Passengers traveling through OAK have an opportunity to see the talent, beautiful artwork and photography of artists with disabilities and their allies. This includes a large mural, two exhibit booths, canvas banners and a painted canvas panel series in different locations throughout the airport.

 

“We are so pleased to be able to offer a suite of four exhibits reflecting the great work being done by the Center for Independent Living in OAK’s terminals,” says Craig Simon, Acting Director of Aviation at the Port of Oakland. “Not only are the newly installed displays vibrant and interesting to experience, but they also create awareness of the strength of people with disabilities in our community. This is great work, and I encourage everyone to check out these exhibits the next time they Fly the East Bay Way.”

 

Project Description and Background

Over nine months, a team of talented, local visual artists of color with diverse disabilities were selected to create a series of murals in Berkeley and Oakland with two internationally renowned muralists. The first of these murals has been placed at OAK in the corridor connecting Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.  The piece, titled “Disability is Strength,” honors the visionaries of the past who helped build the movement for disability rights and independence, and present a vision for a future of full inclusion, rights and justice for people with disabilities. The mural features disability rights pioneers Ed Roberts, Judith Heumann and Brad Lomax. The artists – Charles Blackwell, Vanessa Castro, Tiffany Hong – worked with muralists Pablo “Raiz” Arroyo and Pancho Pescador for months leading up to the final product.

 

Judy Heumann, one of the great and recently deceased disability rights early advocates once said, "Independent Living isn't doing everything by yourself – it's being in control of how things are done." Pablo and Pancho reflect on this in their experience of supporting the creation of this mural, “The mural we created was a process of listening to the CIL community. The significance of the final piece is to show that with the support of the community disabled artists can also achieve amazing feats, when we take the time to listen.”

 

Then, featured in the Southwest Baggage Claim is a banner featuring artwork by Charles Blackwell, a blind artist from Oakland, CA. After an accident that damaged his eyesight, Charles continued his lifelong passion of making art by using an entirely new style and way of working to compensate for his limited vision. He creates his artwork using primarily ink and canvas, leaning in closely to see through his peripherals, and using rich, vibrant colors.

 

Charles says the purpose of his artwork is, “To inspire and give inspiration to a world that is so beat down. The world is turned to a place where the disabled can encourage the abled to live fully and not limit themselves, to maintain their will to live and not give up.”

 

Also in the Southwest Baggage Claim is a mural conceived and created by Berkeley artist Ed Monroe and disabled artist Neil Marcus that was informed by documentary photographer HolLynn D'Lil’s book, Becoming Real in 24 Days. The mural depicts disabled people in the interior scenes organizing sit-ins and confrontations for equality, emerging into the outside world on either side, becoming full participants and achieving recognition in contemporary society.

 

Lastly, two photo display cases, located in the Bayview corridor of Southwest Terminal 2 and titled “Building An Accessible World” and “Equal Dignity without Discrimination,” showcase photos by photographer and lifelong disability rights activist Ken Stein. They capture moments from the Disability Rights Movement in the 70s and 80s that led up to the eventual passage of the ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990), as well as everyday scenes of a world in revolutionary transition; a world embracing equal dignity without discrimination. Ken Stein’s photography has also been mounted on a banner in the Southwest Baggage Claim for further visibility.

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Remembering Neil Jacobson

Remembering Neil Jacobson

Photo of Neil Jacobson, David Jacobson, and Denise Jacobson.

Left to Right: Neil Jacobson, David Jacobson, and Denise Jacobson.

It is with great sadness that the Center for Independent Living (the CIL) announces the passing of Neil Jacobson, a giant of the local and national disability rights and Independent Living Movement. Described by CIL staff and Board members as a fierce, creative, and dedicated activist and friend to so many, Neil was a vital part of the movement. He was deeply principled, whip-smart and no-nonsense with a great sense of humor with which he overcame the awkwardness he often encountered with non-disabled people.

 

Born with cerebral palsy, Neil was part of a movement of young people with disabilities who moved to California in the early 1970s to join the Independent Living Movement of People with Disabilities, which was centered at the time in the CIL. Neil was trained in computer technology and recognized its importance as an employment opportunity for people with disabilities as well as an important access resource. In 1975, he and Scott Luebking, who was also significantly disabled, appealed to IBM for support to establish a program at the CIL to train disabled students in the field. The program was so successful that 92% of the 300+ students found competitive employment and it was used as a model throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, and for the Neil Jacobson Computer Center in Uganda.

 

As the program grew, it transitioned into its own nonprofit as the Computer Training Program, an organization that continues this work today. It is located at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, beside CIL and several other organizations that were also once started by the people with disabilities who led the CIL.

 

He also worked for Wells Fargo as a disabled IT professional for 29 years and was a member of the World Institute on Disability's board for decades. In 2009, Neil retired from Wells Fargo as a Sr. Vice President to found Abilicorp, a foundation to help disabled-owned businesses. More recently, he was developing a Personal Assistant Services project through Abilicorp (ABPAS), to address the shortage of attendants by both recruiting attendants and building an easily accessible online directory where consumers and attendants can match their schedules and needs. In 2020, he was featured in the Academy Award Nominated documentary “Crip Camp.” 

 

The CIL is grateful for Neil’s lifelong advocacy for people with disabilities and dedication to the Independent Living Movement. We intend to continue his work to recruit and match attendants to people with disabilities in support of their independence and to prepare people with disabilities for employment, particularly in gaining the technological skills increasingly relevant for today’s workforce. 


Jacobson is survived by his wife Denise who lives in Oakland. Their son, David, lives nearby.

The following is a direct quote of a tribute to Neil Jacobson, including the specific language of the quote.

 

A Man of Exuberant Humor

It was with excitement but also a moment's hesitation that teacher Nancy Rubin in the 1970s accepted Neil Jacobson's offer to speak to her social living class at Berkeley High School. She was aware that sometimes high school students can be rude and insensitive in unfamiliar situations. Neil was in a wheelchair and spoke with visible strain, but Rubin's concerns evaporated when Neil rolled into her classroom and immediately announced to the students, "For the first couple of minutes you are not going to understand a fucking thing I say." There was a hesitant moment of silence, then the students burst into laughter. It took one sentence for Neil to erase any instinctive disquiet they might have felt about a visibly disabled man and about disability generally.

Neil's sharp, often rambunctious wit similarly cut through the widespread discomfort with disability on another occasion when he attended a UCSF class on human sexuality. The class was led through a guided visualization exercise on the obstacles of dating while disabled. The exercise entailed students closing their eyes as they imagined, with the assistance of a presenter, what it would be like to be disabled. When the point had been made, they were advised to open their eyes and told, "You are no longer disabled." In response, a voice piped up from the back of the room: "Far fucking out!" It was Neil, of course -- and still disabled, of course.

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Winter Storms are Arriving, and CIL is Here to Support!

Winter Storms are Arriving, and CIL is Here to Support!

 

A new winter storm is rolling through parts of northern California this weekend, bringing unusually cold temperatures, gusty winds, rains, and even possible snowfall in the foothills of Alameda County. 

 

As a Disability Disaster Access and Resources Center (DDARC) and CalOES Listos Partner, The Center for Independent Living is here to support people with disabilities and older adults across Northern Alameda County who are being impacted by this winter storm. Our Emergency Preparedness and Resiliency team is on-call from 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. to provide emergency planning, referrals to community resources, and other material resource support for those displaced from their homes due to power outages or loss of heat due to the storm’s severe rains and winds. We can be reached at 510-993-3103 or at DisasterHelp@centerforindependentliving.org 

 

It’s not too late to make a plan! Check out the California Office of Emergency Services’ English Winter Weather Preparedness guide here: https://news.caloes.ca.gov/winter-weather-preparedness-during-california-storms/ 

o en español Consejos de Preparación ara una Tormenta: https://news.caloes.ca.gov/consejos-de-preparacion-para-una-tormenta/  

This guide includes information about the upcoming winter weather, and tips for preparing for and staying safe during these storms.

 

For our unhoused neighbors, please see a live and updating list of Warming Centers open in Alameda County here:  https://veoci.com/v/p/dashboard/rzeuxugym4 

 

Currently, open warming centers are:

 

  • St. Vincent de Paul, 510-638-7600

675 23rd St, Oakland, CA 94612

 

1700 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda, CA 94501, USA

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Severe Storm Alert: Support and Safety Tips from CIL

 

Beginning this morning, Wednesday, January 4th, a severe winter storm has arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area. Heavy rains have initiated a Flood Watch across the entire Bay Area, and high winds with gusts between 35 mph - 60+ mph could lead to downed trees and downed power lines; mudslides and landslides are predicted due to already-wet soil, widespread power outages could occur. The impact of flooding and landslides to roadways and transportation is likely. It is critical to us at The Center for Independent Living that our cross-disability and older adult communities have the information and resources they need to be prepared, safe, and resilient during this severe storm

As a Disability Disaster Access and Resources Center (DDARC), The Center for Independent Living's Emergency Preparedness program is here to support consumers across Northern Alameda County who are being impacted by this severe storm and atmospheric river event. CIL has resources for people with disabilities and older adults who have been displaced from their homes due to flooding or landslides, or who are experiencing sustained power outages due to recent severe rains and winds. 

We’re here to assist—please contact us:

via phone at 510-422-5085 or 510-841-4776 

or via e-mail at emartin@centerforindependentliving.org or DisasterHelp@centerforindependentliving.org

We have staff on call from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. during this severe weather. 

 

Severe Storm Safety Tips

One of the most important safety measures you can take during this severe storm is to minimize any travel on January 4th, between the hours of 2:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., during the height of the rainfall and high wind.

  • Pack a ‘go-bag’ in case you need to evacuate quickly. Go-bags should include (at minimum): important documents, like copies of identification, insurance, financial documents, emergency contact information, and other important papers; wallet, phone, and phone charger; N95 masks; medications and a list of all prescriptions; important pieces of assistive technology and their chargers; a change of clothing; pet food for your pet or service animal; and a flashlight with extra batteries. 

  • Stay informed. Continue to check local news resources for storm updates, and sign up for AC Alert, the Alameda County emergency alert system. If you need assistance signing up for AC Alert, reach out to CIL’s Emergency Preparedness Program at 510-422-5085 or emartin@centerforindependentliving.org

  • During a flood: if you experience flooding or receive city or county evacuation orders, it’s important to get to higher ground as soon and as safely as possible. If evacuating, disconnect your utilities and appliances in your home if it is safe to do so. 

    • Avoid flood waters, as waters as low as 3-6 inches can cause wheelchair wheels to lose their grip, or knock someone off their feet. 

    • Do not enter flooded basements, especially if water covers electrical outlets or if cords are submerged, as there could be electricity in the water. 

    • Never drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

  • During a power outage:

    • If you are experiencing a sustained power outage that is also impacting your health, safety, or ability to use your medical equipment or assistive technology, please contact CIL’s Emergency Preparedness Program at 510-422-5085 or emartin@centerforindependentliving.org

    • During a power outage, keep fridges and freezers closed; do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home; if using a generator, camp stove, or charcoal grill, only operate them outdoors and away from windows in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning; turn off or disconnect appliances to avoid damaging power surges when power returns.

    • If you encounter a downed power line, never touch them and avoid driving over them. Call 9-1-1 immediately to report a downed power line.

  • During a landslide/mudslide: if you suspect an imminent landslide, evacuate as soon as possible; getting out of the path of landslide or debris flow is the best protection.

    • Landslides often happen where they have happened in the past. If you are a hearing person, you can also listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking.

    • Be especially alert when driving, because landslides can be more likely along the embankments or hillsides of roadways. Watch the road for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks, or other signs of landslides. 

 

For information about accessing shelters and emergency housing in your area, please reach out to 2-1-1 (Eden Information and Referral). For residents who need temporary refuge from wet weather, or who are experiencing a power outage, most public libraries in the county are open and have power. Check the hours and location of a public library closest to you!

The Center for Independent Living will continue to issue alerts, as well as safety and preparedness tips, throughout the severe weather this week.
 


A partir de esta mañana, miércoles 4 de enero, una tormenta severa invernal ha llegado a la Área de la Bahía de San Francisco. Las fuertes lluvias han iniciado una Vigilancia de Inundaciones en toda el Área de la Bahía, y los fuertes vientos con ráfagas de entre 35 mph y más de 60 mph podrían provocar la caída de árboles y líneas eléctricas caídas; se pronostican deslizamientos de tierra y lodo debido a que el suelo ya está húmedo, podrían ocurrir apagones de corriente. El impacto de las inundaciones y los deslizamientos de tierra en las carreteras y el transporte es probable. Es fundamental para nosotros en el Centro para una Vida Independiente [Center for Independent Living] que nuestras comunidades de adultos mayores y personas con discapacidades tengan la información y los recursos que necesitan para estar preparados, seguros y resistentes durante esta tormenta severa.

Como Centro de Recursos y Acceso a Desastres para Discapacitados (DDARC, por sus siglas en inglés), el programa de Preparación para Emergencias del Centro para una Vida Independiente está aquí para apoyar a los consumidores en el norte del condado de Alameda que están siendo afectados por esta tormenta severa y por el río atmosférico. CIL (por sus siglas en inglés) tiene recursos para personas con discapacidades y adultos mayores que han sido desplazados de sus hogares debido a inundaciones o deslizamientos de tierra, o que están experimentando apagones de corriente debido a las fuertes lluvias y vientos.

Estamos aquí para ayudar - por favor contáctenos por: 

Teléfono al 510-422-5085 o 510-841-4776 

O por correo electrónico a emartin@centerforindependentliving.org o DisasterHelp@centerforindependentliving.org

Contamos con personas que están disponibles para recibir llamadas entre 7:00 a.m. a 7:00 p.m. durante este clima severo.

 

Consejos de seguridad para tormentas severas

Una de las medidas de seguridad más importantes que puedes tomar durante esta tormenta severa es minimizar cualquier viaje el 4 de enero, entre las 2:00 p. m. - 9:00 p. m., durante el pico de la lluvia y fuertes vientos.

  • Empaque una "bolsa de viaje" en caso de que necesite evacuar rápidamente. Las bolsas de viaje deben incluir (como mínimo): documentos importantes, como copias de identificación, copias de aseguranza, documentos financieros, información de contacto de emergencia y otros documentos importantes; billetera, celular y cargador de celular; mascarillas N95; medicamentos y una lista de todas las prescripciones; piezas importantes de tecnología de asistencia y sus cargadores; un cambio de ropa; alimento para mascotas para su mascota o animal de servicio; y una linterna con baterías adicionales.

  • Mantente informado. Continúe revisando los recursos que dan las noticias locales para obtener actualizaciones sobre tormentas e inscríbase al AC Alert, el sistema de alerta de emergencia del condado de Alameda. Si necesita ayuda para inscribirse al AC Alert, comuníquese con el Programa de preparación para emergencias de CIL al 510-422-5085 o emartin@centerforindependentliving.org 

  • Durante una inundación: si experimenta una inundación o recibe órdenes de evacuación de la ciudad o el condado, es importante llegar a un terreno más alto lo más pronto posible y de la manera más segura posible. Si evacua, desconecte todos los accesorios y los electrodomésticos de su hogar si es seguro hacerlo.

    • Evite las inundaciones, ya que las aguas de 3 a 6 pulgadas pueden hacer que las sillas de ruedas pierdan su agarre o derribar a alguien. 

    • No ingrese a sótanos inundados, especialmente si el agua cubre los enchufes eléctricos o si los cables están sumergidos, ya que podría haber electricidad en el agua.

    • Nunca conduzca en carreteras inundadas o alrededor de una barricada. ¡Date la vuelta, no te ahogues!

  • Durante un apagón de corriente:

    • Si experimenta un apagón de corriente que también está afectando su salud, seguridad o la capacidad para usar su equipo médico o tecnología de asistencia, comuníquese con el Programa de preparación para emergencias de CIL al 510-422-5085 o emartin@centerforindependentliving.org 

    • Durante un corte de energía, mantenga cerrados los refrigeradores y congeladores; no use una estufa u horno de gas para calentar su hogar; si usa un generador, una estufa de campamento o una parrilla de carbón, solo utilícelos al aire libre y lejos de las ventanas para evitar el envenenamiento por monóxido de carbono; apague o desconecte los electrodomésticos para evitar daños por sobrecargas de energía cuando regrese la energía.

    • Si encuentra una línea eléctrica caída, nunca la toque y evite conducir sobre ella. Llame al 9-1-1 inmediatamente para reportar una línea eléctrica caída.

  • Durante un deslizamiento de tierra/deslizamiento de lodo: si sospecha un deslizamiento de tierra inminente, evacúe lo más pronto posible; salirse del camino de deslizamientos de tierra o flujo de escombros es la mejor protección.

    • Los deslizamientos de tierra ocurren donde han ocurrido en el pasado. Si es una persona oyente, también puede escuchar sonidos inusuales que podrían indicar escombros en movimiento, como el crujido de árboles.

    • Esté especialmente alerta cuando conduzca, porque los deslizamientos de tierra pueden ser más probables a lo largo de los terraplenes o las laderas de las carreteras. Esté atento a la carretera en busca de pavimento derrumbado, lodo, rocas caídas u otras señales de deslizamientos de tierra.

 

Para obtener información sobre cómo acceder a refugios y viviendas de emergencia en su área, comuníquese con 2-1-1 (Información y referencia de Eden). Para los residentes que necesitan refugio temporal del clima húmedo o que están experimentando un apagón de corriente, la mayoría de las bibliotecas públicas del condado están abiertas y tienen electricidad. ¡Consulte el horario y la ubicación de la biblioteca pública más cercana a usted!

 

El Centro para una Vida Independiente continuará emitiendo alertas, así como consejos de seguridad y preparación, durante el clima severo de esta semana.

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Severe Storm Alert: Support and Safety Tips from CIL

Advocates Demand Justice for Disabled and Senior Renters Seeking Apartments at Low Income Housing Tax Credit Properties

Coalition Will Call on Alameda Housing Authority and Island City Development to End Discriminatory Practices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact: Itzel Romero, 510-422-5087

The Center for Independent Living

Date/Time: December 15th at 11:00 AM

Location: Will Start at Levy’s Bagels at 730 Atlantic Avenue, Alameda,

then move to Alameda County Housing Authority at 701 Atlantic Avenue

After securing an apartment at Rosefield Village, a newly redeveloped, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) property in Alameda, Jen Herrington felt like she had won the Bay Area housing golden ticket. Rosefield Village’s promotional materials stated that the property had 25 units for people with mobility disabilities, units that could be further modified to meet individual tenants’ needs. This was vitally important to Jen, as she would require an accessible shower to live safely and independently at Rosefield Village.

 

Jen would soon learn that the “accessible” apartments at Rosefield Village were in name only. Although modifiable, costs associated with the modification (in Jen’s case, estimated at $20,000) would fall squarely on Jen. This was extra money Jen did not have, as the apartment she qualified for was for people making 30% or less of the area median income (AMI).

 

None of these details were disclosed to Jen when she applied for the apartment. All she was told was that the “accessible” units at Rosefield Village could be modified to accommodate individual tenants’ needs.

 

Jen Herrington said, “I was told I would have to renovate the brand-new bathroom myself, while not being able to shower. They said that if the unit I qualified for was HUD-funded, they would accommodate me, but because it was a LIHTC unit, they would not.”

 

It turned out one unit at Rosefield Village, out of 92, would meet Jen’s needs without requiring further modification. It had the roll-in shower Jen needed. When Jen inquired about the unit with the roll-in shower, she was told she did not qualify for it because it was reserved for people 80% of the AMI. In other words, Jen, and other prospective senior and disabled tenants making between 20% and 60% of the AMI, would need to pay tens of thousands of dollars more than a higher income person for a basic accessibility feature.

 

“When I learned my name had come up for an apartment at Rosefield Village, I was overjoyed. I let myself imagine what it would be like to have a safe bathroom and access to the outdoors -- to have sidewalks that allowed me to do my own shopping and to be able to participate in the community. I did not know I was on a path to discover a barrier to equal housing based on class and disability,” said Jen Herrington.

 

“We do not accept what happened to Jen Herrington at Rosefield Village, and we will not accept it happening to other prospective tenants of LIHTC properties in Alameda County,” said Jessica Lehman, Executive Director of Senior and Disability Action.

 

On Thursday, December 15th at 11 AM, a coalition of advocacy organizations and community members will gather at Levy’s Bagels at 730 Atlantic Avenue, and then move to Alameda Housing Authority, to demand the following:

 

1. That Jen Herrington immediately be offered a unit at Rosefield Village that is accessible to her needs.

 

2. That Rosefield Village provide and pay for modifications for all future tenants occupying its 25 “accessible” units.

 

3. That Island City Development and the Alameda County Housing Authority give further clarity, guidance, and information about their 25 accessible, adaptable units for people with mobility disabilities, ensuring that these units are meaningfully accessible to disabled tenants.

 

4. That Island City Development and the Alameda County Housing Authority ensure all its current and future LIHTC units are easily adaptable and undue cost burdens do not fall on disabled tenants.

 

“What we have learned through Jen Herrington’s experience is that qualifying for a LIHTC unit does not necessarily translate to living in a LIHTC unit. LIHTC properties put able-bodied people at a significant advantage and discriminate against disabled people who cannot cover the costs of necessary modifications,” said Itzel Romero, Systems Change Advocate at The Center for Independent Living.

 

Speakers with different disabilities will be available to speak with press at the event.

 

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CIL Berkeley is the first independent living center in the country and one of the founders of the Disability Rights and Independent Living movements. We believe people with disabilities have the right to live in communities they choose, with any supports needed for safety, accessibility, and dignity. We provide advocacy and direct services like information and referrals, residential access, assistive technology, travel training, youth leadership, housing assistance and more.

 

Senior and Disability Action is a community organization of over 200 seniors and disabled people in the Bay Area. We work for rights and justice for seniors and people with disabilities, especially people of color and poor people. We fight together for affordable housing, quality health care and home care, mental health services, transit justice, and respect for all people. 

 

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Advocates Demand Justice for Disabled and Senior Renters at Low Income Housing Tax Credit Properties
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CIL Leadership Announcement

 

December 2, 2022

The Board of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley announces that, as of November 21, 2022, it has parted company with Executive Director Ted Jackson. Our skilled and conscientious staff continues to provide advocacy and services to the community.  The process of selecting a successor is already under way. There is no change in our mission, our philosophy or our services, and our staff and program leaders have the full support of the board. 

 

We have arranged for Independent Living veteran Robert Hand to provide administrative guidance during this interim period to  assure a seamless continuity of services. Hand previously served CIL as our Transitional Administrator, and we are grateful to him for his willingness to again provide his expert guidance on short notice.

 

During our leadership transition, Zayda Ortiz, our Program Director, will represent the Center in relations with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and other affiliates. 

 

We will continue to confer with our partners, donors, staff and other interested parties as we take the time needed for due diligence in selecting a new executive director. That process has already begun. We are grateful to our staff and to the community we serve for their patience, and we repeat that, thanks to our dedicated staff, we anticipate no diminution of services or advocacy during this period. 

 

The Center for Independent Living has a proud 50-year history of providing services by and to the disabled community and advocacy to increase awareness, collaboration and opportunity among people with disabilities and the community at large. 

 

Joshua A. Halstead

Caleb van Docto

Co-Chairs of the Board of Directors

Board@centerforindependentliving.org

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CIL Leadership Announcement
The Supreme Court’s Ruling Overturning Abortion Rights

The Supreme Court’s Ruling Overturning Abortion Rights

Activism and Mental Health Resources Included Below

 

Today’s U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturns Roe and Casey has left all of us devastated at The Center for Independent Living, Inc (CIL). We are encouraging members of our community to speak out, attend a protest and organize with others to fight back against this hurtful decision.

 

This decision will affect people with disabilities far and wide. The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) issued a statement that best describes what is at risk for us all:

 

“Disabled people have the right to self-determination and bodily autonomy. We have the right to make our own decisions. Our human rights include reproductive rights. Abortion rights are disability rights.

 

People with disabilities already face barriers to abortion and contraception. Sex ed is not accessible to us. Health care and telehealth are not accessible. Transportation is not accessible.

 

We are more likely to live in poverty and we are more likely to rely on the government for health care. Many of us are multiply marginalized.

 

We are more likely to be sexually assaulted. Especially people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Some of us have complex medical conditions and pregnancy is dangerous. The government already tries to control our lives and our bodies. Disabled people need abortion.” Read their entire statement.

 

Additionally, a joint memo released by DREDF, the American Association of People with Disabilities and several of their national partners explains the intrinsic connections between abortion rights and the civil rights of disabled persons. Read the memo.

 

People with disabilities are not a monolith, our identities are always a case of disabled AND. Because of the intersectional nature of belonging to more than one community, if one part of us is affected our whole being is impacted.

 

Many more SCOTUS decisions that we rely on for our civil rights and quality of life could be at stake. Within minutes of the ruling’s announcement, Justice Clarence Thomas issued an opinion stating that the court “should reconsider” previous decisions in the areas of contraception, same-sex relationships and marriage equality.

 

Let’s not accept defeat today, but use today to begin work for a return to justice. If you want to do more, below are events in the Bay Area over the next few days with opportunities to connect, collaborate, organize, protest and become a co-conspirator for justice with others and fight back against this hurtful court ruling:

 

 

We know today’s event might be triggering for many people in our community. If you find yourself or others in crisis or needing to talk, here are some local mental health resources:

 

 

Spanish Speaking Mental Health Resources:

 

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CIL Calls for Reinstating Mask Mandates on Public Transit

The nation’s first Independent Living Center calls on Bay Area transportation authorities and others to take action and demonstrate leadership by protecting riders and travelers with disabilities while the effects of the on-going pandemic are still unclear.

April 27, 2022

(Berkeley, CA) – The Center for Independent Living, Inc. is calling on commercial transportation companies and federal, state and local transit authorities to reinstate a mask mandate for travelers and commuters on their transportation systems. A district court judge in Florida lifted the mask mandate on April 19, 2022, which had previously been put in place by the Centers for Disease Control because of the on-going impact of the pandemic, leaving older adults, people with disabilities and other persons at risk of contracting COVID-19.

 

“When this ruling came down I became very concerned, our main office sits on top of a BART station used daily by our staff, disabled consumers, and many others coming to the Ed Roberts Campus or just passing through. Many of these people may have compromised immune systems. Removing this sensible policy makes transit inaccessible and possibly harmful for our community, especially for those who are at high risk for infection or complications due to COVID-19,” said CIL Executive Director Ted Jackson. 

 

CIL urges the Bay Area Rapid Transit, AC Transit, Metropolitan Transit Commission,   Federal Transit Authority, East Bay Paratransit and the California Department of Public Health and Alameda Department of Public Health and others to do everything in their power to reinstate mask mandates on public transit. In the meantime, we ask individual community members to continue wearing masks on public transportation. In the future, we ask that public transportation providers do more to protect older adults and people with disabilities from COVID-19.

 

Jackson continued, “We do not yet know the full extent of the long term effects of COVID-19, or multiple infections, so we must ask our fellow community members and our allies in public transit to protect each other by masking up. The only way to get through this is by working together.”

 

CIL also asks that East Bay Paratransit reinstate a one-seat ride policy, as well as improve ventilation on East Bay Paratransit vehicles and city transit vehicles, many of which have not been upgraded to the same extent as AC Transit buses.

 

“When you really get to the core of it, any policy that even suggests it’s OK to let seniors and disabled people risk illness and their lives so that others can have convenience is straight up eugenics. I think it’s important to use the words disability and eugenics in these COVID-19 discussions, because during the pandemic there has been disproportionate recognition of the impact that this disease has had on our community. We shouldn’t have to risk our lives when using transit to go to work, school, shop or have a night out with friends,” said CIL consumer and Berkeley resident Loren Steinberg.

 

The removal of mask mandates leads to an increase of Coronavirus infections. According to the CDC, “[a]s of February 2022, approximately 75% of children and adolescents had serologic evidence of previous infection with SARS-CoV-2, with approximately one third becoming newly seropositive since December 2021.” This rise in cases aligns with the lifting of indoor mask mandates in schools.

 

Data from the Alameda Public Health COVID-19 website shows that there has been a disproportionate amount of infections amongst transportation workers within the Spanish speaking community as well as young adults. AC Transit has faced staff shortages due to COVID-19 infections.

 

For over 50-years the Center for Independent Living has served disabled people, beginning in Berkeley and growing to all of Northern Alameda County, AC. We provide wrap-around resources, support, services and advocacy for people with disabilities. Emerging out of the disability rights movement catalyzed by students at UC Berkeley in the early 1970’s, activists with disabilities founded The Center for Independent Living, Inc. in 1972. The Center for Independent Living, Inc. is the nation’s first disability rights organization committed to Independent Living organized and operated by persons with disabilities. Our peer-based services model has been replicated by over 400 Independent Living Centers nationwide and in similar programs in 20 countries around the globe.

 

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CIL Calls for Reinstating Mask Mandates on Public Transit

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