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CFILC Press Release

Increasing access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities by building the capacity of Independent Living Centers. Learn more about CFILC and what we do.

Disability Disaster Access & Resources aids and supports individuals with disabilities impacted by Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) PSPS likely to occur Monday night for Northern counties, Tuesday & Wednesday night for Southern counties September 8th, 2020

Logo for DDAR Logo for DDAR Sacramento, CA – Sacramento, CA - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT:
Cameron Moore, 916-612-1520
Communications and Marketing Manager, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)

While working to ensure that individuals enrolled in the recently launched Disability Disaster Access and Resources (DDAR) program are prepared and have their needs met in preparation for this year's first planned Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) of 2020, we have learned that PSPS events will also include multiple counties in the southern part of the state. The current forecast indicates an increased likelihood of a planned Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) by all three major utilities, Pacific Gas & Electricity (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). Currently, twenty-one Northern counties and six Southern counties are slated to be affected.

The groundbreaking DDAR pilot program which was developed by The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) and supported by PG&E and Anthem Blue Cross, brings necessary assistance to people with disabilities, and older adults with access and functional needs who require electricity as a part of daily living, before, during, and after the active PSPS event, which are expects to begin within hours.

The California Disability Disaster Access and Resources program is coordinating with twenty local Independent Living Centers (ILCs) to deliver:

• Personal emergency preparedness support

• Assistance with Medical Baseline and local emergency alert enrollment

• Trainings on a series of disaster and related topics as well as assessing an individual's needs order to maintain their independence during a PSPS

• Additional assistance based on resources available

"As we prepare for Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) to have an affect the state of California, it is important to remember these events can quickly turn into an emergency for people with disabilities and older adults who rely on the use of electricity. It is critical that people with disabilities are provided early alerts, disaster readiness support and assistance during these events. While wildfire prevention is necessary we cannot allow people with disabilities to be put at risk during multiday power outages," explained Christina N. Mills, CFILC Executive Director.

Individuals can apply for services on the DDAR website here: https://disabilitydisasteraccess.org.

Find the location of your local Disability Disaster Access & Resource Center by downloading the DDARC directory (PDF).

Find Pacific Gas and Electric's (PG&E) updates.

Find Southern California Edison's (SCE) updates.

Find San Diego Gas and Electric's (SDG&E) updates.

PG&E, CFILC Partner to Support Vulnerable Customers in Preparation for Public Safety Power Shutoffs Program Enables Eligible Customers with Disabilities and Older Customers to get Backup Power, Lodging and More for Use During PSPS Events and Emergencies April 29th, 2020

www.pgecurrents.com – As part of PG&E's commitment to safety and supporting customers and communities, the company will join with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFLIC) as it supports customers with disabilities and older customers who are most vulnerable when the power goes out.

Known as the Disability Disaster Access and Resources Program, the joint effort will aid the disability, aging and Access and Functional Needs (AFN) population ahead of a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), when power is turned off during times of heightened wildfire risk.

The pilot disaster readiness program is being implemented by local Independent Living Centers associated with CFILC. The program will enable the local centers to provide qualifying customers who use electrical medical devices with access to backup portable batteries through a grant, lease-to-own or the FreedomTech low-interest financial loan program. Transportation resources, lodging and food, emergency planning, education and outreach about PG&E programs such as Medical Baseline also will be part of the program.

Applications for portable backup batteries will be available online and at Independent Living Centers across the state. Individuals who use life-sustaining electrical support will be the highest priority. Through the application process, the CFILC's Disaster Resource Advisory Committee will make the ultimate determination about the distribution of resources. CFILC will administer all aspects of the program.

Coordination of resources takes time, so individuals are encouraged to engage with their local centers and formulate a plan long before a safety shutoff is imminent. Customers can find the location of Independent Living Centers by visiting www.cfilc.org/find-ilc. Hours of operation may be impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This program has the potential to shape the future of how individuals with disabilities and older adults are provided opportunities to engage in training and resources to better prepare all of us during times of emergencies and PSPS events. PG&E and CFILC believe it is critical to give people with disabilities who are at risk the tools and resources they need to be prepared in order to maintain their health and safety," said CFILC Executive Director Christina Mills.

CFILC serves as a membership association for most of the local Independent Living Centers across PG&E's service area. They are grassroots organizations run by, and for people with disabilities, and they provide a variety of services to people across all types of disabilities and ages. Partnering with centers already working together to support the most vulnerable individuals in PG&E's service area is one of the best ways to reach the disabled community during PSPS events or emergencies.

Turning off the power creates a hardship for all PG&E's customers, and a PSPS can impact vulnerable customers dramatically. By working with and offering financial assistance to CFILC, PG&E can help alleviate some of the disruptive impacts and support the safety and wellness of these customers.

"The ability to successfully help our customers prepare before, during and after a Public Safety Power Shutoff or other events such as a wildfire will depend greatly on community partnerships and associations. At PG&E, we are extremely thankful for CFILC and all they do to provide assistance to Californians. They are uniquely positioned to support the AFN community by providing services and advocacy through their existing programs and campaigns," said PG&E's Laurie Giammona, chief customer officer and a senior vice president.

Even before the official program was launched, PG&E and CFILC partnered to provide the AFN community with accessible transportation, lodging, backup batteries and other services during safety shutoffs in 2019.

During events in October and November, more than 1,100 individuals got some assistance from the CFLIC with the support of PG&E. That support includes providing more than 195 batteries for backup power and 217 hotel stays. Additionally, more than 20 customers were provided with accessible transportation to hotels and 122 food vouchers were provided. Many of the local Independent Living Centers provided charging for phones and electric devices.

Winter Relief for People Experiencing Homelessness Care Package Distribution and Housing Supports in Alameda, San Bernardino and Sacramento for People with Disabilities February 12th, 2020

Sacramento, CA – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT:
Kyla Aquino Irving, 916-325-1690 Ext. 304
Communications and Marketing Director, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)

(SACRAMENTO, CALIF.) - The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), Rolling Start, Inc., Community Resources for Independent Living, Resources for Independent Living and Anthem Blue Cross are working together to assist individuals with disabilities in San Bernardino and Alameda counties, who are experiencing homelessness. With funding support from Anthem Blue Cross, the organizations are distributing 'care packages' that include blankets, hygiene and first aid items as well as snacks, restaurant gift cards and other supports to assist with housing related needs.

In addition to providing care packages, the Independent Living Center of Sacramento and Yolo County Resources for Independent Living have increased their emergency rental assistance program and emergency housing assistance fund to help individuals with disabilities remain in their own homes.

"We, at CFILC, recognize that people with disabilities who are experiencing homelessness are often displaced, misunderstood, directed to inaccessible services, unaware of their rights, or in need of culturally competent disability support that is not always easy to navigate," said Christina Mills, Executive Director of CFILC. "We are thankful to have our Anthem Blue Cross partners supporting our efforts and the incredible ground relief our Independent Living Centers are providing in Sacramento, Yolo, San Bernardino and Alameda Counties."

"Anthem Blue Cross works to improve lives and communities, and to make healthcare simpler to navigate for people across California," said Dr. Barsam Kasravi, Anthem Blue Cross President. "Anthem values the work Independent Living Centers do to support people with disabilities, and we are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate on addressing the state's most pressing priorities, such as helping people experiencing homelessness and housing instability as well as addressing health equity."

The number of Californians experiencing homelessness is at an all-time high. According to recent research, more than half of the country's homeless population resides in California. Independent Living Centers have a long history of providing programs and services to individuals with disabilities, including to those who are experiencing homelessness. These efforts to provide resources to those who need extra support while searching for permanent housing are critical and are making a positive difference in people's health and wellbeing.

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About the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)

The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) registered 501(c)(3) non-profit Corporation that increases access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities by building the capacity of Independent Living Centers throughout California. To learn more, please visit: cfilc.org

Disability Organizations Join Forces to Increase Census Participation Throughout California Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) & California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) Launch New Website, Produce Public Awareness Videos as Part of Statewide Outreach Campaign February 11th, 2020

Berkeley/Sacramento, CA – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Lawrence Carter-Long, 510-644-2555 x 5256, LCarterLong@dredf.org
Director of Communications, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)

Kyla Aquino Irving, 916-325-1690, Kyla@cfilc.org
Communications and Marketing Director, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)

The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) are acting as Statewide Community-Based Organization Outreach Partners in coordination with the California Census Office to increase participation among disabled Californians and older adults in the upcoming 2020 census which takes place April 1.

In addition, a series of nine videos available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL) were produced for the campaign in partnership with the Seattle-based disability media organization,Rooted in Rights. The videos can be used by community groups, disability organizations and advocacy groups in California and across the nation. Members of the media and the general public can access campaign resources and watch or share the videos at DisabilityCounts2020.org. A list of participating Independent Living Centers across California can be found here.

"We've discovered that there's a lot of fear and misinformation about the census among people with disabilities," said Susan Henderson, Executive Director of DREDF. "We're here to ease those concerns and to assist census takers across the state by providing accurate, up-to-date information and remind our communities that only thing people with disabilities should fear about taking the census is what we stand to lose - individually and collectively - by not taking the census."

The disability and aging communities have a lot to lose.

Real-life necessities many people with disabilities and older adults rely to live independently like health care service, SNAP benefits, and special education funding are determined by the census count. If disabled residents are missed or undercounted in the census that means fewer resources will be allocated by Congress to adequately fund those services.

"If disabled people aren't counted in the Census that means less attention-and funding-to our issues when it comes to budget allocations," added Christina Mills, CFILC Executive Director. "Thankfully, in 2020, for the first time census takers will be able to complete the 2020 survey in person, online or by phone, in addition to the traditional paper questionnaire. This promises improve and increase access for everyone - people with disabilities and older adults included."

For more information, go to: DisabilityCounts2020.org

Wins for People with Disabilities in State Budget July 3rd, 2019

Sacramento, CA – On July 27th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a state budget that prioritized people with disabilities, seniors and other marginalized communities in need of mental health, human services, health care services, education and developmental services.

The Newsom Administration is taking action to increase services that people with disabilities of all ages need while also ensuring that our state remains fiscally responsible. Housing and long-term services and supports are just a couple of the critical quality of life issues that our Governor supports.

"I'm pleased to see that a number of budget issues that we at CFILC have been advocating for were included in the State Budget," said Christina Mills, Executive Director of the Center for Independent Living Centers (CFILC). "Building the capacity of Independent Living Centers and increasing access for people with disabilities through self-determination is why CFILC exists. The Disability community continues to build a presence and play an important role as stakeholders when creating positive policy change."

The 2019-2020 State Budget includes funds that CFILC prioritized and worked with coalition partners to secure. The final spending plan opens the door to creating No Wrong Door systems that will end silos for aging and disabled individuals.

CFILC's State Budget Policy Priorities in the Final Budget:



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About CFILC

The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that increases access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities by building the capacity of Independent Living Centers throughout California.

To learn more, please visit: cfilc.org.


Media Contact: Kyla Aquino Irving, (916)325-1690 Ext. 304.

CFILC Statement on Governor Newsom's Master Plan for Aging June 17th, 2019

Sacramento, CA – Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order on the Master Plan for Aging. The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) has been working in coordination and advocating in partnership with our aging community colleagues to advance as well as increase programs for both disabled and aging individuals, including a Master Plan that is inclusive of people with disabilities.

California's population of people with disabilities and seniors currently stands at about 8 million. This includes seniors who are either age 65 and individuals under age 65 who are living with disabilities. With a population that is expected to double over the next few decades, it is imperative that the state meets the growing demand for services and supports.

"The Governor's Master Plan is another step forward in decreasing California's siloed long-term services and supports systems that has historically neglected to bring together two significantly marginalized communities that can no longer be ignored," said Christina Mills, CFILC Executive Director. "To include people with disabilities in the master plan, understand the value of our disability rights motto, 'Nothing about us, without us' and ensure this principle is directly reflected in the Executive Order demonstrates that we will not be left out and that our advocacy made a difference."

Together we will work on the Master Plan, but also create additional inclusive, robust no wrong door systems and develop tangible actions that move the Master Plan from an Executive Order to next steps.

"Our ability to make a consistently meaningful impact in California's Disability and Aging communities is contingent on a Master Plan that views them as equally important, because they are," said Dani Anderson, CFILC Vice Chair.

As a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to build the capacity of its Independent Living Center membership, CFILC is proud to be in partnership with aging and disability organizations to pave a path towards creating a long-term services and support system (LTSS) that serves all of us across the lifespan.

Ability Tools to Host High School Students and Other Inventors for Demonstration of Technology That Assists People with Disabilities August 27th, 2018

Burlingame, CA – California-based assistive technology (AT) program, Ability Tools, plans to host a day of presentations from up-and-coming innovators of technology that supports people with disabilities at Home Safety Services in Burlingame on Thursday, August 30, 2018.

Presenters include the high school student-engineers of Project Invent and its Founder and Executive Director Connie Liu, Pants Up Easy CEO and Inventor of, Doug Pearson, and the owner of Home Safety Solutions, Martin Simenc.

The event is free and open to the public for those who register online.

"Ability Tools is dedicated to connecting Californians with disabilities to resources, which includes people with innovative solutions," said Emily Flynn, Ability Tools Program Coordinator at the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC). "We are delighted to have teenage engineers of Project Invent in our network of AT advocates."

The high school student-engineers of Project Invent will be leading an interactive training with a community partner who is blind. They will be demonstrating devices that they developed specifically for his challenges with limited vision.

Liu explained that she started Project Invent as a "catalyst for good" that later grew into an after-school program.

"Project Invent started out of a frustration with an education system that prioritizes high test scores rather than real-world problem-solving," said Liu. "Project Invent students are more than just learners; they are change makers."

"I had no engineering experience prior to being a part of Project Invent," said 16-year-old Maddie Park, 11th grade student at Nueva School. "Now I feel very comfortable programming, wiring, 3D printing, soldering, and more."

Park feels that her involvement with Project Invent has strengthened her design thinking skills and taught her so much about how to interview people with empathy. She finds that meeting with community partners to understand the needs of the people who will be utilizing their inventions most rewarding of all.

The Ability Tools Bay Area training is one of many events throughout California, providing resources and education on assistive technology for people with disabilities.

ABILITY TOOLS BAY AREA EVENT
WHEN: Thursday, August 30, 2018
10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Pants Up Easy demonstration
12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Tour of Home Safety Services, Inc. showroom
1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Project Invent presentation
WHERE: Home Safety Services
890 Cowan Road, Suite G
Burlingame, CA 94010

REGISTER ONLINE: http://abilitytools.org/training/training-registration.php
For media interested in attending the event, please email kyla@cfilc.org for access.

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About Ability Tools
Ability Tools is a network of assistive technology (AT) professionals dedicated to expanding the accessibility of resources and technology that will help increase independence, improve personal productivity and enhance the quality of life for all Californians. Ability Tools is a program California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. For more: AbilityTools.org

About Project Invent
Project Invent is an after-school program for high school student-engineers that empowers young students with the confidence and skills to impact their communities through invention. For more: projectinvent.org

About Pants Up Easy®
Pants Up Easy®, the world's first and only product to help wheelchair users and others with mobility impairments to pull up their pants independently, will provide demonstrations. For more: https://www.pantsupeasy.com/

About Home Safety Services
Since 1997, Home Safety Services has served the San Francisco Bay Area families as a provider of home modification services and has been accredited by the Joint Commission. For more: http://www.homesafety.net/About-Us/Our-Story

Media Contact: Kyla Aquino Irving, (916)325-1690 Ext. 304.

State Treasurer Chiang announces CalABLE administrator Article by Orange County Breeze August 9th, 2018

Photo of State Treasurer John Chiang side by side with the California State Treasurer Seal. Photo of State Treasurer John Chiang side by side with the California State Treasurer Seal. Sacramento, CA – California State Treasurer John Chiang announced the selection of TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) to administer the California Achieving a Better Life Experience (CalABLE) Program.

"TFI's selection means we're one step closer to turning on CalABLE's 'Open for Business' sign," said State Treasurer John Chiang. "TFI's expertise and oversight are a welcome help in reaching Californian's with disabilities and their families, who will soon be able to save up to $15,000 a year, tax free, without jeopardizing their federal and state assistance."

Currently, savings for individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or other public benefits have a $2,000 resource limit. Once a beneficiary is determined to have more than this $2,000, their benefits may be suspended until savings fall below that level. CalABLE - the state's version of the federal ABLE Act - allows people with disabilities to establish a tax-advantaged savings account in which they can save up to $15,000 per year, up to a total of $100,000, without jeopardizing their ability to continue to receive existing public benefits. Earnings into CalABLE accounts are not subject to federal income tax or California state income tax, so long as the earnings are spent on a broad range of disability related expenses.

"We are excited to see the CalABLE program move forward in providing people with disabilities the opportunity to build their futures," added Christina Mills, executive director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers. "There are very few ways for people in our community to save money without penalties. Opening a CalABLE account will be a game-changer for individuals with disabilities, and parents of children with disabilities, who have been limited by programs and services that prevent us from saving and becoming more independent."

TFI was selected to manage the new CalABLE program by a vote on Tuesday by the CalABLE Act Board, based on the firm's low costs, proposed investment portfolio that offered simple choices for enrollees with clear preferences, and the simplicity of its program for those new to such a savings program.
TFI is a national leader in providing program management services for college savings plans and currently serves as the manager for California's successful ScholarShare 529 college savings program.

Any individual whose disability occurred before age 26 is eligible to open a CalABLE account so long as they receive benefits based on disability, such as SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance, or if they have disability certification (including a copy of a diagnosis signed by a physician).

CalABLE participants can:

• Make automatic contributions from a bank account,
• Invite family and friends to contribute directly to an account,
• Deposit online or by check, and
• Select from easy to understand investment options.

Chiang added, "No one should have to fear losing their disability benefits because they decided to save wisely and invest in their future. This program will help ensure no Californian with a disability will be penalized for thinking ahead."

CalABLE will launch by the end of 2018.

For more information about CalABLE visit https://www.treasurer.ca.gov/able/resources/factsheets/factsheet-en-us.pdf or call 916-653-1728.

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View the original article at www.oc-breeze.com.

The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) Names New Executive Director Proven Leader Christina Mills Announced May 8th, 2018

Sacramento, CA – After a statewide search the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) Board of Directors has selected Christina Mills as its new Executive Director. A lifelong disability rights advocate, Mills is a champion for families and youth with disabilities across California who desire to lead full, productive lives on their own terms.

"Christina has demonstrated the ability to lead, and to ensure that CFILC continues its history of building the capacity of Independent Living Centers," said Board Chair Ana Acton. "She'll work in collaboration with allies to create positive public policy changes that benefit people with disabilities of all ages."

Mills joined CFILC in 2006 as the Statewide Community Organizer and has served as Deputy Director since 2010. She brings broad professional and personal experience, both as a seasoned and skillful advocate, as person with a disability, and as a parent of children with disabilities.

"Having lived on SSI benefits for more than half of my life, I know how challenging it can be to achieve autonomy and self-sufficiency," said Mills, 40. "We have a great deal of work to do in our society to shift the narrative about disability from one of pity and tragedy to something more reflective our inherent power, value and resilience.

My vision is to raise the visibility of California's thirty-nine million disabled youth, adults and seniors and create opportunities in places where our community is traditionally marginalized."

In her new role as Executive Director, Mills will bring intergenerational and intersectionality opportunities forward in Independent Living and Disability Rights, while working in solidarity with other social justice organizations who value human diversity.

Born in San Diego, Mills began her post-secondary education while simultaneously pursuing a career in disability rights. In 1998, she served as a field coordinator for The Dayle McIntosh Center located in Orange County. She later worked for San Diego-based Access to Independence for six years.

In 2001, Mills was appointed by then Governor Gray Davis to the Sate Independent Living Council. As a young professional she was active in several leadership activities including National Council on Disability, Youth Advisory Committee Chair, Youth Consultant for the National Family Voices and Kids as Self Advocates (KASA) project.

She became a Student Delegate for the California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities in 1995, and has been a supporter of the program ever since. Christina's passion for offering youth leadership opportunities for others led her to become Co-founder of CFILC's youth program, YO! Disabled and Proud.

In 2008, she was awarded the National Council on Independent Living Region IX Advocate of the Year. In 2011, she received the California Coalition for Youth Sue Mathewson Mentoring Award and was inducted into the National Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame in 2016.

Christina serves on the board of the Disability Rights Education Defense Fund (DREDF and is a State Board of Education Appointee to the Special Education Advisory Commission of California.

Christina proudly identifies as disabled. Her favorite poem written by Laura Hersey is, "You Get Proud By Practicing." Christina is a mother of two children. Her young daughter Olivia passed away in 2016. Christina's husband and son keep her busy with gardening, traveling when she's not working or volunteering.

Bay Area Residents Gather for a Speech App Demonstration CPUC, Senator Beall, and Partners Host Open House for iPad Loan Program April 10th, 2017

San Francisco, CA – SAN FRANCISCO, April 7, 2017 - The Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (SVILC) opened its doors in San Jose to host a celebration together with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose), the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) to provide demonstrations of Voice Options, which offers iPads with speech applications at no-cost to people with speech disabilities.

Voice Options is a pilot program of the CPUC associated with Assembly Bill 136 (Beall, 2011) and administrated by CFILC. The program loans iPads with speech applications to Californians who are not able to speak, or who have difficulty speaking, so they can determine if using an iPad increases their ability to communicate.

"As an Assemblymember in 2011, I authored AB 136 because I wanted to help bring Speech Generating Devices to people with speech disabilities," said Senator Beall. "I am very happy to see that the Voice Options program is up and running and providing assistance to those who participate. I hope that San Jose consumers will visit the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center for an iPad demonstration to see if using the device, along with a speech app, increases their ability to communicate."

"This is a very important program because of the potential benefits it brings to those who participate," said CPUC Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen, who is assigned to the CPUC's Voice Options proceeding. "Using an iPad with a speech application may make being understood easier and allow people with speech language disabilities to speak independently. I look forward to the program's continued success."

"We are excited to host the new Voice Options communications pilot in Santa Clara County," said Sheri Burns, Executive Director of SVILC. "The ability for an individual with limited or no speech to try out one or more of these easy-to-use apps on an iPad, then borrow the iPad long-term is wonderful! The Voice Options program is opening up new doors and connections for lots of people in California."

Individuals may borrow an iPad at no cost for up to 30 days to determine if using a speech app increases their ability to communicate. If the user determines a speech app on the iPad works well for them, they may apply for a long-term loan of the device and their favorite speech app. Long-term loans require a verification of disability status by a designated professional.

All program iPads are equipped with the following 5 speech apps: Go Talk NOW Plus; LAMP words for Life; Predictable; Proloquo4Text; and TouchChat.

Individuals can participate in this program by visiting one of 10 Demonstration Centers operated by CFILC in the following cities: Anaheim, Grass Valley, Los Angeles, Redding, Sacramento, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Jose, and Santa Ana, or by visiting http://VoiceOptions.org, or calling toll-free (800) 390-2699, or emailing info@voiceoptions.org.

For more information about the CFILC, please visit http://cfilc.org.
For more information about the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.

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Media Contacts:
Terrie Prosper, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), 415.703.1366, news@cpuc.ca.gov
Kyla Aquino Irving, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) 916.995.1658, kyla@cfilc.org

CFILC & CPUC Launches the Voice Options Pilot Program CPUC pilot program loans iPads to those with speech disabilities to aid in communication. January 11th, 2017

San Francisco, CA – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today launched an 18-month pilot speech technology program called Voice Options, which will offer iPads with speech applications to people with speech disabilities for short- and long-term loan through 10 demonstration centers throughout the state.

Using an iPad with a speech application may make being understood easier and allow people with speech language disabilities to speak independently. Speech applications designed for iPads will allow users to control an alternative voice. Users enter what they want to say on the iPad, and it is voiced through speakers.

Californians who are not able to speak or have difficulty speaking may borrow iPads with speech applications to determine if using an iPad increases their ability to communicate. All program iPads are equipped with the following speech apps: Go Talk NOW Plus, LAMP words for Life, Predictable, Proloquo4Text, and TouchChat. Individuals may borrow an iPad for up to 30 days to determine if using a speech app increases their ability to communicate. If the user determines a speech app on the iPad works well for them, they may apply for a long-term loan of the device and their favorite speech app. Long-term loans require a verification of disability status by a designated professional.

The pilot program is associated with the passage of Assembly Bill 136 (Beall, 2011). It is administrated by the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and funded through the CPUC's Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program.

Individuals can participate in this program by visiting one of 10 Demonstration Centers operated by the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers in the following cities: Anaheim, Grass Valley, Los Angeles, Redding, Sacramento, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Jose, and Santa Ana, or by visiting http://VoiceOptions.org, or calling toll-free (800) 390-2699, or emailing info@voiceoptions.org.

For more information about the Voice Options, please visit http://voiceoptions.org.
For more information about the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.

Assistive Technology Loans Now Available in California Low-interest Loan Program Available for People with Disabilities July 11th, 2016

Sacramento – Sacramento CA (July 11, 2016) The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) is announcing the launch and Alternative Finance Program for Assistive Technology (AT) called the FreedomTech Financial Loan Program which will provide low interest loans to Californians with disabilities and their families who are interested in purchasing Assistive Technology.

"Health insurance companies are covering less and less assistive technology and it is difficult to afford to buy, being able to get a loan offers another option to get access to critical technology that we need to live independently" explained Christina Mills, Deputy Director of CFILC.

Financial loans may be used to purchase any device, item, or product that makes life easier for a person living with a disability or age related limitations. Wheelchairs, hearing aids, low vision aids, and computers etc. Loans may also be used in part to support the purchase of items for home and vehicle modifications.

Individuals can apply to borrow $500 - $15,000 with loan terms of up to 5 years. There are credit and income guidelines and borrowers must demonstrate the ability to repay the loan, to learn more visit http://freedomtech.org

"CFILC is excited to provide a low-interest option to Californians with disabilities and their families. Whether someone wants to purchase a laptop for college, hand controls to modify a van, pay the share of cost for a new power-chair, buy hearing aids or build a ramp to their front porch, they can apply for a loan through our FreedomTech Loan program" said Teresa Favuzzi, Executive Director of CFILC.

In addition to Assistive Technology loans, FreedomTech also provides Financial Literacy and credit building resources and assistance.


Funding for the FreedomTech Loan Program was established by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration.


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The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers is a non-profit advocacy organization whose mission is to increase access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities by building the capacity of Independent Living Centers.

CRIL Announces New Executive Director Ron Halog has been hired to serve as CRIL's next Executive Director July 16th, 2015

Hayward, CA – The Board of Directors of Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL) is very pleased to announce that Ron Halog has been hired to serve as CRIL's next Executive Director. He will begin his tenure at CRIL on August 24, 2015.

Ron's philosophy of empowerment and independence for individuals with disabilities has always resonated throughout the organizations and programs he has influenced. He comes to CRIL from Ala Costa Center, where he has been executive director for the past 10 years. As the Executive Director of Ala Costa Centers, Ron was able to expand the organization both in service delivery and financial security. Ron's leadership has resulted in Ala Costa receiving recognition for quality services from Parents Press (3 years in a row) and winning the 2011 Bernie Graff Award from the Alameda County Developmental Disabilities Council. In 2010, Ron was awarded a 2 year fellowship from LeaderSpring, an organization that supports executive directors in the non-profit sector. In addition, Ron chaired the Providers Vendors Advisory Committee (PVAC) last year and is currently on the Executive Team of the Alameda County Developmental Disabilities Council 2015. He is also is a member of the Functional Assessment Service Team (FAST) for Alameda County. Ron's most recently developed service is the Ala Costa Adult Transition (ACAT) program for the Berkeley Unified School District. He negotiated a contract to provide transitional services in the community, instead of in classrooms, for high school adults (ages 18 - 22) with developmental disabilities.

Ron has served in the disability non-profit sector for over 25 years. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Recreation (with a focus in Therapeutic Recreation and Recreation Management) from California State University Long Beach. Upon graduation, Ron accepted the Recreation Supervisor position in the Long Beach office of Ability First. There, he ran an after-school program for participants ages 5 - 22 with developmental disabilities and a weekly evening program for adults. Within 3 years, he was promoted to Director of the Long Beach office. Throughout Ron's successful career in the non-profit sector, he has worked with organizations such as PARCA, Easter Seals Bay Area, and Mt. Diablo Vocation Services, in addition to Ala Costa Centers.

As a native of CRIL's service area, Ron shares that he is "thrilled to be part of a dynamic team of people who make a difference in so many lives. Since the signing of the ADA, 25 years ago, there have been great strides in accessibility and services for people with disabilities. But there continue to be barriers that, as a community, we must overcome. We must all remember that disability rights are civil rights." As the new Executive Director of CRIL, Ron will strive to continue CRIL's 35 year legacy of quality services and advocacy focused on addressing the unmet needs in our community. Ron states, "I embrace the opportunity to support all of the people associated with CRIL. I am honored to share my 30 years of experience in the disability field."

Agreement Between BART and Disability Advocates February 27th, 2015

Today the BART Board voted to approve an agreement between BART and disability advocates to address concerns raised by disability organizations regarding the floor plan for BART’s Fleet of the Future. The Fleet of the Future is the name used by BART for the program to replace BART’s aging fleet, and increase the size of the fleet to relieve crowding on the system. The first new cars are slated to go into service in Fall 2016. This agreement was between BART and the following three disability advocacy organizations: the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL), the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco (ILRCSF), and two individuals: Nikki Brown-Booker and Reba Landry. These organizations and individuals have been represented by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) – a nonprofit legal center - in reaching a compromise agreement with BART. Disability Rights California also participated in the negotiations.

The agreement changes the floor plan on the new train cars to consolidate all wheelchair zones at the middle door of each new train car, which will allow passengers with more than one wheelchair user in their group to be closer together when they ride BART. Under the plan, BART also agrees to remove all floor-to-ceiling poles in the middle door area to maximize accessible paths.

The new plan retains tripod poles at end doors for semi-ambulatory people with disabilities, senior citizens, and others who need extra stability as the train accelerates and decelerates. There will be signage on the outside of the trains showing which doors have parking areas for people who use wheelchairs, and which doors have bicycle parking. Under the agreement, BART and the disability organizations will work together to inform passengers with disabilities about the new floor plan, pictured below.

New accessible BART train car layout

The compromise agreement keeps the same number of seats, wheelchair areas, and bike areas as the floor plan approved by the BART Board in June 2014, and still maintains an almost 50% increase in priority seating for seniors and people with disabilities (shown in green above). Blind customers will always find priority seating immediately to their left as they enter the car.

The revised plan was endorsed by the BART Accessibility Task Force (BATF), BART’s advisory group representing people with disabilities, last month. Alan Smith, BATF Chair, said “the new plan provides diverse amenities to meet diverse needs within the disability community. People with some types of disabilities who need something stable to hold onto when the train accelerates or decelerates will find tripod poles at the end doors of each car, while people with other types of disabilities who prefer a wide open accessible path will find that at the middle doors.”

“BART takes pride in enhancing mobility for people with disabilities, and we are pleased to approve this agreement with DRA,” said BART Board President Tom Blalock. “This agreement paves the way for arrival of the first ten pilot cars to confirm the reliability and safety of the new cars this fall.”

Nikki Brown-Booker, a wheelchair-user who rides BART several times a week said, “I am looking forward to the new BART cars and relieved to know that I can continue to rely on BART to get where I need and want to go. I also look forward to being able to ride together with other wheelchair-users when we travel together.”

Sheri Burns, Executive Director of CRIL stated, “We are pleased that BART has listened to the concerns of the disability community and worked with us to negotiate a solution that did not require us to go to court to enforce the rights of people with disabilities.”

DRA staff attorney Rebecca Williford said, “This compromise marks an historic moment and a win for the local disability community, many of whom rely exclusively on public transportation. BART has done the right thing in working out a compromise to ensure that this access continues.”

CONTACTS
Rebecca Williford
Disability Rights Advocates
(510) 606-0764
rwilliford@dralegal.org
www.dralegal.org

Alicia Trost
BART Communications Department Manager
(510) 464-6154

Forum to Identify New Opportunities for Bringing Affordable Home Broadband to Los Angeles LA County is least connected urban region in California; Comcast-TWC merger in the spotlight September 9th, 2014

Los Angeles, CA – September 8, 2014 – The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) and partners California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, Families in Schools and Youth Policy Institute are hosting a “Affordable Broadband for All” Forum focused on improving affordable broadband access for low-income Californians, particularly students and People With Disabilities. More than 50 broadband advocates, including Los Angeles city and education leaders, community-based organizations and Internet service providers, are meeting in Los Angeles. Among the topics to be discussed is the Comcast proposal to merge with Time Warner Cable.

Speakers include Ron Chandler, Chief Information Officer, Los Angeles Unified School District; Dixon Slingerland, Executive Director, Youth Policy Institute; Oscar Cruz, President and CEO, Families in Schools; Jo Black, Executive Director, Independent Living Resource Center Santa Barbara; Louis Herrera, Technology Chair, California Council for the Blind; Henry Contreras, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, Monica Ratliff, Board Member, LAUSD; Veronica Melvin, President and CEO, LA’s Promise; and Carolina Hernandez, Program Director, Families in Schools.

EVENT DETAILS
When: 1:30-4:30 PM Thursday, September 11, 2014
Where: California Community Foundation
The Joan Palevsky Center for the Future of Los Angeles
281 S. Figueroa St., Suite 100
Los Angeles, California 90012

Los Angeles County is the least connected urban region in the state, and CETF and its partners recognize that it is not possible to close the Digital Divide in California or the nation without substantial improvement in getting more Southern California households connected to high-speed Internet. California and National Broadband Plan goals are for 80% home adoption by 2017 and 90% by 2020. (California is currently at 75%, Los Angeles County at 76% but polling shows little improvement in the past three years).

Comcast has said if its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable and swap of Charter customers is approved, it will extend its affordable broadband program geared for families with K-12 students, Internet Essentials, to new customers in Southern California. The co-sponsors of the forum are calling on Comcast to improve the implementation of Internet Essentials and expand the program to include all low-income households, including People With Disabilities and low-income seniors.


  • If the Comcast merger is approved as proposed, the company’s service area will include 87% of all California students on free-or-reduced lunch. Among LAUSD students, 76% qualify for free-or-reduced lunch. That means 500,000 students will become eligible for Comcast Internet Essentials $9.95 a month Internet service.

  • Internet service at home results in better student achievement and more engaged parents. The 2014 Field Poll found that parents who have a broadband connection other than a smartphone at home were highly likely to go online at home to help their children learn (84%) and to obtain information about their children’s homework and grades from the school website (75%). (Source: 2014 Field Research Corporation, “Updating the Digital Divide in California”)

  • Four in 10 Californians with disabilities do not have access to high-speed Internet at home. With 60 percent of working-age persons with disabilities unemployed or underemployed, affordable universal access to broadband at home is crucial. Those without high-speed Internet access at home must deal with an obstacle course to reach public-use computers, which includes transportation barriers, lack of accessible software options and inaccessible locations. (Source: 2014 Field Research Corporation, “Updating the Digital Divide in California”)


  • “We urgently need federal and state regulators and policymakers to implement strategies to expand broadband access to all low-income residents. Using the merger review process is the most prudent and timely path towards meeting California and National Broadband Plan goal of 90 percent home broadband adoption by 2020,” CETF President and CEO Sunne Wright McPeak said.

    “People with many types of disabilities face all kinds of barriers to accessing the Internet from home: It’s not only the high cost of broadband on fixed incomes, but also the lack of affordable speed and data plans that allow for the downloading of textbooks or the use of video relay services,” CFILC Executive Director Teresa Favuzzi said. She added, “Ultimately, broadband access is essential to participate in the community, from registering to vote, to applying for a job, to reordering medication prescriptions to connecting with a child’s teacher. People with Disabilities are currently not getting equal access to broadband and that must change.”

Sacramento Broadband Forum to Urge New Policies for Moving More Californians into the Digital Age California Emerging Technology Fund and California Foundation for Independent Living Center host forum on providing affordable accessible broadband to poor Californians, seniors, People with Disabilities July 22nd, 2014

San Francisco and Sacramento, CA – August 7, 2014 – The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) and California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) today are hosting a forum to identify new policies and strategies to get more Californians connected to broadband at home. More than 80 broadband advocates, including state and local officials, educators, community-based organizations and Internet service providers, are meeting in Sacramento.

EVENT DETAILS
When: 3pm - 5pm
Where: Citizen Hotel, 926 J St. Sacramento, CA 95814 Quorum Room 2nd floor
Who: Mark DiCamillo of The Field Poll will present the new findings of the Annual Broadband Adoption Survey and then former Assemblyman and CETF Board Member Lloyd Levine will moderate a panel on how to improve broadband adoption. Panelists include:
Teresa Favuzzi, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
Ruthmary Crandler, Education Support Services
Paul Goodman, Greenlining Institute
Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Mayor City of Winters


The forum was organized after a Broadband Adoption survey released last month by the Field Research Corporation, in partnership with CETF, found one in four Californians does not have a high-speed Internet connection at home. Several participants in the Sacramento forum are calling on the Federal Communications Commission and state regulators to use the mandated review process of recently announced mergers to require Internet service providers to improve and expand affordable broadband offers, including setting subscriber goals and accountability measures to reach acceptable performance levels. Also, current affordable plans do not include People with Disabilities, seniors, or low-income households without school children.

“We urgently need federal and state regulators and policymakers to implement strategies to expand broadband access to all poor residents. Using the merger review process is the most prudent and timely path toward meeting the California and National Broadband Plan goals of 90 percent home broadband adoption by 2020,” CETF President and CEO Sunne Wright McPeak said.

The July 2014 Field Poll found several target populations are far below the state average of 75% adoption:
• Not a high school graduate (32%)
• Spanish-speaking Latinos (46%) All Latinos (63%)
• Seniors 65 or older (47%)
• Household income of less than $20,000 (53%)
• People with disabilities (59%)

Four in 10 Californians with disabilities do not have access to high-speed Internet at home, according to the survey. With 60 percent of working-age persons with disabilities unemployed or underemployed, affordable universal access to broadband at home is crucial. Those without high-speed Internet access at home must deal with an obstacle course to reach public-use computers, which includes transportation barriers, lack of accessible software options and inaccessible locations.

“People with many types of disabilities face all kinds of barriers to accessing the Internet from home: It’s not only the high cost of broadband on fixed incomes, but also the lack of affordable speed and data plans that allow for the downloading of textbooks or the use of mobile video relay services,” CFILC Executive Director Teresa Favuzzi said. She added, “Ultimately, broadband access is essential to participate in the community, from registering to vote, to applying for a job, to reordering medication prescriptions to connecting with a child’s teacher. People with Disabilities are currently not getting equal access to broadband and that must change.”

About California Emerging Technology Fund
The mission of CETF is to close the Digital Divide in California by breaking down barriers to high-speed Internet access at home through its Get Connected! campaigns and other initiatives. The goal is to reach 98% of all residences with broadband infrastructure and to achieve 80% home adoption by 2017. This statewide goal can only be accomplished if the following specific hard-to-reach target communities achieve at least a 70% adoption rate: low-income populations, Latino households, rural communities, and people with disabilities. For more information, please visit www.cetfund.org and www.getconnectedtoday.com.

About California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
The mission of CFILC is to increase access and equal opportunity for People with Disabilities by building the capacity of Independent Living Centers. For more information, visit www.cfilc.org.

CFILC Executive Director Takes on LTSS Leadership Role Executive Director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers Takes Leadership Role in Newly Established California Long-Term Services and Supports Advisory Committee April 21st, 2014

Sacramento – The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers is proud to announce that Executive Director Teresa Favuzzi was chosen to co-chair California’s Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Advisory Committee. Ms. Favuzzi will be leading this important state committee with her colleague Derrell Kelch, Executive Director of the California Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

The California Health and Human Services Agency and Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) have collaborated to establish this LTSS Advisory Committee to provide input on the Money Follows the Person Demonstration, called California Community Transitions (CCT), redesign the California LTSS infrastructure for Medi-Cal members and strengthen the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) initiative, which serves all individuals in need of LTSS regardless of age, disability or income source.

“The mission of the committee is to transform California’s LTSS systems to ensure culturally relevant universal access,” said Ms. Favuzzi. “I am excited to have this opportunity to help shape California’s programs that are in alignment with the committee’s vision of making community living an option for all.”

The LTSS Advisory Committee membership includes a cross-section of consumer representatives and designated representatives from a broad range of LTSS providers, including ADRCs, Area Agencies on Aging, Independent Living Centers, CCT lead organizations, regional centers, mental health providers, health plans, veterans services, public authorities, foundations, Community-Based Adult Services providers, Multipurpose Senior Services Program providers, housing representatives and associations and representatives from the California Departments of Aging, Developmental Services, Housing and Community Development, Rehabilitation, Social Services and Veterans Affairs.

“I am pleased with all of the expertise and ground level home- and community-based service providers we have at the table. We expect to actively engage this advisory committee to drive the changing LTSS environment in the state,” said John Shen, Chief of DHCS’ Long-Term Care Division. “As DHCS redesigns LTSS to comply with new federal regulations and to integrate LTSS into managed care, we have an opportunity to build programs and provide services leveraging this group of advisors to guide policies and outcomes. We hope to accomplish the implementation of an innovative LTSS delivery system that will meet the needs of all the frail, elderly, disabled, vulnerable and underserved populations in California."

California Emerging Technology Fund Names Damary Bustos 2014 Broadband Champion Bay Area Youth Disability Rights Leader Acts to Close the Digital Divide March 26th, 2014

Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA – The California Emerging Technology Fund is pleased to announce Youth Disability Rights Activist Damary Bustos is a 2014 Broadband Champion. Fifteen individuals are being recognized for their groundbreaking work and strong commitment to close the Digital Divide.
The Champions were selected in consultation with dozens of broadband leaders, community advocates and state and local policymakers. The 15 individuals are featured in the California Emerging Technology Fund 2013-2014 Annual Report and will be recognized at events in San Francisco on March 27 and in Pasadena on May 19.

"We congratulate Damary and all of the Broadband Champions. From Parlier to the Bay Area, from Hollywood to Humboldt, they are representatives of trailblazers who work throughout California and beyond to point the way for policymakers to understand the opportunities afforded by information technology and high-speed Internet access," said CETF President and CEO Sunne Wright McPeak. "The Champions also share the moral imperative not to leave anyone behind or offline. Each of these individuals inspires us to act to close the Digital Divide," she said. Photo of Damary Bustos and the full list of recipients are available on request.

Damary Bustos: Finding Her Voice Through Technology
Born with cerebral palsy, Damary Bustos was told she would never walk or talk well enough to be clearly understood. One day she faced a crisis: The day before a Disability History Week presentation at a local high school, her translator backed out. Undeterred, she downloaded the app Verbally on her father?s iPad, which allowed her to click ?speak? and the computer recited the presentation aloud. The students thought it was so cool--and Damary?s life changed. ?Damary is a fantastic role model for youth, her eagerness to try new things and take on new challenges makes her a successful leader,? said Teresa Favuzzi, Executive Director of California Foundation for Independent Living Centers.
Damary?s ability to communicate verbally and online has opened up her social world and led her to college. In addition, she has become a leader at Community Resources for Independent Living?s Disability Action Network for Youth and the California Foundation for Independent Living Center?s Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud program where she organizes youth with disabilities to engage in the Disability Community through technology. Damary?s story underscores how access to broadband communication can open up new worlds and enable a remarkable young woman to be heard.

CFILC Receives $25,000 Grant from S.L. Gimbel Foundation-Community Foundation for YO! California Foundation for Independent Living Centers Receives $25,000 Grant from S.L. Gimbel Foundation-Community Foundation for Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud March 6th, 2014

Sacramento – The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) is proud to announce that it has received a $25,000 grant from The S.L. Gimbel Foundation, a component fund at The Community Foundation.

CFILC will use the grant for our Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud (YO!) program, which is designed to Connect, Educate and Organize youth with disabilities across California. YO! celebrated its fifth year this month engaging youth in community service, leadership and civic engagement. YO! offers year-long volunteer opportunities for youth with disabilities in local Independent Living Centers. Youth work on two public education campaigns that promote the teaching of Disability History in Schools and bullying prevention.

Penelope DeMeerleer, Co-Chair of the YO! Youth Advisory Council said that “Being a part of YO! continues to play a HUGE part in my life, especially in my earlier years of young adulthood. YO! and our community has made me a better leader, a friend, a public speaker, advocate, and has given me the amazing opportunity to meet other members. Without YO! I wouldn't know about disability history, culture, community, advocacy and much, MUCH more!! YO! means Community!!

The S.L. Gimbel Foundation Funding specifically supports YO! the volunteerism of 12 to 20 youth with disabilities aged 16 to 28, as they develop hard and soft skills in the workplace, and the engagement of over 1500 youth statewide. As YO! member Emily Flynn puts it “YO! means never having to stand alone. YO! To me is all about young people supporting each other, working with each other, making a difference for those youth with disabilities, and making a better future for those who come after us.”

The S.L. Gimbel Foundation joined Friends of Californians with Disabilities, Southern California Edison, The Safeway Foundation, U.S. Bank, the State Independent Living Council and the Department of Rehabilitation in supporting Youth Organizing! Disabled & Proud. The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers is honored to receive this grant and want to thank The S.L. Gimbel Foundation for their generosity and recognition of this highly valued program.

The mission of the California Foundation for Independent Living Center is the Increase Access and Equal Opportunity for People with Disabilities by Building the Capacity of Independent Living Centers. For more information visit our websites at www.cfilc.org www.yodisabledproud.org or call 916-325-1690

"Keep the Wheels Rolling Fund" Receives Grant from Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers Receives $3,000 Grant from Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for the "Keep The Wheels Rolling Fund" March 5th, 2014

Sacramento – The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers is proud to announce that it has received a $3,000 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The award was one of 102 grants totaling over $500,000 awarded by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access, and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers. Created by the late Dana Reeve, the program has awarded 2,307 grants totaling over $17 million since 1999.

The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers will use the grant for our Keep the Wheels Rolling Repair Fund, which is designed to support Reuse Centers throughout California by providing funds for the repair and reutilization of donated wheelchairs and scooters. Small grants will be given to these organizations to repair donated wheelchairs and scooters which will then be available for open-ended loans to community members with disabilities that need them. Community members like Maria:

Maria is a mother and co-founder of the Low-Income Self-Help Center in the Bay Area. She is described by her colleagues as having an indomitable spirit; truly epitomizing the heart and soul of their group. Community members depend on her in different ways—she is the building maven, she shops and cooks for all of the center’s events, and does outreach, organizing and fundraising.

She traverses all over the city selling raffle tickets and candy for different causes. And, she does all of this while experiencing significant leg pain. Maria eventually found a used scooter to help her get around the city. Unfortunately, one day Maria was hit in a crosswalk and her scooter was completely demolished. Luckily, the Center for Independent Living (CIL) applied to our repair fund and was able to give Maria another refurbished scooter for free.

Maria’s group wrote a note of thanks to the AT Repair fund and CIL, stating: “We are all thankful for this gift of a scooter for Maria because it allows her to continue to get around and do the important work that she does for the community. You have given her back her legs. It is so important that we all care for one another in this world. The work you do is very important.”

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation have joined alongside Anthem Blue Cross, Clearing House Community Development Financial Institution and Batteries Plus Bulbs in financially supporting the Keep the Wheels Rolling Repair Fund. The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers is honored to receive this grant and want to thank the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for their generosity and recognition of this highly needed project.

“In the pursuit to achieve greater independence for individuals living with paralysis, the Reeve Foundation is honored to provide Quality of Life grants to organizations that support the paralysis community nationwide,” said Niketa Sheth, Senior Vice President of Quality of Life, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “Each organization selected for a grant provides stellar curriculum or service that empowers, educates and reinvigorates people living with paralysis. We are proud to raise awareness and fund these pioneering programs that aim to improve the freedom and well-being of our community.”

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life grants program was conceived by the late Dana Reeve to address the myriad needs of children and adults with paralysis and other mobility impairments and their families. Grants support critical life-enhancing and life-changing initiatives that improve physical and emotional health and increase independence. Funded projects offer a diversity of services and approaches: improving access; providing education and job training; sponsoring organized sporting activities; and much more. Quality of Life grants are funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Award #U59DD000838).

About the Reeve Foundation

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. We meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB’s Charity Seal. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) is a program of the Reeve Foundation, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Award No. U59DD000838. For more information, please visit our website at www.ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-539-7309.

The mission of the California Foundation for Independent Living Center is the Increase Access and Equal Opportunity for People with Disabilities by Building the Capacity of Independent Living Centers. For more information visit our website at www.cfilc.org or call 916-325-1690

APPLY TODAY! Governor Seeks Disability Representatives for Workgroups California Governor's Office of Emergency Services Seeks Disability Representatives for Emergency Function Workgroups December 4th, 2013

Dear Community Partners:

I am pleased to announce the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) application process to integrate disability representatives on Emergency Function (EF) workgroups. Each EF is led by a State Agency and is designed to bring together discipline specific stakeholders to collaborate and support all phases of emergency management: prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. Therefore, we are expanding the California EF workgroups to include representatives from the disability communities.

As background, Senate Bill 1451 (Kehoe, Chapter 600, Statutes of 2006) was enacted requiring the Cal OES Director to appoint representatives from the disability communities on the evacuation, sheltering, communication, recovery, volunteer and other pertinent Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) committees, as well as the SEMS Technical Working Group. Although most specialist committees have been dissolved over time due to the implementation of EF process, I embrace the purpose and intent of SB 1451 to include the expertise and experience of the disability communities. The bill requires that representatives should be, to the extent practicable, from the following groups:

1. People who are blind and/or have low vision
2. People with other sensory needs, such as deaf and hard of hearing
3. People with cognitive/intellectual disabilities
4. People with physical disabilities

Attached is the application to complete, as well as additional information on the EF?s. Please share this information with anyone who might be interested in applying. We would appreciate receiving applications no later than Friday, December 20, 2013, and plan to assign representation in January 2014. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

If you require more information or assistance in this matter, please contact Richard Devylder, Office for Access and Functional Needs at (916) 845-8981 or email at: richard.devylder@caloes.ca.gov

Sincerely,
MARK S. GHILARDUCCI
Director
Enclosures: Nomination Application


Download link for Letter: Community Letter Emergency Functions
Download link for Application: EF Disability Rep Application

California Secretary of State Honors CFILC California Secretary of State Honors California Foundation for Independent Living Centers for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of Voters with Disabilities. October 15th, 2013

Photo of California Secretary of State honors CFILC for Voting Advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities. Front: Ana Acton and Christina Mills. Back: Ted Jackson, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Teresa Favuzzi, and Dolores Tejada. Photo of California Secretary of State honors CFILC for Voting Advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities. Front: Ana Acton and Christina Mills. Back: Ted Jackson, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Teresa Favuzzi, and Dolores Tejada. Oakland and Sacramento – California Secretary of State Debra Bowen honored the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), with a National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Award for outstanding advocacy on behalf of voters with disabilities. .

The NASS Medallion Award allows individual Secretaries of State to recognize outstanding service and dedication to furthering the mission of the NASS within the states. "CFILC has been an extraordinary partner in working to make democracy equally accessible to voters with disabilities," said Secretary Bowen, California's chief elections official. "CFILC's tireless commitment to building an accessible elections process and organizing voter education, registration and voting opportunities for people with disabilities epitomizes the very heart of the NASS Medallion Award."

Secretary Bowen presented the award at CFILC's statewide Board of Directors meeting, held at the California Endowment offices in Oakland on Monday, October 14, 2013. Teresa Favuzzi, CFILC's Executive Director, has guided the organization's voting campaigns for over a decade, "Through our Disability Organizing Network (DOnetwork) Independent Living Centers have focused on building the Disability Vote, by increasing access to polling places and voting machines, and by organizing voter education forums, and motivating voters with disabilities to vote on Election Day."

Nationally 15.6 million people with disabilities reported voting in the November 2012 elections. Yet the voter turnout rate of people with disabilities was 5.7 percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities. Almost one-third of voters with disabilities reported difficulty in voting at a polling place in 2012, compared to 8.4% of voters without disabilities across the country. The most common problems reported were difficulty in reading or seeing the ballot, or understanding how to vote or use voting equipment. http://smlr.rutgers.edu/research-centers/disability-and-voter-turnout

CFILC's voting work is driven by the community organizing efforts of the Disability Organizing Network supporting forty Independent Living Center (ILC) staff and nearly 800 volunteers from across California who seek to build accessible communities through grassroots campaigns, www.DisabilityOrganizing.net. "In 2012 we increased voter registration and education opportunities for people with disabilities being served by ILC's. And we are planning to broaden the network?s voting campaign to increase overall disability community participation in the 2014 election,' remarked Ted Jackson, CFILC?s Statewide Organizer.

CFILC is an advocacy organization made up of 22 of the 28 ILC's in California and also supports the Assistive Technology Network (ATNetwork) and Y.O! (Youth Organized) Disabled & Proud. For more information about CFILC programs please visit www.CFILC.org.

New Partnership to Move People with Disabilities into the Digital Age California Emerging Technology Fund invests $260,000 in California Foundation for Independent Living Centers to provide discount home Internet, Digital Literacy training and low-cost computers. October 11th, 2013

San Francisco and Sacramento – The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) and California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) on Tuesday are launching a new statewide partnership to help improve the lives of Californians with Disabilities by providing access to affordable Internet service at home, low-cost computing devices and Digital Literacy training.

WHAT: CETF is announcing a 2-year, $260,000 grant to CFILC to launch Digital Access, an unprecedented initiative to connect people with disabilities and their families to affordable high-speed Internet at home and the tools they need to succeed in the Digital Age. Digital Access will engage 40 organizations statewide to help more than 2,100 people with disabilities and their families subscribe to discount broadband at home.

WHO: CETF President and CEO Sunne Wright McPeak and CFILC Executive Director Teresa Favuzzi will meet with Executive Directors of Independent Living Centers from around the state to describe the initiative. Highlights include: Independent Living Centers and Assistive Technology Network Device Lending Libraries will assist consumers to obtain affordable computing devices; and CFILC will identify and promote a network of computer labs and training sites that provide easy accessibility. People with disabilities will be available for interviews.

WHEN:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 11:30 A.M.

WHERE:
The California Endowment
Conference Center
1111 Broadway, 7th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607

WHY: The mission of CFILC is to increase access and equal opportunity for people with disabilities by building the capacity of Independent Living Centers. CETF provides leadership statewide to close the Digital Divide by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband to underserved communities. Slightly more than half of Californians with disabilities have access to high-speed Internet at home, according to recent polling. With 60 percent of working-age persons with disabilities unemployed or underemployed, affordable universal access to broadband at home is crucial. Those without high-speed Internet access at home must deal with an obstacle course to reach public-use computers, which includes transportation barriers, lack of accessible software options and inaccessible locations.