Your Chance to Speak Up: 2015 Public Forums for People with Disabilities

State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Public Forums to Identify the Concerns of People with Disabilities and their Families

During the week of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (signed on July 26th), the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities and many other state and non-profit agencies conduct a weeklong series of open forums to hear the concerns of people with disabilities and their families.

The forums are open for anyone to come in and speak; representatives of the sponsoring agencies will be there to listen. State policy makers and planners want to hear your concerns about current services, unmet needs, and suggestions for improving services and expanding opportunities.

Monday, July 27, 2015 | 3:45 – 5:45  PM

South Providence Library
441 Prairie Avenue
Providence

Hosted by Perspectives Corporation

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | 2 – 4 PM

Warwick Public Library
600 Sandy Lane
Warwick

Hosted by the Ocean State Center for Independent Living

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | 4 – 6 PM

Peace Dale Library
1057 Kingstown Rd
Peace Dale

Hosted by National Multiple Sclerosis Society RI Chapter

Wednesday, July 29, 2015 | 4 – 6  PM

Middletown Public Library
700 West Main Rd
Middletown

Hosted by Opportunities Unlimited For People With Differing Abilities

Thursday, July 30, 2015 | 1:30  – 3:30  PM

Zambarano Unit, Eleanor Slater Hospital
2090 Wallum Lake Rd
Pascoag

Hosted by Zambarano Unit, Eleanor Slater Hospital

Thursday, July 30, 2015 |  4 – 6  PM

Woonsocket Harris Public Library
303 Clinton St
Woonsocket

Hosted by RI Department of Health

Friday, July 31, 2015 | 2:45 – 4:45  PM

East Providence Public Library
41 Grove Ave
East Providence

Hosted by RI Statewide Independent Living Council and National Federation of the Blind of RI


Additional information from the governor’s Commission on Disabilities about attending the Forum:

Remarks can be made in person during the forums, faxed to 401-462-0106, e-mailed to GCD.Disabilities@gcd.ri.gov, or mailed by August 8th to:

Governor’s Commission on Disabilities
John O’ Pastore Center
41 Cherry Dale Court
Cranston, RI 02920

CART Recorders (real-time captioning) and assistive listening devices will be at all sites, courtesy of the Office of Rehabilitation Services/Assistive Technology Access Partnership. The RI Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will provide sign language interpreters for each forum.

To request information or accommodation, please call 401-462-0100 or 401-462-0101(tty) in advance; arrangements will be provided at no cost. Language interpreting is available with the Deptartment of Human Serivces and requests can be made to 401-462-2130 in advance.

When making the ADA reservation with RIde to get to and from the public forum, tell the RIde reservationist (1-800-479-6902) that this trip is for the Governor’s Commission’s Public Forums in order to guarantee your return trip, after normal RIde hours of operation. ADA fare is still applicable.

When attending the forum, please use unscented personal care products. Mild fragrances can constitute a toxic exposure for a person with an environmental illness.

Three FREE Tax Assistance Programs Available in RI for People with Disabilities and Other Individuals

AARP Tax Aide

is offering FREE tax return preparation to people 50 & older and people with a disability. To find a site near you please call AARP Tax Aide at 1-888-687-2277 (Toll-free TTY: 1-877-434-7598) and ask for a Tax-Aide site near you or visit the AARP website.

VITA

Earn It! Keep It! Grow It! VITAIf your income is $53,000 or less you may be able to receive free tax preparation thru the VITA Program that has certified volunteers prepare taxes for low-moderate income people. To find a site near you please call the United Way Hotline by dialing 211 or visit the IRS Website.

My Free Taxes

If you prefer to prepare your own tax return or if your income is above the $53,000 VITA limit but under $60,000 you can use the United Way sponsored MyFreeTaxes tax preparation software on-line by clicking here.
If you have a question when using the MyFreeTaxes software please call United Way MyFreeTaxes helpline to get certified volunteers to assist you with tax law and input questions at 1-866-698-9436.

If your income is over $60,000 there is a fee for using the www.MyFreeTaxes.com software.


a photo of various IRS tax formsthe IRS logoLet your friends and family know about these three different FREE programs to assist people!

For more information or to download forms visit the IRS website.

Sherlock Center’s Supporting Meaningful Employment (SME) Training Series

Starting in January 2015, multiple offerings of the Sherlock Center’s “Supported Meaningful Employment Training Series” will be available in half-day and full-day sessions. The series is designed to help employment professionals (job developers, vocational specialists, job coaches, direct support professionals, etc.) to earn an ACRE Certificate.

Click here for more information.

OLMSTEAD Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary

The 15th Anniversary of Olmstead v. LC - 'The Olmstead ruling was a critical step forward for our nation' a quote from president Barack Obama

About Olmstead

The story of the Olmstead case begins with two women, Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, who had mental illness and developmental disabilities, and were voluntarily admitted to the psychiatric unit in the State-run Georgia Regional Hospital. Following the women’s medical treatment there, mental health professionals stated that each was ready to move to a community-based program. However, the women remained confined in the institution, each for several years after the initial treatment was concluded. They filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for release from the hospital.

The Decision

On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Court held that public entities must provide community-based services to persons with disabilities when:

  1. such services are appropriate;
  2. the affected persons do not oppose community-based treatment; and
  3. community-based services can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the public entity and the needs of others who are receiving disability services from the entity.

Olmstead Enforcement: Community Integration for Everyone

U.S. v. Rhode Island –1:14-cv-00175 – (D.R.I. 2014)

On April 8, 2014, the United States entered into the nation’s FIRST statewide settlement agreement vindicating the civil rights of individuals with disabilities who are unnecessarily segregated in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.

The settlement agreement with the State of Rhode Island resolves the Civil Rights Division’s January 6, 2014 findings, as part of an ADA Olmstead investigation, that the State’s day activity service system over-relies on segregated settings, including sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs, to the exclusion of integrated alternatives, such as supported employment and integrated day services.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island has entered the settlement agreement as a court-enforceable Consent Decree. Click this link to read more and to see a copy of any the following documents:

  • Consent Decree – filed April 8, 2014
  • Fact Sheet about Consent Decree
  • Order Approving Consent Decree – entered April 9, 2014
  • Complaint – filed April 8, 2014
  • Letter of Findings – filed January 6, 2014
  • Press Release on Landmark Settlement Agreement – April 8, 2014
  • Remarks by Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels at Press Conference Regarding Employment Services for Rhode Islanders with Disabilities – April 8, 2014
  • Faces of Olmstead – read several individuals’ stories
  • Related item: U.S. v. Rhode Island and City of Providence – 1:13-cv-00442 – (D.R.I. 2013)

Free Communications App for Emergencies

Show Me for Emergencies, an innovative, interactive app that will enhance communication between public health and emergency management personnel and volunteers and individuals with communication challenges across a variety of emergency settings.

The MA Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management has a free mobile application, Show Me for Emergencies, an innovative, interactive app that will enhance communication between public health and emergency management personnel and volunteers and individuals with communication challenges across a variety of emergency settings.
a promotional graphic for the Massachusetts Show Me for Emergencies App

The app expands upon the booklet, Show Me: A Communication Tool for Emergency Shelters, to include not only emergency shelter settings, but emergency dispensing sites, shelter in place, and evacuation scenarios as well. Within each scenario there are options to communicate information such as an individual’s preferred language, the type of emergency that’s happening, personal and medical needs, animated instructions for actions like boiling water or gathering items, etc. One of the features of the app is that once it’s downloaded to a user’s device, the app does not need internet connectivity in order to access its content.

a screenshot from the Show Me for Emergencies App showing a menu with different kinds of emergency information

screenshot from the Show Me for Emergencies app

a screenshot showing a menu in the Show Me for Emergencies App

screenshot from the Show Me for Emergencies app

Show Me for Emergencies is available to download from both the iTunes® and Google Play® stores. Click below:

download Show Me for Emergencies on the Apple App Storedownload the Show Me for Emergencies Android App on Google Play

 

For a copy of the Booklet “Show Me: A Communications Tool for Emergency Shelters” click here.