The Chicago Community Trust partnership fuels disability advocacy

Access Living equipped to increase housing, community options

Access Living is proud to announce an award from the Chicago Community Trust. As Illinois navigates another year of fiscal crisis, the award will fuel advocacy efforts that support the independence of people with disabilities. With the support of the Trust, Access Living will not only advocate to protect existing programs against State and Federal budget cuts, it will have the capacity to advocate for the expansion of resources that enable more people with disabilities to live in their own homes and engage in their communities.

“The Chicago Community Trust has been a strong supporter of the disability community through the years,” said Jason X. Gilmore, Manager of Foundation & Government Grants for Access Living. “Thousands of people with disabilities are impacted by the Trust’s financial support of non-profits, and their efforts to raise public awareness about barriers to independence that face people with disabilities.”

Around the country, disability advocates focus on the goal of giving people with disabilities the choice to live in their own homes instead segregated institutions. Historically, the lack of affordable, accessible housing, and health care systems that funnel people into nursing homes have been the most significant barriers that prevent people with disabilities from reaching that goal. With the $100,000 Award from the Trust, Access Living will have the tools to empower people with disabilities to navigate barriers to independence. Under the grant, Access Living will advocate to increase the stock of affordable, accessible, integrated housing in Illinois; utilize the existing stock of housing for people with disabilities; preserve community-based services, such as Home Care Workers and Personal Assistants, that enable people with disabilities to live in their own homes instead of institutions; and ensure that Illinois follows through on commitments that will give institutionalized people with disabilities the choice to live in the community. Together, these efforts will increase community-based resources and will give more people with disabilities housing and service options in the community instead of institutions.

“We are thrilled and honored to work with them again this year,” Gilmore said. “This partnership propels us forward in our efforts to equip people with disabilities to live independently.”

For 97 years, The Chicago Community Trust, the region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2011, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $130 million to nonprofit organizations. From strengthening schools to assisting local art programs, from building health centers to protecting the safety net for those hardest hit by the recession, the Trust continues to enhance the region.

Many thanks to the Chicago Community Trust. As we move forward, Access Living looks forward to a fruitful partnership.

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