Take Action: How do you define community?

Here is an action alert from Amber Smock, Access Living’s Director of Advocacy

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Today, I want to urge you to take action on an issue that I wrote you about a couple of days ago. If you recall, the State of Illinois has a Statewide Transition Plan on how it will enforce the new Federal definition of “community.” The deadline for public input is January 3, and I want to provide you with extra information and an action link.

First, you can find the current proposed Statewide Transition Plan and the supporting documents at this link .

Second, the Arc of the United States prepared a good guide to the rule at this link .

Third, we at Access Living would like you, our advocates, to provide public input to the State using this easy link . Remember that you can edit or change the message to reflect your personal opinion---in fact, the more personal the better. We provided a few points we think are especially important.

Why is the definition of community important? Think about the difference between “institutional” living and “community” living. When Access Living thinks of “institution” we also think of the words “segregation,” “control by others,” “no decisions,” “disability only.” When we think of “community” we think of “consumer control,” “making our own choices,” “integration.” An institution may offer services in the community, but what do you come home to at night?

Consider this: an important part of community integration is the ability of the person with a disability to control his/her situation. For example, control over the rent or lease agreement is important. Control over privacy is important. Control over one’s own finances is important. Where this control does not exist, the person’s rights are taken over.

Please take the time to look at some of this material and provide input to the State of Illinois. Right now is when YOUR voice really matters!

Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy, Access Living