Access Living Update Volume 23, May 19 - May 30, 2009

The Access Living Update
May 19, 2009

2009 Gala just two weeks away

On June 2, Access Living will host the 2009 Gala at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. Access Living hosts the Gala each year to raise funds for Access Living’s programs and services. At this year’s event, Access Living will present Lead On! Awards, named after disability rights pioneer Justin Dart, Jr., to Senator Ted Kennedy and Dr. Henry Betts. Known as the “Lion of the Senate,” Senator Kennedy’s leadership has helped open the door of opportunity for millions of people with disabilities. Dr. Betts has changed the face of rehabilitation medicine and was critical in the founding and success of Access Living. Tickets are $300 and $75. For information, contact Nandita Chatterjee at 312-640-2124,

Advocates urge Washington to include community supports
in health care reform

Last Wednesday, May 13, more than ten thousand people across the country, including many from Access Living and Chicago ADAPT, contacted their US Senators. The contacts were made as part of a National Outreach Day to urge national politicians to include long-term services and supports in healthcare reform and address the institutional bias in Medicaid. Current Medicaid policy often forces people with disabilities and seniors into institutions because community services are not available. Though community supports as outlined in the Community Choice Act would bring more equality and choice to the nation’s health care system, and are more cost effective than current options, they are not yet part of health care reform.

"Healthcare reform gives us the perfect opportunity to address these issues," said Dawn Russell of ADAPT, one of the groups that organized the National Outreach Day. "We are calling upon our nation's leaders to pass the Community Choice Act as part of healthcare reform and will do what it takes to make this happen."
The call-in day came two months after the introduction of the Community Choice Act, introduced in the U.S. House by Illinois’ Representative Danny Davis and in the Senate by Tom Harkin (IA). The Community Choice Act would establish a national program of community-based attendant services and supports for people with disabilities, regardless of age or disability.


Wednesday, May 20, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Support Group. This is a monthly peer group for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing. For more information, contact Devon at (312) 640-2163(TTY), (800) 714-6834 (voice), or

Thursday, May 21, 10 a.m. to 12 noon Housing Support Group. This monthly meeting offers people with disabilities in search of accessible, affordable housing an opportunity to network and gather resources. For information, contact Pearl at 312-640-2116 (voice),

Thursday, May 21, 12 noon to 2 p.m. Cross Disability Support Group. Monthly Peer Group open to people of all ages with any type of disability. Lunch will be served. If you’d like to participate, contact Carrie at 312-640-2103 (voice) or 312-640-2167 (TTY).

Thursday, May 21, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Deinstitutionalization Support Group. A Monthly group for nursing home residents with disabilities who would like to learn about opportunities to live in their own homes and communities. For information, contact Aimee Potter at 312-640-2160 (voice) or 312-640-2167 (TTY).

Friday, May 22, 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Empowered Fe Fes Spring Dinner Dance. Dance the night away with the Empowered Fe Fes, Access Living’s support group for young women with disabilities. Tickets (Dinner included) -- $10- youth; $20 – Adults. All profits support the Disability Pride Parade. For information, contact Kimberly at 312-640-2190 (voice),

Monday, May 25, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. LGBTQ Social Support Group. A monthly support group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or questioning individuals with disabilities to share experiences and build support. For information, contact Susan at 312-640-2121 voice or

Wednesday, May 27, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Equip for Equality Planning Our Priorities Meeting Equip for Equality is hosting a Public Meeting to solicit your input for the upcoming year. The meeting will be in the Landmark Room of the Silversmith Hotel, 10 South Wabash. RSVP to 800.537.2632, ext. 7346, TTY 800.610.2779

Thursday, May 28, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing, (DRACH). A monthly meeting of housing advocates who work to enforce and implement the housing rights of people with disabilities. For information, contact Deidre at 312-640-2132 (voice), 312-640-2102 (TTY).