Federal, State & Local Level Support

Community & Economic Development

Access Living activists work to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Current issues Access Living campaigns for include raising the asset limit and the ADA Restoration Act.

Renewing Vocational Opportunities for Consumers (ReVOC)
ReVOC is an emerging grassroots group of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) clients, consumer advocates and other allies. ReVOC provides a voice for all people with disabilities interested in improving access to good paying jobs, quality VR services, and broader social justice. ReVOC seeks to end the massive economic deprivation, poverty and unemployment of all people with disabilities.

Below, is how Access Living prioritizes their efforts on the Federal, state and local levels, in addition to key accomplishments within the community and economic development team:

Support passage of The Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Restoration Act (S. 1881; H.R. 3195) which would amend the ADA in accord with Congress’ original intent to cover persons with disabilities who use mitigating measures (e.g., medication to treat diabetes or a prosthetic limb). The bill is needed because court decisions have too narrowly construed the Act’s definition of disability.

Working to increase Congressional and grassroots support for legislative changes, which increase access to public benefits and work incentives through improvements with the Social Security System.

Advocating to remove the requirement within the state Vocational Rehabilitation system for audiological and visual exams for people who are already diagnosed as deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired.

Forming a task force to explore the nature and use of “psychological exams” which may be both culturally biased and used to limit access to Vocational Rehabilitation services.

Working to improve the state Client Assistance Program to make it work for consumers as well as addressing the need for systems change advocacy.

Collaborating with the Division of Rehabilitation Services to provide a series of education and outreach workshops to empower consumers with disabilities.

Calling for more consumer advocates input on the decision-making process for Vocational Rehabilitation Rules and Regulations.

Working to increase accessibility and improve appropriate quality services at the Chicago-area One-Stop Employment Centers for all people with disabilities.

Networking with service providers and community economic development corporations to increase accessibility and the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Increasing community and political awareness of social issues affecting Latinos with disabilities, particularly emphasizing the unmet needs of disabled immigrants.

In our role as the lead organization for the Chicago Homeownership Coalition for People with Disabilities, Access Living’s Community/Economic Development Team has assisted 179 people with disabilities and their families in becoming homeowners.
Maricela Hernandez
Education and Outreach Coordinator