Action Alert and Updates from Access Living: April 23, 2020


April 23, 2020 | by Amber Smock

Action Alert and Updates from Access Living: April 23, 2020

Dear Access Living friends and allies,

Today, we’d like to highlight one action alert opportunity and some news stories about people with disabilities during Covid-19.

(Here is the quick link to send an advocacy email that #WeAreEssential.)

Action Opportunity, Tell Congress We Need Meds and PPE, #WeAreEssential: Medication disruption can be deadly for millions of people with disabilities, so access to meds is critical during the Covid-19 crisis. Check out this overview of the issue from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). One particular group of people having difficulty with meds right now are those with lupus, who are facing a shortage of the drug hydroxychloroquine, as a result of hype about its possibility as a cure for Covid-19. Read more here.

While some states have taken steps to support access to meds, advocates are pressing every state to waive refill requirements and allow people to use mail order services for all their medications. Plus, uninterrupted access to personal protective equipment is critical for frontline healthcare workers, direct support professionals, and people with disabilities who rely on personal care or homemaker services.

Here is the quick link to send an advocacy email that #WeAreEssential to your members of Congress. Please act today!

Chicago Advocates Push For Housing For Homeless People: On Tuesday, activists did a car caravan around Chicago’s City Hall, calling on the Mayor and the Chicago Housing Authority to open up vacant housing units for homeless persons. See this link for the news story. Access Living is part of the coalition calling for opening of the units.

Advocating to Save People in Congregate Settings from Covid-19: For us, “congregate” means places where people are housed in groups of four or more. While the state has begun posting data about nursing home Covid-19 infections and deaths at this link, Cook County Jail is posting updates at this link, and the Illinois Department of Corrections (prisons) is posting updates at this link, these numbers are only as good as the efforts to test and report results. Currently to our knowledge, the State of Illinois is not posting similar daily formal updates about infections and deaths from Covid-19 in Illinois State Operated Developmental Centers (SODCs), intermediate care facilities housing people with disabilities, group homes, or non-nursing home psychiatric facilities.

There have been some media stories about infections at two Illinois SODCs. WTTW carried a story about advocacy for people in nursing homes at this link. We encourage people in every state to keep asking about numbers of infections and deaths among persons in congregate facilities such as the ones listed above.

Spotlight on Disability Life During Covid-19: Former Access Living intern and current UIC international student Noah Ohashi was interviewed in this WTTW story about the struggle to manage his network of supports as UIC closed its campus.

Deaf Man Sues to Donate Blood Plasma: Today, our colleagues at Equip for Equality filed suit on behalf of a Chicago area Deaf man who was turned away from donating blood because he was Deaf. Read more at the news release here.

People with Disabilities and Cook County Jail: The South Side Weekly did a group interview of several people currently housed at Cook County Jail. Learn more about the situation on the inside at this link.

Covid-19 and DeafBlind People: In this era of social distancing, lack of touch is creating problems for DeafBlind people, who rely on tactile communication. Read more about how Covid-19 is affecting DeafBlind people at this link.

And those are the updates for today…thank you once again for your advocacy.