Policy Advocacy at Access Living

Disability policy advocacy is a powerful way to win social change, especially in tandem with our legal and organizing work. Access Living has a long and proud history of involvement with key policy initiatives, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and countless local, state and national programs and regulations. Our policy recommendations and initiatives are of, by and for people with disabilities.

We also work to partner with our fellow social justice organizations throughout Chicago and across the state of Illinois. Over the last thirty years, Access Living's staff have created social change for disability rights at the local, state, national and even international levels. We are proud to continue to set the advocacy agenda to support the freedom and power of people with disabilities.

Our core areas of disability policy advocacy are:

Education: ensuring the right of all children with disabilities to a free and appropriate public school education, with meaningful transition outcomes.

Education Policy Analyst: Rod Estvan, (312) 640–2149 or restvan@accessliving.org.

Employment: ensuring the right of people with disabilities to seek and secure meaningful job opportunities.

Employment Community Organizer: Rene David Luna, (312) 640–2108 or rluna@accessliving.org.

Health Access: ensuring the right of people with disabilities to receive quality health care free of environmental or communication barriers.

Health Access Policy Analyst: Judy Panko Reis, (312) 640–2184 or jreis@accessliving.org.

Health Access Policy Analyst: Marilyn Martin, (312) 640–2133 or MMartin@accessliving.org

Community Development Organizer for Health Care (Health policy related to community integration, including Medicaid long term care): Tom Wilson, (312) 640–2127 or twilson@accessliving.org.

Housing: ensuring the right of people with disabilities to live in affordable, accessible, integrated housing in the communities of their choice.

Housing Policy: Cathleen OBrien, (312) 640-2160 or cobrien@accessliving.org

Other active areas of our policy work are transit, Latino and women's issues as they affect people with disabilities.

For questions regarding specific policy areas, contact the folks listed above. For general questions about our policy work or to get involved as a volunteer, contact Amber Smock, Director of Advocacy.
Amber Smock
Director of Advocacy