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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

National Council on Independent Living Director to Ask Congress for $200 Million in Additional IL Funding: Your Support Urgently Needed!

On Wednesday, April 29, Kelly Buckland, NCIL’s Executive Director, will be testifying in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee at their Public Witness Hearing. Kelly will be addressing the crucial need to increase funding for Independent Living, and the vital role that Centers for Independent Living play in the lives of people with disabilities. Read Kelly’s testimony
From 2012-2014, CILs provided the four core services to nearly 5 million individuals with disabilities. In that same period CILs moved 13,030 people out of nursing homes and institutions, and provided services such as housing assistance, transportation, personal care attendants, and employment services, to hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities. Every day, CILs are fighting to ensure that people with disabilities gain and maintain control over our own lives.
We know that this cannot occur when people reside in institutional settings. Opponents of deinstitutionalization say that allowing people with disabilities to live in the community will result in harm. We say that it’s time to get rid of those outdated, paternalistic attitudes and allow people with disabilities REAL choice in where and how they live, work, and otherwise participate in the community. The 13,030 people CILs successfully transitioned out of nursing homes and institutions from 2012-2014 clearly prove that deinstitutionalization works.
Congress demonstrated their understanding and support for this when WIOA was passed and transition was added as a fifth core service. However, with IL being the only federally funded program mandated to provide transition services, the need for funding is critical! Moreover, CILs need additional funding to restore the devastating cuts to the Independent Living program, make up for inflation costs, and address the increased demand for independent living services. Right now, the Independent Living Program is receiving nearly $3 million less in funding than we were in 2010. This is simply unacceptable.
The value of CILs cannot be overstated. People with disabilities deserve to be the decision-makers in our own lives, and CILs provide that opportunity to millions of individuals. We need to make sure that Congress hears this! The Subcommittee is accepting written testimony for the record from the public through April 29, and they need to hear from you! Input from the IL community will provide an incredible amount of support for NCIL’s written and oral testimony.
NCIL has also created a sample testimony for your use.
You should feel free to change and personalize this as much as you want - just make sure your testimony adheres to the guidance provided above and does not exceed 5 pages. Once it’s finished, you can send it as an email attachment to LH.Approp@mail.house.gov with the subject line FY 2016 written testimony for the record or fax it to 202-225-3509.

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