The Disability Resource Centers' Accessible Business for All People (ABAP) Project offers businesses guidance to become more accessible and reach a broader customer base. Businesses that are designated as Accessible Business for All People will be recognized and promoted by the DRC to the disability community and beyond.
The Community Access Advocacy Team (CAAT) of the Disability Resource Center is a volunteer group of peers advocating for positive social change, the elimination of discriminatory barriers, and the creation of a supportive and fully accessible community environment.
The ten Independent Living Centers (ILCs) that serve Massachusetts are advocating for a funding increase to Line Item 4120-0200 in the FY25 budget to $12 Million. This funding increase is imperative to ensure we can maintain our services, hire, and retain staff, and ensure the individuals we serve can remain living independently in the community.
Independent Living Centers are funded in a separate line item with pass through funds, and not through rate setting. Because of this we are always overlooked when it comes to increased funding.
Please consider these numbers:
- 23% funding increase CIES and ABI Venders have received in FY 24 through Chapter 257
- 85% average proposed increase for CIES Venders in FY 25 budget
- 1 – Number of line-item funding increases ILCs have received since 2016.
- 31,585 – Number of individuals living with disabilities ILCs worked with in F/Y 2023
- 74% – Percentage of total inflation since 2016.
- 15%-25% - Percentage ILC (Independent Living Center) wages are below like positions in other agencies.
- 18% - Percentage of open positions.
- 10% + - Percentage ILC health insurance premiums increase annually.
- 47 – Number of bilingual staff employed at the ILCs.
- 24% - Percentage of ILC staff who maintain a second job to make ends meet.
- 40% - Average turnover rate for ILC staff.
- 50% + - Number of staff with a disability.
- 14 – Number of counties served by the ten ILCs. (This is every county in the state).
Facts about ILCs
- Massachusetts ILCs need more state funding to ensure we can continue to meet increasing demands for services. Some of our services include:
- Nursing Facility Transition
- Peer Counselling
- Employment support services
- Outreach to impoverished, unserved and underserved people
- Education support services
- Housing application and search assistance
- Youth Services
- Advocacy Services
- ADA Assessments
- ILCs are a requirement of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; there are 10 ILCs in MA.
- ILCs are consumer-directed, consumer-controlled, cross-disability non- profit agencies and serve tens of thousands of individuals annually. We serve individuals of all cultures, races, across all disabilities, ages, sexual orientation, and gender identification.
- ILCs are critical in keeping individuals with disabilities independent in the community and out of costly institutional settings.
- ILCs support people with disabilities in going back to work and being productive in their communities.
Historically the Independent Living Centers have been underfunded in comparison to agencies who do similar work. Over 50% of our staff are individuals living with a disability and our ability to pay them a living wage is undermined by our low rate of funding. The ILCs receive minimal funding through Chapter 257 funds, so we cannot compete with agencies that benefit from these funds for staff wages. We urgently request this long-overdue funding increase to continue to hire and retain staff to maintain our services and grow to meet ever-increasing demand for them.
The Community First Olmstead Plan is a work in progress. The six goals provide a framework for ongoing and future work focused on achieving the mandate and the spirit of the Olmstead decision: people with disabilities across the lifespan have a right to live in their communities.
The national network of ADA & IT Technical Assistance Centers, also known as DBTACs, seek comments on experiences with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Go to www.adata.org and share your experiences in access to your place of employment, or access to public services.