June has been a whirlwind month at Disability Rights & Resources! We hosted our first Independence Day workshop series on June 5, and our very own Josh Whitmire was featured in the June 10 issue of Birmingham’s WELD magazine! Be sure to check out this month’s newsletter for recaps and updates on upcoming events!
JULY MARKS THE 24TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ADA!
- July 1: “Independence Day” Workshop Series Continues! 1-3pm, 5th floor of ADRS office, 236 Goodwin Crest Drive, Homewood, AL 35209
- July 4: Office Closed for the Holiday!
- July 8: Peer Support Group Meeting (Topic: Bullying), Disability Rights & Resources, 10-11 am
- July 15: Deadline to Register with FEMA for federal disaster assistance for those who sustained damage from the storms during 4/28-5/05. See below for more details!
- July 22: Peer Support Group Meeting (Topic: TBD), Disability Rights & Resources, 10-11am
- July 26: 24th Anniversary of the ADA
- July 31: “Independence Day” Workshop Series, 1-3 pm, 5th floor of ADRS office, 236 Goodwin Crest Drive, Homewood, AL 35209
On June 5, 2014, Disability Rights & Resources hosted the first of three workshops focused on consumer independence and independent living skills. The event took place from 1-3 and featured presentations from Gwen Brown and Josh Whitmire, Peer Advocates with Disability Rights & Resources. Gwen’s workshop was entitled “Fostering Self-Determination & Independent Living Skills” and was geared towards parents. Josh’s workshop, “Give Me Independence!” was for youth and young adults.
The workshop series is sponsored by the Children’s Rehab Services (CRS) Local Parent Advisory Committee and features guest speakers from organizations like UCP, ADAP, People First, the Jefferson County School System, and others. The workshops will continue on July 1 with a parent-focused workshop from Nancy Anderson and Denise Smith (“Preparing for Independence: IEP Transition Planning”) and Susan Ellis’ workshop for youth and young adults (“I Can Direct My Own Program!”).
July 31 will mark the third and final workshop with a parent-oriented presentation from Gary Edwards and Janis Braue (“We Don’t Grow Couch Potatoes”) and a youth-focused presentation from Mary Roth, Pam Sturdivant, and Liz Faris entitled, “How Not To Be A Couch Potato.”
Both the July 1 and July 31 workshops will be held from 1-3 pm on the 5th floor of the Homewood ADRS office, located at 236 Goodwin Crest Drive, Homewood, AL 35209. Light refreshments will be served and mileage reimbursement is available for families with children with special healthcare needs. In addition, PAC members may be eligible for a $25 advisory fee and mileage reimbursement. Please contact Tammy Moore at Tammy.Moore@rehab.alabama.gov or call 205-290-4572 for more information or to register!
Josh Whitmire Featured in Birmingham’s WELD Magazine!
This month, WELD Magazine continued their long-running series entitled “Poverty in Birmingham” with their June 10th article by Mark Kelly, “A Place to Call Home.” The article focused on Birmingham’s lack of affordable housing, telling the stories of local families and individuals who have struggled to find a place to call their home. Kelly interviewed Josh as part of his research, and here is what he had to say:
“People who have different disabilities have different needs,” says Josh Whitmire. “People [who] use wheelchairs have certain needs, people who are blind have certain needs; some people have service animals that need to accompany them, and so on. And sometimes landlords have to be educated on ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] guidelines. It can complicate things.”
Himself a wheelchair user due to the congenital developmental disorder spina biffida, Whitmire is a peer advocate with Disability Rights and Resources. The agency assists individuals with disabilities in locating affordable housing or modifying their current homes to better accommodate their needs, and provides training in skills needed for independent living. He says his experience has shown that both the quantity and quality of housing for people with disabilities – and affordable housing in general – remains a daunting proposition.
“I’ve lived in both income-based and fair market rate housing,” says Whitmire, who currently lives in a market-rate apartment in Trussville. “I can tell you firsthand the trouble people have in finding accessible housing. Most of our clients are on extremely limited incomes. Most have to use public transportation. So it’s not as easy as saying, ‘Here’s an apartment,’ and handing them the keys.
“As far as affordable housing in general, there is absolutely not enough of it. There are not enough options, and it needs to be spread out more, to different areas of the community. As it is, people get grouped into certain areas, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. It’s a serious issue and a real challenge.”
You can read the entire article at weldbham.com
The deadline to register with FEMA for federal disaster assistance for those who stained damage from the April 28 to May 5 severe storms, straight line winds, tornadoes, and flooding has now been pushed back to Tuesday, July 15. Those who have already registered can track their claims and should notify FEMA of changes to mailing addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses if they receive insurance settlements or discover additional damages.
To register with FEMA:
1. Go online to disasterassistance.gov
2. Visit m.fema.gov from a Smartphone
3. Dial toll-free 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) from 7am-10pm
4. For those who use 711 relay or Video Relay Servies, please call 1-800-621-3362.