The Disabled Rights Action Committee partners with ADAPT Utah, a chapter of national ADAPT. We share ADAPT’s vision of a future in which no person with a disability is unnecessarily institutionalized. In recent years, ADAPT has focused its efforts on the passage of the Disability Integration Act (DIA). The DIA would require that the funds that are now funneled to nursing homes be made available to individuals to purchase the attendant care, community services, and adaptive equipment necessary to remain in their own homes, surrounded by friends and family. Every six months, members of ADAPT Utah join with over five hundred other individuals with disabilities from all over the country for actions that further these goals. At least one of these actions each year takes place in Washington DC. You can learn more about ADAPT’s efforts at https://adapt.org/.
Our priorities for 2021 include:
- Raising support for the Disability Integration Act (DIA)
- Increasing awareness of our “Community for All” platform
- Improving the availability of accessible & affordable housing
- Strengthening the community attendant care workforce
The Disability Integration Act (DIA) is a civil rights, bipartisan and bicameral legislation, introduced by Senators Charles Schumer, Minority Leader (D-NY) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in the Senate and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) in the House, to address the fundamental issue that people who need Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) are forced into institutions and losing their basic civil rights. The legislation (S.117, H.R.555) builds on the 25 years of work that ADAPT has done to end the institutional bias and provide seniors and people with disabilities home and community-based services (HCBS) as an alternative to institutionalization. It is the next step in our national advocacy after securing the Community First Choice (CFC) option. You can read more about the Disability Integration Act at http://www.disabilityintegrationact.org/.
For nearly 40 years, ADAPT has fought for the right to community. Our vision of community is a place where all people can live, move, and participate in the ways that recognize and support our individual dignity and freedom. Our vision is integration into all aspects of society, where every member of the community experiences myriad opportunities, not a multitude of barriers.
Even with the increased availability of Medicaid community-based services and supports, people with disabilities are being stopped from relocating to housing in the community because they cannot get access to vouchers or to accessible, affordable, and integrated housing options. Thousands of disabled and elderly people wait. Many people have dropped out of transitioning programs, losing hope when they could not get any assistance to coordinate their Medicaid community-based services and supports with any real access to affordable, accessible, integrated housing.
The population in the United States is changing. Baby boomers are in retirement. The number of people with disabilities in this age group is growing as well. The need for personal care by way of attendants for people with disabilities in this age group and the general population is growing. Recruitment and retention of people to provide hands-on personal care in the home is vital. Stakeholders are working desperately to recruit and maintain a stable Community Attendant Workforce. ADAPT is working diligently on strategies to meet this need.