Tuesday, May 1, 2007

ADAPT :: HUD Secretary Comes to ADAPT with Commitments; American Hospital Association Agrees to Meet..

Latest press release on ADAPT's current (non-violent civil) action up in Washington D.C...

For Immediate Release: April 29, 2007

For information contact:
Bob Kafka (512) 431-4085
Marsha Katz (406) 544-9504

HUD (US Department of Hoursing and Urban Development) Secretary Comes to ADAPT with Commitments; American Hospital Association Agrees to Meet

Washington, D.C.--- This time around ADAPT didn't have to shut down HUD headquarters, because as HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson stated, "I came to you," when he and three members of his staff met with 500 members of ADAPT in their Washington, D.C., hotel. By the end of the morning, Jackson had stated unequivocally that "Fair Housing is a right." And he made a number of commitments to ADAPT, including:

  • Informing ADAPT, before the September ADAPT action in Chicago, on how many housing vouchers for persons with disabilities he has recovered from the 58% loss in vouchers that the disability community suffered due to a combination of federal budget cuts, and misappropriation of vouchers by local entities that administer the voucher program in communities across the country.
  • Vowing to eliminate the "outrageous" level of discrimination in housing against persons with disabilities. HUD recently reported that 40% of the Fair Housing complaints filed with HUD are based on the "protected class" of disability. This number surpasses, for the first time in history, the percentage of complaints filed on the basis of race (39%).
  • A promise to facilitate a meeting between ADAPT and Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Maxine Waters (D-CA). Frank is Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, and Waters is Chair of the Financial Services Committee's Sub-committee on Housing and Community Opportunity. This Committee and Sub-committee are responsible for legislation affecting changes to the Section 811 program. ADAPT is calling for a restructuring of the Sec. 811 housing program to provide affordable, accessible, integrated housing, as well as increase the number of vouchers available to persons with disabilities, both of which will require action by Congress. Sec. 811 is the segregated housing program for persons with disabilities. The segregated housing program for older persons is Sec. 202.
  • Jackson committed to work with ADAPT on implementing ADAPT's Access Across America Program, which would provide housing vouchers to persons with disabilities in nursing homes and ICFMRs that, combined with Money Follows the Person and previously existing initiatives in the states, will get people out of nursing homes and into affordable, accessible, integrated housing in their own communities.
  • A promise to meet with ADAPT three times a year, with the next meeting most likely occurring in Chicago during the next ADAPT action, September 8-13.

"ADAPT is pleased that Sec. Jackson came to us, and we are cautiously optimistic at this point," said Cassie James, Philadelphia ADAPT Organizer. "His own personal experience with discrimination gives him a window into the unconscionable discrimination in obtaining affordable, accessible, integrated housing that is experienced by people with disabilities all over America. We look forward to the Secretary keeping his commitments and partnering with us to improve the current sad state of affairs."

In other action on Tuesday, ADAPT took over the building that houses the American Hospital Association (AHA), ultimately receiving a commitment from AHA top leadership to meet with 15 ADAPT members in the next 30 days. ADAPT is demanding that the AHA endorse the Community Choice Act (S 799, H.R. 1621, "amend title XIX of the Social Security Act"); work with ADAPT to develop a hospital discharge protocol that will steer people into community services, not institutional services; put ADAPT on the agenda of the next AHA conference; and finally, write a letter to all AHA member hospitals encouraging them to make discharge referrals that do not inappropriately segregate and institutionalize people with disabilities, thus complying with the U.S. Supreme Court Olmstead decision.

Commented Gene Spinning Rochester ADAPT, "Hospitals should not be feeder systems for the nursing home industrial complex, and we expect AHA to take a lead in reforming the all too common practice of treating us like cash cows and making automatic referrals at discharge to nursing homes without even exploring what's available in the community."

On Wednesday, ADAPT will meet with Mike Hudson, Chair of the Republican National Committee. ADAPT will also deliver Community Choice Act materials to every member of Congress. Included in the materials is a ten minute DVD compiled from the testimony about the horrors of life in a nursing home that was delivered before a national panel in Nashville during ADAPT's spring 2006 action.

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