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Saturday, May 16, 2015

MORC housing specialist wins award

Layne wins Corrie Bair award from state disability rights coalition
By JERRY WOLFFE
David Layne won the Corrie Bair Building Inclusive Communities Award from the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition for 20 years of advocacy for affordable accessible homes for people with disabilities.
"I was so honored," said Layne, the Nursing Facility Transitions specialist at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. Layne, of Rochester who has twin 19-year-old sons, Jacob and Joshua, has worked for MORC as a contract housing specialist since 2009.
"To hold such people in esteem and have them give you an award is an honor of a lifetime," said Layne referring to retiring MDRC Director Norm DeLisle and assistant director RoAnn Chaney, formerly of the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living.
He was nominated for the award by the Michigan Disability Housing Workgroup which meets every other month in Lansing.
"The goal of all of this is to build inclusive communities," said Layne, who helps transition people from nursing homes to their own places through Mi-Choice or with the assistance of the Disability Network, formerly Centers for Independent Living.
"I've worked on finding affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities since the 1990s," he said. "I used to line up group homes for MORC, the State of Michigan and Oakland and Macomb counties."
He is a licensed broker and has been a real estate agent since 1977.
"There's a huge housing shortage for those with disabilities and the elderly at a time when rents are going up," said Layne, noting an average one-bedroom apartment costs $600 to $700 a month and a person on Supplemental Security Income receives $733 a month, making it financially impossible for a person with a disability to afford to rent a home.
He said the Olmstead ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court found a person with a disability has a civil right to housing and it is not an entitlement, Layne said. "It is a civil right to live in the community and receive services when possible," he said.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said "we have an obligation to provide affordable housing," said Layne. "Inherent in the Olmsted ruling is the obligation that housing choices are made available to the elderly and those with disabilities."
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263 8950.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Caregiver Appreciation Day to feature son of Motown legend


(from left: Claudreen Jackson, her son, Pervice Jackson, Jr, and Pervice's sister, Stephanie. Pervice will perform at MORC's Caregiver Appreciation Day on Thursday.

By JERRY WOLFFE

The 33rd annual Macomb-Oakland Regional Center’s Caregiver Appreciation Day and Fashion Show will honor 800 caregivers in attendance at the Palazzo Grande Banquet in Shelby Township Thursday.
P.J. Jackson, son of the late Motown legend Pervice Jackson, Sr., of the Spinners will model and sing at the event from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The event will feature 100 caregivers and people with disabilities modeling together in what is known as Detroit’s biggest fashion show, the MORC Caregiver Fashion Show. Jackson Jr., of Oak Park, has autism. He will model and sing with his mother, Claudreen Jackson of Detroit, his sister, Stephanie Jackson of Detroit, who 0is a caregiver with a local nonprofit.
“He was always proud of P.J., said Claudreen. “ All of our people with disabilities have overcome a great deal, as have their caregivers.”
“We have thousands of proud parents,” said MORC Executive Director Gerald Provencal, who along with others was instrumental in closing 12 state institutions where 13,000 people with disabilities were housed and moved them into homes in the community with supports needed to thrive. MORC also has taught officials in 54 countries of the 196 in the world to close institutions and let those with disabilities live in the community.
In total, some 8,000 caregivers are employed by the MORC system of 100 nonprofits as well as family caregivers. They support 5,000 people with disabilities in Macomb and Oakland counties.
Models were Kohl’s clothes provided by the retailer for the runway. Kohl associate volunteers from the Rochester Hills Kohl’s store volunteer their time to support the event. Tickets are available at (248) 276-8109 and cost $35. MORC is raising funds to cover the costs for caregivers, who earn an average of $9.06 an hour, to attend.
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large at MORC. He can be reached at (586) 263-8950.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Voices of Disabilities: Feds announce new rule to improve public transit f...

Voices of Disabilities: Feds announce new rule to improve public transit f...: By JERRY WOLFFE WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today the publication of a Final Rule clarifying that publ...

Feds announce new rule to improve public transit for those with disabilities

By JERRY WOLFFE

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation announced today the publication of a Final Rule clarifying that public transportation providers are required to make reasonable modifications to their polices, practices and procedures to avoid discrimination and ensure programs and services are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
“Ensuring equal access to public transportation enables individuals with disabilities to have access to jobs, school, medical care and a better quality of life,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Making reasonable modifications to transit services helps bring everyone on the path to access the ladders of opportunities that all Americans strive for.”
The Final Rule applies to public entities providing fixed route, dial-a-ride and complementary paratransit services. It establishes that an individual’s disability cannot preclude a public transportation entity from providing full access to its service except where doing so would fundamentally alter the service. It also provides 27 examples of what a reasonable modification is and is not, and clarifies the definition of origin-to-destination service.
“Today’s rule simply codifies and clarifies what many in the transit community are already doing to accommodate their riders who have disabilities,” said Acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan. “We are making sure that reasonable modifications are part of transit provider policies and more uniformly applied while keeping decision-making in their hands.”
Further, the Final Rule brings clarity to the issue of origin-to-destination policy which has had varied interpretations and was unevenly applied throughout the Nation. The new rule requires paratransit providers that primarily operate curb-to-curb service make reasonable modifications for those passengers who need assistance beyond the curb so that they can use the service. A significant number of paratransit operators already follow such an origin-to-destination policy.
Public transportation entities receiving Federal financial assistance have long had the obligation to provide reasonable modifications under various laws and regulations. This Final Rule revises and fills identified gaps in the DOT’s regulations. It becomes effective on July 13, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/us-dot-announces-reasonable-modification-rule-improve-access-public-transportation#sthash.dgeHxGvy.dpuf

Friday, May 1, 2015

Law enforcement officers to receive crisis intervention training



By JERRY WOLFFE
The first of two, five-day Crisis Intervention Team trainings for Oakland County Sheriff Deputies, and other local law enforcement begins on Monday (May 4) at 1690 Brown Road in Auburn Hills.

A second training was scheduled for the week of May 18 under a $275,000 Jail Diversion grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health. CIT is strategically designed to promote positive outcomes during crisis situations that require police assistance.  

“We are especially thankful for the State’s vision in supporting this valuable initiative, as well as the opportunity to provide local law enforcement officers with the necessary resources to help ensure their success in assisting people in crisis,” said Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority Executive Director and CEO Willie Brooks.

Deputies who participate in CIT will receive 40 hours of comprehensive mental health training, which includes information about mental illness and developmental disabilities, opportunities to speak with advocates, individuals with mental illness and their families, and participation in role-playing scenarios.

“It is well worth mentioning that each of the deputies receiving CIT training at both sessions in May is doing so on a volunteer basis,” said Oakland County Sheriff, Michael Bouchard. “Their dedication to be better prepared when responding to individuals in crisis, especially those who have a mental health disorder, is an accurate reflection of the level of commitment to community safety adhered to by the entire Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.”  

Law enforcement agencies throughout the country that utilize CIT have experienced significant reductions in the number of officer and personal injuries, as well as a decrease in arrest rates.

Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large of the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586-263-8950.