Northeast Independent Living Program, as an Independent Living Center, is mandated by federal law to provide both individual and systems advocacy on behalf of and for persons with disabilities. It is one of NILP’s four core services and provided by all programs.
NILP staff has experience dealing with issues surrounding such topics as reasonable accommodations, rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and appeals with state agencies or housing authorities. Often times a consumer might not be aware that their rights are being violated, or even that they are violating someone else’s rights. Sometimes a little education is often all that is needed in these situations.
In one situation a consumer with a severe physical disability in a large apartment complex was told that she could not have an assigned parking spot by her building’s management. She was told that the complex already had a handicap spot outside her nearest entrance and that she would just have to use that space because there was no assigned parking in the lot. However, the handicap parking spot outside her entrance was frequently taken by other residents or guests, therefore she sometimes had to park far away from the entrance. An NILP Independent Living Specialist helped this consumer draft a letter educating the building management on laws regarding reasonable accommodations and to officially request a reasonable accommodation that she be assigned her own parking spot. The building manager agreed to provide this consumer with a reserved spot near the closest entrance to her apartment after receiving this letter.
Advocates from NILP work to keep close contacts with the local and state representatives so that they are kept updated and aware of issues of importance to persons with disabilities. We hold an annual Lefislative Breakfast usually in April in which NILP consumers have an opportunity to meet with their local representatives or their aides and discuss whatever issues are on their mind. Several times a year we will travel to the statehouse to meet with decision makers in the state government. We encourage any consumers who are interested in participating in this type of activity with us to please contact Matt Pellegrino, the director of Independent Living and Personal Care Services at 978-687-4288 ext 111.
Advocacy Events and News
Vote! Vote! Vote!
Register to vote if you are not already and if your disability prevents you from physically going to the polls, be sure to use one of the following forms to cast an absentee ballot.
Massachusetts Voting Forms
Massachusetts Department of Transportation to Hold Public Hearings
The MassDOT states that the purpose of these hearings “is to hear from customers and residents in order to generate ideas and help prioritize agency initiatives now and in the future.” Secretary Richard A Davey and other Commonwealth leaders are scheduled to be present to hear from you. If you have a interest in the current and future happenings of the public transportation system, you should consider attending one of these hearings and make sure your voice is heard.
The following hearsings will be held in the NILP service area.
October 17, 2012 6 – 8 PM at Middlesex Community College located at 50 Kearney Square in Lowell, MA.
October 23, 2012 from 6:45 – 8:45 PM at the Haverhill Public Library located at 99 Main St, Haverhill, MA.
For a complete listing of times and lcoations of the hearings, click here to view the official flyer.