What’s Happening With #FairPay4HomeCare and How ILCs and Consumers Can be Part of Organizing to Win

ILC leaders who have been actively involved in the Fair Pay for Home Care campaign with NY Caring Majority will share background on the bill (which would raise home care worker and personal assistant pay to 150% of minimum wage across NY), and what the strategy is to win Fair Pay in next year’s budget. They will also share strategies on engaging community members in this campaign.

Presented by:

  • Ilana Berger, Hand in Hand
  • Doug Hovey, Independent Living, Inc.
  • Maria Samuels, Westchester Disabled on the Move, Inc. (WDOM)


Empowering Students With Disabilities                                                       

An in-depth conversation regarding the impact of having an ILC office within the schools, and being accessible to school staff, students with disabilities and their families.

Presented by:

  • Judy Wroda, Southwestern Independent Living Center (SILC)


New SNAP Network Helps Providers Connect Seniors with Food Assistance  

The purpose of this workshop is to build awareness and engage senior providers around the release of New York States SNAP Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP) which will streamline applications and enrollment for Seniors in NY; highlight a new opportunity through Hunger Solution New York’s new SNAP and Seniors Professional Network; and gather feedback from providers regarding their current outreach efforts and SNAP questions.

Presented by:

  • Kayla Snyder, Hunger Solutions NY
  • Sherry Tomasky, Hunger Solutions NY


Updates on NYS DOH Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) & Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Medicaid Waiver Programs                

The Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) Waiver and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Waivers provide home and community- based services to seniors and/or individuals with disabilities who choose to live in the community. These waivers can be used to prevent institutional placement (diversion) or provide the services needed for an individual to leave a nursing home (transition). This workshop will offer an overview of the eligibility requirements, waiver services offered and referral process. It will also discuss proposed changes in the waivers as they move forward for renewal in 2022 and 2023.

Presented by:

  • Maribeth Gnozzio, NYS Department of Health (DOH)
  • Thomas Rees, NYS Department of Health (DOH)

ILC Delivery of Pre-Employment Transition Services for Students with Disabilities 

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) is a set of five services required by the Workforce Innovation an Opportunity Act for students with disabilities who are eligible or considered ‘potentially eligible’ for ACCES VR services. The services included are: job exploration counseling, work based learning experiences, counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or post-secondary educational programs, workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living & instruction in self-advocacy. NY is currently providing these services through the Core Rehabilitation Services contracts and direct contracts with providers, including two ILCs, BRiDGES and the Capital District Center for Independence. Additional opportunities may be available in the future. This workshop will provide an overview of the services and the ILC role in delivering them.

Presented by:

  • Joseph Tedesco, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services- Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Laurel Kelley, Capital District Center for Independence
  • Carlos Martinez, BRiDGES       


Pushing Past Our Biases

How do implicit or unconscious biases impact our deep seeded prejudices? How do we push past these biases when we do not even know that we have them? This presentation will answer these questions and explore, Implicit Bias, Microaggressions, Intersectionality, the nature of prejudice, diversity efforts – how these efforts have overlooked people with disabilities in the workplace and where do we go from here? How can we push past our biases to build a workplace, and a world where all people are valued and accepted?

Presented by:

  • Renae Kimble, Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL)


NYS Medicaid changes coming in 2021-2022

In the 2020 NYS budget, major changes were enacted that may limit access to Medicaid home care services. Implementation is expected later in 2021 or in 2022. This session will discuss some of these pending changes, including the new minimum ADL threshold, the “independent assessor” procedure for personal care and CDPAP, and the “lookback” for new applicants seeking Medicaid home care or assisted living.

Presented by:

  • Valerie Bogart, Evelyn Frank Legal Resources Program


What is Marketing and Branding, and How Can I Use Both?

In this workshop, you'll learn what marketing communications is for a Center, why a marketing strategy is needed, and how to make your brand work for you across all marketing efforts.

Presented by:

  • Michelle West, Aprosae Marketing


Youth Leadership in Independent Living – Bridging the Gap

This presentation will discuss strategies to increase youth leadership and disability advocacy opportunities at ILCs. Additionally, participants will learn how YLAN can support them in building the next generation of disability leaders.

Presented by:

  • Brianna Gower, Young Leaders and Advocates Network (YLAN)
  • Elijah Fagan-Solis, Young Leaders and Advocates Network (YLAN)


ILCs emergency response to COVID-19 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ILCs had to swiftly shift their services to meet the urgent needs in their community. This panel discussion will highlight New York’s Independent Living Center network response to COVID-19 through emotional wellbeing calls, food delivery services, vaccine clinics and more. We’ll also discuss advocacy efforts to provide emergency transition services to get people out of nursing facilities.

Presented by:

  • Lindsay Miller, New York Association on Independent Living
  • John Colon, Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY
  • Bruce Darling, Center for Disability Rights


Right 2 Ride: A Transportation Curriculum for people with IDD

The Right to Ride video-based, plain language training curriculum covers: the ADA, Transit Advocacy, and Taking Transit. Developed by self-advocates for self-advocates.

 Presented by:

  • Sophia Roberts, Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS)
  • Mike Rogers, Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS)


How ILCs can Utilize Lessons Learned from the Pandemic in Improving Service Delivery

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how Independent Living Centers are supporting consumers and meeting the needs of their communities. This includes changing how services are delivered to consumers by utilizing virtual service delivery options. In this workshop we’ll hear about best practices from ILCs across the country who have successfully incorporated elements of remote, virtual delivery of core services utilized during the pandemic into CIL service delivery post-pandemic. We’ll also have a facilitated discussion regarding what centers have been doing in NY, and the path forward.

Presented by:

  • Paula McElwee, Independent Living Research Utilization
  • Brooke Curtis, Independent Living Research Utilization
  • Jeremy Morris, Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council
  • Sarah Martinez, Access 2 Independence, Iowa City, IA


Engaging Disabled BIPOC Communities In Advocacy Against Assisted Suicide Laws  

Policy makers and news media often view doctor assisted suicide laws as a progressive cause. Led by Not Dead Yet’s Director of Minority Outreach, this workshop will focus on reasons that multiply marginalized disabled people tend to oppose these laws and a model program to build an organized BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) disability opposition in Massachusetts.

 Presented by:

  • Anita Cameron, Not Dead Yet
  • John Kelly, Second Thoughts Massachusetts


NYS Homes and Community Renewal Housing Choice Voucher Program

An overview of the Housing Choice Voucher Program and various sub-programs such as: project-based vouchers, mainstream vouchers, VASH, the Section 8 Homeownership Program, and the Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) aimed at assisting low-income families, many of whom are disabled or older New Yorkers.

Presented by:

  • Jill Harbeck, NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR)
  • Justine Lechner, NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR)


Will the Next Pandemic Lead to More Nursing Home Resident Death and Despair? 

COVID-19 exposed the long-standing problems that have existed in nursing homes for decades and brought to light new ones, including their lack of preparedness for such a pandemic. A state law passed last year after the height of the devastation from COVID-19 required New York nursing homes to develop Pandemic Emergency Plans (PEP) in order to avoid a repeat of the problems that led to residents’ misery and death. This panel will discuss a recent study done of those PEPs and their inadequacy, as well as recommendations for federal changes to address six critical areas in need of reform within the long-term care system.

Presented by:

  • Daniel Ross, Mobilization for Justice, Inc.
  • Richard Mollot, Long Term Care Community Coalition


Olmstead and the Most Integrated Setting Law in NYS – What it Means for New Yorkers with Disabilities and Older Adults

Starting with an overview of Olmstead and the Most Integrated Setting Law, Primary Focus will be on the work of 3 newly established committees on Olmstead, Deinstitutionalization, Community Services and Employment and will include a brief overview of the formulation of the new State Plan.

 Presented by:

  • Douglas Hovey, Independent Living, Inc.
  • Bruce Darling, Center for Disability Rights (CDR)
  • Harvey Rosenthal, New York Association Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS)
  • Denise Figueroa, Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley


Think Outside the Box by Exploring Free Ways to Advertise With Google Ad Grants, Earned Media, and Social Media! 

Promote your programs to consumers through advertising options that are worth your time and cost no money! Learn what the options are and what staff needs to manage each one. 

Presented by:

  • Michelle West, Aprosae Marketing


Mental Health Impact of the Pandemic

COVID 19 is really two different pandemics. The one we are all familiar with that has cost us over 600,000 lives. The other one is the mental health pandemic that has impacted the lives of countless New Yorkers through increases in depression, anxiety and isolation which has led to loss of life through suicide completion and drug overdose. MHANYS Public Policy Director will discuss how to utilize mental health education as a tool to combat the mental health pandemic as well as discussing the importance of trauma informed care to respond to the long term mental health needs of individuals impacted by the pandemic.

Presented by:

  • Glenn Liebman, Mental Health Association of New York State (MHANYS)
  • John Richter, Mental Health Association of New York State (MHANYS)


Status of Voting Rights for People with Disabilities

This workshop will feature a panel of advocates and an attorney on the frontlines of the fight to ensure people with disabilities can vote privately and independently in-person and absentee. Hear from a leading attorney who has helped make elections more accessible in New York and in other states as well. Advocates will give an overview of the landscape of voting laws and proposals being put forth at the Federal level that could set all of this progress back.

Presented by:

  • Christina Brandt-Young, Disability Rights Advocates
  • Michelle Bishop, National Disability Rights Network
  • Cliff Perez, Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley


Promising Approaches for Building Cultural Competence in Human Services and Advocacy Organization

It is quite common for organizations seeking to be more effective in serving diverse communities to skip important steps in their efforts.  This session will provide information regarding the steps needed to increase the capacity of service delivery and advocacy systems  to design, implement, and evaluate culturally competent services. It will provide specific action steps for assessment, action planning and sustaining culturally and linguistically competent policies, structures and practices.  

Presented by:

  • Sharonlyn Harrison, Public Research and Evaluation Services


Be the Future; Transforming Employment for People With Disabilities

High skilled technical jobs are the future of workforce. How do we ensure that people with disabilities are included and recognized in the transformation to change the future of employment. 

Presented by:

  • Hillary Nichols, Resource Center for Accessible Living (RCAL)
  • Frank Falatyn, Fala Technologies


All conference sessions will have ASL and CART. Live question and answer segments will also have ASL and CART. Slides and video presentations will be described to the audience to ensure accessibility for all participants. Conference sessions will be available through Whova (our conference platform) and Zoom Webinar.