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Category: Action Alert

Alerts about current issues that CCDC recommends readers to take action based on this information.

Don’t Punish Pain Rally

While the Opioid crisis is a serious problem, some of the policies have gone too far and have caused people with serious pain to lose access to needed medications and even to their physicians. There are legitimate uses for pain medication. A group of pain patients and their supporters will be holding a rally to implore legislators to be more thoughtful and to clarify the existing laws and regulations. Colorado Law actually was supposed to exempt chronic pain patients from rigid limits. There are ways to manage pain medication to mitigate abuse of such medications. Forcing everyone to taper off of these medications is not the answer.

Please plan to attend this rally on JANUARY 29TH 2019 at 10:30 am at the Capitol. A flyer is attached,

CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program will not be taking any new cases until February 1, 2019

As of November 26, 2018, until February 1, 2019, the CCDC Civil Rights Legal Program will not be taking any new cases or intakes. We do not receive funding to provide referrals. Therefore, if you have a legal problem that you think we can assist with, you will need to contact another attorney until January 1, 2018. We apologize for the inconvenience. We will not be returning calls or other intake emails, including social media or by any other method.

Congratulations to Jared Polis and Other Winners

CCDC wishes congratulations to our new Governor Jared Polis and looks forward to working with this new administration.   Our expectations of a new governor are clear and doable.   We look forward to advancing the rights of people with disabilities so that we can show our capabilities as full citizens.  This means a dramatic increase in the number of people with disabilities who are employed.  This means a dramatic improvement in the high school graduation of students with disabilities and making sure that students go to college or some sort of vocational program.   This means a government that values people with disabilities by having high expectations and providing appropriate supports.   This means a government that involves us at every level…on boards, commissions, as employees in state agencies, and on the transition team.    Governor-Elect Polis stated last night that his administration will be inclusive.   We expect to be part of this inclusion and to have disability representation in historic proportions and stand ready to help make that happen.

CCDC congratulates all of the representatives and senators that won their seats as well and we look forward to working with all of you on these same goals.

We will be solidifying legislative priorities for the next two years soon but among them will surely be:

1) Increasing protection for renters such as statewide source of income discrimination protection and habitability laws.

2) Extending the Mediciad Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities to people over the age of 65 and for more than 10 days in between jobs, even if we have to use state funds.   With the federal government giving the states carte blanche we should be able to get approval.

3) Getting safety protections for people living in host homes.

4) Consumer direction for all HCBS services.

5) Improving our case management systems, especially transition from institutions.

We will be focusing on money for solid transportation that has a focus on transit and affordable housing that is inclusive of everyone including those with very low income.   We will be working on increased accountability around behavioral health and overall health care in the Medicaid program.

On a federal level with the Democrats having a majority in the house, we will be holding Congresswoman DeGette accountable for her promises to us to fix the Electronic Visit Verification mess and exempt consumer direction and family caregivers.   We will also expect help with improved access to quality complex rehab equipment (power wheelchairs) including accountability for repairs.

While Colorado definitely went blue, this does not mean that CCDC will stop working with our Republican allies.   We have always been and always will be a bipartisan organization.  Our issues cross both parties.  Disability does not discriminate.

CCDC was very proud of the VERY STRONG voter turnout in the disability community.   Approximately 90% of our members had already voted before Monday and we are sure the rest voted Monday or Tuesday.     Voting is the first step of realizing NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US.

Join the week of action opposing the public charge rule! [Corrected Date]

Center for Public Representation, Logo
Center for Public Representation, Logo

The public charge rule will discriminate against immigrants with disabilities and their families trying to enter the U.S. (get a visa) or get a green card (become a permanent resident).  In collaboration with the disability community,  Protecting Immigrant Families will focus this week on Health, Aging, and Disability in the broader campaign to unite public opposition and stop this rule.  We have a lot of resources to help you learn more about the rule, spread the word, and (most importantly) submit comments:

  • We have created 2 new resources to help you learn more about the public charge rule and what it means for people with disabilities:  a grassroots explainer and a more detailed info sheet.
  • We have worked with the Arc of the United States to create a link to help you comment on the rule.  Remember to individualize the comments about why you care about the rule and how you or someone you know will be impacted.
  • Protecting Immigrant Families has created this Social Media Toolkit to help you spread the word and encourage friends and family to comment on the rule.
  • Join us and other disability advocates on twitter on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 2pm EST to #ProtectFamilies and help get the word out.

It is critical that the disability community speaks out against this devastating rule before the public comment period closes on December 10th. 

Why People With Disabilities Are Protesting Like Hell “My disability is not that something’s wrong with me, it’s that the world has not adapted to me,” Pittsburgh disability advocate Alisa Grishman said.

Telling it like it is about living with the disability. Stop thinking there is something wrong with us, and start thinking you are us. So do something about it! Great story in the Huffington Post.

Proposed Fare Increase For RTD’s Access-A-Ride Worries Those Who Use It

Proposed Fare Increase For RTD’s Access-A-Ride Worries Those Who Use It 

Colorado Public Radio

 

For people like Louis Apodaca, RTD’s Access-A-Ride program has been a lifeline. Apodaca started to use it after her wheelchair got stuck at a bus stop, and the fire department had to rescue her.

“The bus stops, a lot of times, are on gravel or on grass or mud,” Apodaca, a resident of Denver’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Continue reading “Proposed Fare Increase For RTD’s Access-A-Ride Worries Those Who Use It”

CCDC COMMENTS TO HUD re Enforcement of Fair Housing Regulations

Below is our letter, please submit your own comments by MONDAY 10/15/18 at www.regulations.gov 

October 12, 2018

 

Office of the General Counsel, Rules Docket Clerk

US Department of Housing & Urban Development

451 Seventh Street, SW Room 10276

Washington, DC  20410-0001

 

Submitted electronically via www.regulations.gov

 

RE:  Docket No. FR-6123-A-01

 

To Whom It May Concern:

 

I am writing on behalf of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) in response to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: AFFH Streamlining and Enhancements, published in the Federal Register on August 16, 2018.  CCDC is the largest statewide disability organization that is run by and for people with all types of disabilities (cross-disability).   We recently did a listening tour across Colorado.  We had eleven events and all but two were outside of the Denver metro area.  In every community housing emerged as the number one problem for people with disabilities.  While affordability is a problem for everyone in Colorado, people with disabilities deal with discrimination, safety, and habitability concerns as well.  Too often people with disabilities are terrified to report discrimination or unsafe conditions due to fear of retaliation.  ANY weakening of existing standards can be devastating to people with disabilities.  If anything, requirements for affirmatively furthering fair housing should be strengthened and enforcement should be enhanced. More than 50% of those considered “chronically homeless” in Denver have disabilities (both physical and psychiatric) according to rent point in time studies.

 

CCDC strongly supports HUD’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation and we urge HUD not to revoke or rewrite it.   Rather, HUD should immediately resume implementation of the 2015 rule and dedicate the necessary department resources for effective implementation and enforcement of the rule. With AFFH compliance, we expect significant positive impacts on the communities we serve, and nearby communities whose interests intersect with ours.  Failure to enforce AFFH causes our most vulnerable members of the community to suffer in unsafe conditions and often leads to homelessness.  We find that as people become homeless, they are not able to escape and it soon becomes chronic.  American’s disabled deserve better than this.  Many of those suffering from housing discrimination are veterans that have served our country.  Our advocacy coordinator, who is a disabled veteran, reports that veterans who require reasonable accommodations often face housing discrimination.  This discrimination can increase the symptoms of their disabilities. Those that serve our country and acquired a disability as a result of their service deserve a housing agency that will enforce regulations created to assure fair treatment.

 

Historically, and despite the fair housing requirements of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, we have seen little improvement in the patterns of residential segregation and the resulting imbalances in community investment and inequities in access to jobs, education, transit and other life opportunities. We believe that the AFFH rule is the first significant step made toward real change and must be promptly reinstated for the following reasons:

 

 

 

 

 

  • The 2015 Rule Was the Result of Significant Resources

The 2015 rule represents a wait—far too long—of 47 years for clarity on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provisions of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.  The 2015 rule was the result of a massive use of federal resources, and at least 6 years of deliberation by HUD, along with significant input from a diverse array of stakeholders. Additionally, the rule was field tested in 74 jurisdictions.  The initiation of another rulemaking process would be a waste of HUD resources and the tax dollars of the American people. Rather than exhaust additional resources on rewriting the rule, HUD should use those resources to enforce the 2015 rule which was not sufficiently implemented by HUD.

 

  • Big Changes Take Time

Until the 2015 rule, jurisdictions around the nation operated at a status quo established in 1968 due to insufficient guidance and enforcement on the AFFH regulation. It often required legal actions by private citizens or organizations to compel jurisdictions to take meaningful steps to further fair housing. Understandably, it will therefore require some time for jurisdictions to adapt to new expectations. The 2015 rule was an investment in our nation’s commitment to Civil Rights, and like any big investment, the highest costs are upfront. HUD cannot retreat from the steps it took to address segregation, discrimination, and disinvestment.  American veterans and those with disabilities deserve better from our government.

 

In response to the 8 questions put forth by HUD in its ANPR, below are a few of the many reasons the 2015 rule should be reinstated:

 

Public Participation – The 2015 rule requires a level of community engagement that jurisdictions previously were not required to and did not employ. The new AFFH rule requires jurisdictions to design their public participation process to include people of all demographics and socioeconomic backgrounds, with a focus on those most impacted by segregation and inequitable community investment. This type of public participation is emblematic of the most basic principles of democracy and demonstrates a commitment to the values of democracy.

 

Data Collection – The 2015 rule ensures that community development decisions are rooted in an honest assessment of patterns of segregation, housing needs, and access to place-based opportunities. The HUD provided data offers a minimum standard of data collection that, when combined with local data and local input, allows for the sound development of measureable goals and benchmarks to move the needle on critical issues.  Decisions should be made using data, not rumors or blogs.

 

Goals & Metrics—The 2015 rule requires jurisdictions to define explicit goals and metrics to measure progress toward the goals developed. This is a foundational requirement of meaningful community planning and governance. Goals should be set, and progress should be measured on an annual basis. This greatly enhances the ability of HUD and community stakeholders to hold local jurisdictions accountable to timely goal implementation.   We measure what matters and AFFH must matter if we truly value all Americans.

 

Accountability – The 2015 rule creates requirements for HUD to review, approve of, and monitor Assessments of Fair Housing. This creates a strong incentive for jurisdictions to comply because the receipt of HUD funding is clearly tied to compliance with fair housing laws. These enhanced accountability measures will incentivize jurisdictions to comply with, and allow HUD to enforce, a 50-year-old federal legal requirement enacted into law by a democratically elected body of Congress.

 

For all of the reasons listed herein, and because our communities have long suffered unjust and immutable segregation and the resulting inequities in life outcomes, CCDC urges HUD to take immediate action to fully reinstate the 2015 rule and uphold its commitment to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.

 

Sincerely,

Julie Reiskin, Executive Director

Proposed City of Denver budget falls short

On September 13th Mayor Michael Hancock presented his 2019 budget. As you may know our partners at Denver Streets Partnership and Walk Denver have been meeting city officials to elevate the need for safe and accessible side walks, street crossings and bike paths. These elements are essential for the independence of our people. Some of the glaring deficiencies in the budget included no funding for Federal Blvd., 3.8 million for sidewalks (we had requested 10) and very little money for simple upgrades and fixes such as bollards or paint for roads.
City council now has several weeks to review budget and to make recommendations.
CCDC strongly supports more funding for sidewalks, cross-walks and bike paths.
If you want your voice heard please use the Walk Denver Web site listed below for additional information and ways to reach out to your city councilperson.

Action Center

Jaime Lewis
CCDC Transit Advisor

Action Center

Information about Health Care Debt

https://www.moneymunk.com/us-health-care-statistics/

This blog has interesting and depressing statistics about health care debt for our country.  The main site also has some good information on credit cards, which are good, which are not, and how to think about using them.  Of course most of us do not have the luxury of deciding which credit cards to use, and low-income people are often left with only the worse options (high interest, poor terms, etc.)  However, now that we have the Medicaid Buy-In option and more of us are able to get and keep jobs, as we get out of poverty we can learn about things like credit card choices.

Anyway, the health care debt issue is something important.

What is these RAEs (Regional Accountable Entities)??

 

  • You should have received a letter from Medicaid recently.
  • You may see and hear new terms describing how the system of care is changing. However, your Medicaid benefits and services are not
  • You can continue to receive the same physical, mental health and long-term services and supports services you are receiving today.
  • The big change starting July 1, 2018, is one organization will be coordinating your physical and behavioral health benefits. This is intended to make it easier to get the care you need. This organization is called your Regional Accountable Entity, or RAE.
  • If the Primary Care Provider who is listed in your letter is not the one you want, you can pick a new one by calling the Medicaid enrollment department at 888-367-6557.
  • You can continue to see any physical health provider (doctors, hospitals, etc.) who accepts Medicaid, no matter which Primary Care Provider is listed on the letter you received.
  • If your behavioral health provider / therapist tells you they cannot see you because they are not part of the RAE network, please have the provider call the RAE. You should also call the RAE’s customer service line to make sure your services continue and to prevent or minimize any delays.
  • If you are told you cannot get mental health care for a long time, please call your RAE.
  • If you have a mental health crisis you can always call the crisis line at 1-844-493-8255 or text talk to 38255. Please call us also so we can get you connected with ongoing mental health care.
  • You can call your regional organization for help with:
    • Finding a doctor or specialist
    • Finding a behavioral /mental health therapist, other mental health support or a psychiatrist
    • Getting help with your care – including understanding your benefits and getting a ride to your medical appointments
    • Referring you to a long-term services and supports program if you need help with daily activities due to age or significant disability.
    • Referring you to other resources that might affect your health such as places to get help with food

RAE Contact Information and Area Map

 

Region  Regional Accountable Entity  Contact Information
1 Rocky Mountain Health Plans Email:  support@rmhpcommunity.org
2 Northeast Health Partners 9925 Federal Drive, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
Phone: 1-800-804-5040
Email: COProviderRelations@beaconhealthoptions.com
3 Colorado Access Amber Garcia
Phone: 720-744-5487
Email:  pns@coaccess.com
4 Health Colorado, Inc. 9925 Federal Drive, Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
Phone: 1-800-804-5040
Email: COProviderRelations@beaconhealthoptions.com
5 Colorado Access Amber Garcia
Phone: (720) 744-5487
Email:  pns@coaccess.com
6 CO Community Health Alliance Phone: 303-256-1717 (Local) 855-627-4685 (Toll-Free)
Contact Us
7 CO Community Health Alliance Phone: 303-256-1717 (Local) 855-627-4685 (Toll-Free)
Contact Us

 


Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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