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Returning to Work

An Employee’s Guide from CCDC

  1. Questions to Ask
  2. Talk to Your Employer
  3. Reasonable Accommodations
  4. Other Options
  5. Reporting an Unsafe Work Environment
  6. Discrimination
  7. Resources

CCDC has received questions about returning to work as it relates to people with disabilities.   Our state has a return to work guidance that is relevant to unemployment.   The EEOC has also issued guidance about returning to work.  It is in Section G: Return to Work.

People with disabilities and those we live with have vastly different experiences and needs.  Therefore, this is not intended to be directive or legal guidance.  This document should help people think about what questions they need to ask of themselves and their employers.   


Questions to Ask

  • Do you have a disability?  
    • The ADA defines disability as a substantial impairment in a major life activity.  
    • People who are considered disabled or have a record or history of disability are also covered under anti-discrimination laws. 
  • If yes, does your particular disability make you vulnerable or at risk if you get COVID-19?  
    • Possible disabilities that put you at increased risk include respiratory disabilities, heart conditions, neurological impairments, and chronic illnesses.   
  • Do you live with someone with a disability? 
    • If yes, does that disability make the person vulnerable or at risk if they get COVID-19?
  • Are you over 60?
  • Do you live with someone over 60?

Answering “Yes” to any of these questions means you have additional things to think about with regard to returning to work.   


Talk to Your Employer

OSHA Guidance for Employers

Questions to ask yourself and your employer:

  • Can my job be done remotely?   
    • If you have a disability, you could request this as a reasonable accommodation.   
    • If you do not have a disability yourself, there is no requirement to allow work from home, but governments, including the state of Colorado, are strongly encouraging this practice. 
  • Is my employer following COVID guidance issued by OSHA?  
    • Check on your employer’s return to work policies and workplace safety policies.  
  • Do I need to interact with the public as part of my job?  
    • If yes, is my employer mandating mask use?  
  • Do I have a safe way to report violations of company policy (such as people not wearing masks)?

Reasonable Accommodations

If you ask for a reasonable accommodation, remember:

  • You need to ask –your employer cannot read minds.  
    • Make your request in writing and explain the connection between your disability and the requested change.  
    • For example, I have a neurological disability and weakened lung capacity and request to work at home. Working from home reduces my exposure to other people and reduces my risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Your employer may have a specific form they want you to use.  
    • Use their way unless you have a disability-related reason not to.  
    • There is no sense in arguing about that issue.
  • Your employer will engage in an interactive process.  
    • It may be give-and-take on both sides.   
    • Be solution-focused.
  • You still need to be able to do the essential functions of your job.  
    • For example: If you are a customer service representative and the system can’t forward calls to your home phone, then an essential function of your job requires you to be in the office.

Other Options

If there is no way to accommodate you in your position consider:

  • Asking if there are other positions for which you qualify.
    • If so, ask for a transfer when there is an opening.
  • Ask how much stored up sick or vacation time you have. 
    • Likely it will not be enough to get through the remainder of the pandemic, but you can use it while you figure out your other options.
  • You MAY be eligible for unemployment
    • To maintain your eligibility for benefits, you must complete regular work search activities that help you return to work.  

Reporting an Unsafe Work Environment

  • If you fear your workplace is not safe and your management has not addressed concerns, you can look into the recently signed  Whistleblower Protection Public Health Emergencies Act
    • This new law offers significant protections for workers (employees and independent contractors) from discrimination or retaliation by their employers. 
    • Workers are protected from discrimination or retaliation for raising concerns about workplace safety or health during a public health emergency.
    • Workers are also protected when wearing their PPE at work. 
    • The full text of the law and more information is here: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/HB20-1415.

Discrimination

If you feel you have faced discrimination, see what your employer’s internal grievance process is.  If you are a member of a union, they should be able to help you.  Otherwise, if you want to file a discrimination complaint you must submit an administrative complaint with a government agency.  

You can go to the EEOC or the state Civil Rights Division if you believe you have faced disability discrimination.


Resources

EEOC Pandemic Guidance

Sate of Colorado Guidance

Guidance for Employers and General Public

 

Curb Cuts and Captions

Written by Nina Endler of Boulder, CO
July, 2020

Earlier this year, something happened in my neighborhood of 1960s ranches, split levels, and tri-levels that I wished had been there while my children were growing up. (For the record, they’re 19 and 22.)

Image of President George H.W. Bush with Evan J. Kemp, Jr., then the chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (pictured next to President Bush seated in his motorized wheelchair) and Justin Whitlock Dart, Jr., often called the “Godfather of the ADA,” an American activist and advocate for people with disabilities and co-founder of the American
(For the uninitiated, that’s President Bush the Elder signing the Americans with Disabilities Act – ADA – on July 26, 1990.)

In the first part of a year that marks 30 years since this happened -my neighborhood, in which the trees now tower over the houses at long last received these: curb cuts!

picture of curb cuts at an intersection
A curb cut is a solid (usually concrete) ramp graded down from the top surface of a sidewalk to the surface of an adjoining street.

How nice it would have been to have these while I was pushing a baby jogger, while my daughters were learning to ride bikes, while…

But wait, that’s not their intended purpose – that’s not their raison d’etre.

They are, however probably the best example of universal design, of something that was done so more of us could participate and which those of us who were already participating also benefit from. With them, my neighbors who are now pushing baby joggers no longer need to carefully navigate going down and then up each curb. Children who are now learning to ride bikes no longer need to stop, get off their bike, and then get back on. Walking and wheeling through the neighborhood is now more seamless. Something for which the wheels (pun intended) were set in motion 30 years ago is benefiting significantly more people than was initially intended.

Recently, the state chapter of the union I belong to held a webinar and after it was over, emailed the link to its membership. I received this email on my phone, clicked on the link, and, as I do when captions don’t automatically come up, searched for a way to turn them on. As the displays are different on different devices, and willing to give the state chapter of my union the benefit of the doubt, I figured that the captions didn’t display on smaller devices such as phones. Since I wasn’t near my larger devices at the time, and as I had also seen a social media post about the webinar, I inquired on the post about the availability of captions. The state contact apologized “that wasn’t accommodated on this webinar. I realize that is not ok and we will correct for future webinars.”

It has now been 30 years since the first President Bush signed the ADA. Let’s stop thinking of captions as an accommodation. Let’s stop thinking of things like curb cuts and captions as accommodations and start thinking of them as universal design. Let’s eliminate the perception of curb cuts and captions as being “for those who need them.” Just as people who are currently pushing baby joggers and children who are currently learning to ride a bike in my neighborhood are benefiting from the new curb cuts, here’s a starter list of how people with typical hearing benefit from captions.

  • You’re insomniac and you want to watch a video you’ve been meaning to watch while remaining in bed. The person next to you, who has typical hearing is sleeping.
  • You’re in a noisy area and you can’t find your earbuds.
  • You went to work outside of a coffee shop and left your AirPods at home.
  • You’re parallel-working with a family member at the table and you want to be able to listen for an anticipated delivery so you don’t put anything in your ears.
  • You don’t have either AirPods or earbuds and the noise of your device interferes with the concentration of the other person in the room who’s reading a book.

Because captions are still thought of as an accommodation rather than as universal design, OTTO Health didn’t include captions in their telehealth platform. Because captions are still thought of as an accommodation rather than as universal design, Zoom does not offer live captions that anyone can turn on with the click of a button. Because captions are still thought of as an accommodation rather than as universal design, I can’t follow a YouTube video that doesn’t have the CC icon in the lower right corner.

Let’s stop thinking of things like curb cuts and captions as accommodations and start thinking of them as what they really are – a universal design that everyone benefits from. With universal design, webinars wouldn’t be filmed, online platforms wouldn’t be made and YouTube videos wouldn’t be posted without captions. And someone with typical hearing can watch the recording of a webinar in bed while they’re insomniac and not wake up the person sleeping next to them.

CCDC will never forget Representative John Lewis, Our mentor and teacher — WE LOST A GREAT ONE!

Tribute was written by Kevin W. Williams, Legal Program Director,
Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition Civil Rights Legal Program

Image of Congressman John Robert Lewis, official Congressional photo.
Image of Congressman John Robert Lewis, official Congressional photo.

“We are one people with one family. We’ll live in the same house . . . and through books, through information, we must find a way to say to people that we must lay down the burden of hate. For hate is too heavy a burden to bear.”* – Rep. John Lewis (All quotations throughout this CCDC Memorial blog are the words of John Lewis himself unless otherwise noted).

This tribute allows John Lewis to speak for himself in the humble yet powerful way only he could.

Image of young John Lewis as he proudly crosses Edmund Pettus Bridge, leading the March on Bloody Sunday to secure voting rights for Black Americans in the state of Alabama. Photo from “There’s a better way to honor John Lewis than renaming the Edmund Pettus Bridge” AL.com, Alabama.
Image of young John Lewis as he proudly crosses Edmund Pettus Bridge, leading the March on Bloody Sunday to secure voting rights for Black Americans in the state of Alabama. Photo from “There’s a better way to honor John Lewis than renaming the Edmund Pettus Bridge” AL.com, Alabama.

The disability rights movement owes an enormous debt of gratitude to John Lewis, who died on July 17, 2020. His was indeed a life well-lived. He was our teacher and demonstrated why, in so many ways, “Black Lives Matter!” Congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle referred to him as the “Conscience of the Congress,” and Congress will never be the same without him. His life, his perspective, his commitment stayed with him until the day he died. We need and miss him, especially now, and always will.

In 1961, John Lewis became one of the original 13 Freedom Riders; the group made up of seven black and six white Americans. They were determined to ride from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans in an integrated fashion. Much of this work was attributed to his involvement with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Congress of Racial Equality. He and the other Freedom Riders were severely beaten and jailed as they entered the southern states.

“We were determined not to let any act of violence keep us from our goal. We knew our lives could be threatened, but we had made up our minds not to turn back.”*

The disability community took all of its cues from John Lewis when shutting down the Regional Transportation District (RTD) in Denver, Colorado. The Gang of 19 threw themselves out of their wheelchairs and blocked buses overnight on the busiest street in Denver – Colfax Avenue between Broadway and Lincoln. The Gang of 19 was responsible for forcing RTD to be the first transportation system in the country to install wheelchair lifts on its buses. All of the tactics for making this happen can be attributed to the work of John Lewis.

Denied the right to vote, he and the other marchers refused to give up! Even as he led the march (literally — he was at the front of the line) across the bridge, at which point the Alabama State Patrol took a billy club to his head before arresting him. John Lewis, following in the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King, understood and believed in the theory of nonviolent protest. He and those with him demonstrated to this country and the world that those who are willing to risk everything (their bodies, arrest, and even death) without using violence have great power to show the oppressor. Despite repeated attempts to stop the protesters from attaining the same rights enjoyed by all others, they just kept coming back. The message was and, as we have seen with the latest “Black Lives Matter” marches and protests, is powerful. For a while, the nonviolent protest strategies used by John Lewis changed the hearts and minds of many – but not all. And he lived just long enough to see how his efforts and those he orchestrated can still be taken away. Meaning the fight goes on, and we must be prepared to continue. 

Indeed, the disability rights movement would not have existed without an understanding of how John Lewis and those of like mind showed this country what injustice looks like and why it can not be tolerated.

“You must be bold, brave, and courageous and find a way… to get in the way.”*

“I want to see young people in America feel the spirit of the 1960s and find a way to get in the way. To find a way to get in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble.”*

CCDC also sees the involvement of young people with disabilities as a top priority as we navigate through very uncertain times – viewing the progress we have made and seeing what is left for us to do or do over again.

“I say to people today, you must be prepared if you believe in something. If you believe in something, you have to go for it. As individuals, we may not live to see the end.”*

“Never give up. Never give in. Never become hostile . . . HATE is too big a burden to bear.”*

Image of the young, Black student, Anne Moody “sitting-in” at an “All Whites” lunch counter being taunted and tormented by many young white people expressing disapproval. Photo courtesy of the Jackson Free Press.
Image of the young, Black student, Anne Moody “sitting-in” at an “All Whites” lunch counter being taunted and tormented by many young white people expressing disapproval. Photo courtesy of the Jackson Free Press.

Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy from Fisk University after graduating from The American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee. As a student and member of the Nashville Student Movement, he was responsible for organizing sit-ins at segregated lunch counters.

When you see something that is not right, not fear, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.”*

In 1961, Lewis, as one of the Freedom Riders, was beaten by angry mobs, arrested, and at times, taken to jail.

We were determined not to let any act of violence keep us from our goal. We knew our lives could be threatened, but we had made up our minds not to turn back,” Lewis said towards the end of his life regarding his perseverance following the acts of violence.*

Images of John Lewis being arrested during nonviolent protests. The picture on the left courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine “John Lewis’ Arrest Records are Finally Uncovered Smart News.”
Images of John Lewis being arrested during nonviolent protests.
Image courtesy of The Tennesseen, “John Lewis recalls being carried out of sit-in.”
Image courtesy of The Tennesseen, “John Lewis recalls being carried out of sit-in.” Pictures courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine “John Lewis’ Arrest Records are Finally Uncovered Smart News.”

In 1963, he became the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the youngest chairman ever to have led the organization that focused solely upon enforcing the civil rights of Black Americans through the use of nonviolent protest. Before that, he was an active participant in the Nashville Student Movement, whose first mission was to desegregate lunch counters, which were ultimately successful.

“Some of us give a little blood for the right to participate in the democratic process.”*

Many reports state that before becoming a United States Representative, John Lewis was arrested and beaten 40 times during non-violent protests and five times after his election. Despite all of the mistreatment, terrible beatings, arrests for engaging in activity already protected by the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the United States Constitution (like voting), Lewis had this to say:

“If you’re not hopeful and optimistic, then you give up. You have to take the long hard look and just believe that if you’re consistent, you will succeed.”*

Image of 23-year-old John Morris speaking at the March on Washington for Jobs in Freedom on August 28, 1963, the same day as the famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King. Photo courtesy of the Washington Post “At the 1963 March on Washington, civil rights leaders asked John Lewis to tone his speech down.”
Image of 23-year-old John Morris speaking at the March on Washington for Jobs in Freedom on August 28, 1963, the same day as the famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King. Photo courtesy of the Washington Post “At the 1963 March on Washington, civil rights leaders asked John Lewis to tone his speech down.”

John Lewis was also the youngest speaker during the March on Washington in 1963. He was asked to tone down his speech for being “too radical.”

Photo of sit-in protest staged by Congressman John Lewis for the purpose of getting the Senate to pass gun control legislation courtesy of CNN.com Democrats and House sit-in protest over gun control;”
Photo of sit-in protest staged by Congressman John Lewis for the purpose of getting the Senate to pass gun control legislation courtesy of CNN.com Democrats and House sit-in protest over gun control;”
Sit-in protest by disability rights advocates at the office of Sen. Cory Gardner (pictured are Carrie Ann Lucas and other prominent activists in the disability community) courtesy of the Washington Examiner “Protesters arrested at Sen. Cory Gardner’s office after two-day sit-in protesting healthcare bill.
Sit-in protest by disability rights advocates at the office of Sen. Cory Gardner (pictured are Carrie Ann Lucas and other prominent activists in the disability community) courtesy of the Washington Examiner “Protesters arrested at Sen. Cory Gardner’s office after two-day sit-in protesting healthcare bill.

Many of the strategies and decision-making that went into the protests organized in large part by John Lewis and SNCC were then used by those in the disability rights movement that created organizations like ADAPT and CCDC. The sit-in protests were continued by John Lewis even when he was a member of the House of Representatives. This purpose and meaning behind this particular method of protesting certainly have not been lost on the disability civil rights community.

John Lewis did go on to become the United States Congressional Representative from the Fifth District of the state of Georgia from January 3, 1987, until his death on July 17, 2020. His legislative accomplishments are too many to list, as well as his achievements before becoming a member of Congress.

“If someone had told me in 1963 that one day I would be in Congress, I would’ve said, ‘you’re crazy. You don’t know what you’re talking about.’”*

Not only did John Lewis become a Congressman for the Fifth District of Georgia, but he also served 16 terms in that position. He eventually became the Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight for the House of Representatives Committee and Ways in Means, the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, and the senior chief deputy whip in the Democratic caucus.

In these roles, Representative Lewis accomplished a great deal for not only the Black Community but for all people — the human community.

The disability community and everyone who works for the social justice of all people and recognize as John Lewis did —

“[We] really believe that all of us, as Americans . . . we all need to be treated like fellow human beings.”*

Image of Congressman John Lewis receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama in 2011, as seen in Fortune magazine article “Congressman John Lewis Says Cancer is His Latest Battle.” Carolyn Kaster|Credit: AP. Copyright: AP2011.
Image of Congressman John Lewis receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama in 2011, as seen in Fortune magazine article “Congressman John Lewis Says Cancer is His Latest Battle.” Carolyn Kaster|Credit: AP. Copyright: AP2011.

Unfortunately, the “Conscience of the Congress” is now gone. Fortunately, he survived his pancreatic cancer just long enough to see the creation of the “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and watch those who have been protesting racial injustice and police brutality against Black Americans throughout the country grow to a massive scale.

John Lewis observing Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., where the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” are painted in large yellow letters on 16th St. in Washington, D.C. John Lewis wearing a facial mask and a baseball cap that reads “1619,” courtesy of “How the Black Lives Matter generation remembers John Lewis,” KSTP.com
John Lewis observing Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C., where the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” are painted in large yellow letters on 16th St. in Washington, D.C. John Lewis wearing a facial mask and a baseball cap that reads “1619,” courtesy of “How the Black Lives Matter generation remembers John Lewis,” KSTP.com
Washington, DC. Mayor Muriel Bowser and John Lewis wearing facial masks and standing on the letters of “BLACK LIVES MATTER” painted on 16th St. in Washington, D.C. courtesy of “Civil rights icon John Lewis calls Black Lives Matter mural 'a powerful work of art' during a visit with DC mayor.”
Washington, DC. Mayor Muriel Bowser and John Lewis wearing facial masks and standing on the letters of “BLACK LIVES MATTER” painted on 16th St. in Washington, D.C. courtesy of “Civil rights icon John Lewis calls Black Lives Matter mural ‘a powerful work of art’ during a visit with DC mayor.”

A champion of justice, a believer in peaceful and nonviolent resistance, a fellow human being standing against the oppression of anyone, and one of the few genuinely decent human beings, John Lewis will be missed. Nevertheless, the young activist individuals who joined the House of Representatives in 2018 are there in no small part due to the legacy of John Lewis.  At this critical time in American history, we must all follow Lewis’s words of wisdom and continue our commitment to social justice for all people, including people with disabilities. Rest assured, CCDC will carry on fighting – just as the “Conscience of the Congress” did and expected others to do as well.

Free COVID-19 Testing Available

Denver Public Health is offering Free COVID-19 Testing. Test results are available within approximately three (3) – five (5) business days. All are welcome regardless of insurance and immigration status. Visit any of our sites.

Monday, July 20, 2020
9:00AM-1:00PM
1098 S Federal Blvd., (Mississippi & Federal)
Denver, CO 80219

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020
9:00AM-1:00PM
Re:Vision
3800 Morrison Rd,
Denver, CO 80219

Friday, July 24, 2020
9:00AM-1:00PM
Swansea Rec Center
2650 E 49th Ave.
Denver, CO 80216

Saturday, July 25, 2020
10:00AM-2:00PM
Montbello High School
5000 Crown Blvd.
Denver, CO 80239

July 30th
9:00AM-1:00PM
Servicios De La Raza
3131 W 14th Ave,
Denver, CO 80204
The Stapleton Foundation’s be well initiative is a grassroots movement of communities coming together to take charge of their health and wellness.

Virtual Lobby Day Is Next Week! Call to Action

National Low-Income Housing Coalition                                       View this email in your browser

The U.S. Senate will move on a COVID-19 spending package before the end of July. The window is closing for needed advocacy. The time to act is now!

NLIHC and our partners throughout the country have been hard at work urging Congress to adopt our key priorities in the next COVID legislative package, including $100 billion in emergency rental assistance, a national eviction moratorium, and $11.5 billion in Emergency Solutions Grant funding for homeless service providers. Now is the time for advocates to take action to demand #RentReliefNow!

Participate in a Virtual Lobby Day on July 21!

When the Senate returns to work on July 20, they will begin discussions and negotiations on a spending package to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recession. Any final bill must include the housing provisions of HEROES Act that has passed in the House of Representatives. In this crucial moment, join NLIHC and numerous national partners by setting up virtual lobby visits throughout the day on Tuesday, July 21.

NLIHC’s toolkit makes your participation easy. The toolkit includes talking points, statistics, a template email to request a meeting, a list of top policy asks, and sample tweets. NLIHC staff are also available to help set up and attend your virtual meetings if such assistance is needed. Please reach out to your housing advocacy organizers for more information; we look forward to assisting you in your advocacy!

If you have meetings already setup for Virtual Lobby Day, let us know by emailing any of the organizers on NLIHC’s field team or by filling out this quick form to submit your meeting. When your lobby meetings are done, please also complete this Lobby Visit Report Back Form. Even if you have done a meeting in the past couple of days or will do one or more on other days next week, we’ll still count that for our total. And be sure to tweet about your meetings by tagging your member of Congress and using the hashtag #RentReliefNow!
Thank you for your advocacy!

National Low Income Housing CoalitionThe National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.

Contact Us:
National Low Income Housing Coalition
1000 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington DC 20005
202-662-1530 x247

www.nlihc.org

The Denver Commission for People with Disabilities is seeking applicants!

The mission of Denver’s Commission for People with Disabilities is to promote equity for people with disabilities through empowerment, advocacy, and education by working with community members, and City and County of Denver officials and employees who have the ability to affect change.

The Commission is seeking candidates with experience in one or all of the following fields:

  • Writing
  • Decision making
  • Project Management
  • Marketing/Social Media
  • Team management

Individuals with disabilities as well as community representatives with expertise, understanding, and experience in these specific areas are encouraged to apply. Applications are also accepted from individuals who are not living with a disability but have a strong interest in serving the disability community.

The Commission meets the first Tuesday of the month from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205) in Studio 106. Due to COVID-19 closures and social distancing measures, meetings will be open to the public via video conferencing technology. Please check our Facebook page for upcoming meeting announcements and access information.

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the upcoming commission meetings. Interested applicants should apply here and attach a copy of their resume.

The deadline for applications is Monday, August 3, 2020.

People with Disabilities Prayed for by Strangers – a Research Survey

A research study from the University of Colorado Denver is asking for help from the disability community.  They are seeking individuals with disabilities who have had a stranger tell them they will pray for them. The goal of the study is to identify patterns within experiences.

To qualify for the 5 to 10-minute survey, you must:

  • Be an adult between the ages of 18-89
  • Live in the U.S.
  • Have a disability in any one or more of these categories
    • ambulatory
    • hearing
    • independent living
    • self-care
    • vision
  • Have experienced a stranger offering to pray for you

The study is limited to adults with only these disabilities because we are unable to meet the requirements needed to administer it for adults with any cognitive disabilities. If you have a cognitive disability, we, unfortunately, cannot collect your information at this time. (Cognitive disability is defined as having difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions because of a physical, mental, or emotional problem.)

The study will collect demographic information and sentiments felt about this experience. Demographic information consists of disability status, age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income range, and religious participation.

The survey will not record anyone’s name, email address, or other identifying information.

If you are willing to spend five to ten minutes answering a few questions, please follow this link: People with Disabilities Prayed for by Strangers

Transit Updates

 

by Jaime Lewis - CCDC Transit Advocate and Advisor

July 9, 2020

  • Invest in America Act

  • RTD Reimagine

  • Rural Transportation

  • COVID- 19

  • Summary


1. Invest in America Act

State and County governments have struggled for two decades to fund repairs for roads and bridges.  Rising costs and dwindling gas tax revenues have left most of the roads and bridges in our state at near or below standards.

Congress is currently debating the Invest Act.  The Invest Act is a sub-portion of the larger act called the “Moving Forward Act” that will address housing, climate change, water, and land use.  Four highlights of the Invest Act are,

  • States would get more money to end traffic violence.  Thirty percent increase in road safety funding and sixty percent increase for bike lanes and sidewalks.  These percentages seem like a large increase but it must be noted that funding for these categories was small, to begin with.  It will be imperative to monitor and influence the way these funds will be spent.  Organizations like Mile High Connects, Denver Streets Partnership, Bicycle Colorado, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, and citizens like you will be essential to ensure monies are spent properly.
  • Departments of Transportation would have to fix existing roads before building new ones.  This issue may not appear to be a primary issue for someone who does not own a vehicle.  However, inter-connectivity across older roads, i.e. sidewalks, bicycle paths will help eliminate communities from being separated.
  • Congestion pricing is a tool that governments will be looking at closely.  Charging drivers during peak traffic periods may become a benefit to transit riders.  Some of the restrictions on using congestion pricing are that the jurisdiction cannot charge transit vehicles.  Roads designated for congestion pricing would also have to have a low-income alternative for the same route, i.e. bus, train.
  • The act will provide 8.3 billion dollars to lower the carbon footprint.  One of the efforts is to expand the use of E-Vehicles by building more infrastructure to support it.  Debates have already started whether this is a good investment.  Most planners who have been trying to lower the use of single-occupancy vehicles are against filling up our roads with E-vehicles.  In the advent that the population of E-vehicles increases our community must ensure that the product is accessible.

2. REIMAGINE

Two years ago, Dave Genova, former CEO of RTD had a vision.  He wanted to reimagine RTD.  In other words, what would people expect of RTD in 2050?

  • Meetings started shortly after his announcement.  There were an enthusiasm and large participation for the first two meetings.  Unfortunately, the pandemic, sliding economy, and civil unrest redirected the group to focus on service cuts to insure that RTD could survive financially.  The group is assisting RTD in dealing with financial realities, safety concerns, and unrealistic expectations that were placed on the organization two decades ago (trains, trains, trains).
  • No doubt, there will be service reductions for the district.  There will be an emphasis on maintaining and improving the remainder of the district after cuts to service.
  • One of the structures we are trying to maintain is the Access-a-Ride.  Under current policy RTD only provides service ¾ mile from fixed routes.  If routes are to be eliminated or shortened we must insist that AAR remain active in those areas.

3. RURAL TRANSPORTATION

The average length of a car trip is 2-4 miles.  Smaller communities provide little to no transportation for our elderly, disabled, and the general public.  A trip less than 4 miles could mean access to groceries, healthcare, recreation, and social interaction.

  • Rural communities must recognize the importance of keeping their citizens mobile.  Investing in local transportation helps maintain a healthy community and economy.  When local dollars are used to support transportation, those dollars stay in the community.
  • If you identify a small start-up carrier or a struggling transit system in your area start campaigning for local dollars to be invested into them.

4. COVID-19

  • Wear the damn mask!

That’s all I got to say about that.

5. Summary:

CCDC provides this information so you are informed of transit information.  We hope some of you will take this knowledge and use it to share with your local representatives.

  • Attend your local meetings if possible.
    • This includes City Council Meetings or County Commissioner meetings.
    • These government bodies are required to have virtual meetings so that you can participate.
  • Start a conversation.
    • You will be surprised how many elected officials are waiting for good input from you.

4 Things to Research Before Launching Your Political Career

Young professional woman speaking on the phone while looking at a laptop. Gives the impressions of someone doing research.

Article by Ed Carter Ablefutures.org | ed.carter@ablefutures.org

Running for office takes courage and determination, but it can also require some research. If you are a person who is living with disabilities and is contemplating getting more involved in politics, completing this research can help you make a more informed decision. Here are some of the essential topics you will need to look into before starting your campaign.  Continue reading “4 Things to Research Before Launching Your Political Career”

2034: The OASI exhausts its asset reserves (if treated separately)

Social Security is actually comprised of two trusts:

  • The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust, which provides payouts to retired workers and survivors of deceased workers; and
  • The Disability Insurance (DI) trust, which supplies payments to workers that are long-term disabled.

When the Trustees examine the long-term outlook for Social Security, they hypothetically combine the financials of these two trusts into one (known as the OASDI). But if these two trusts were examined individually, the OASI is in far greater danger of exhausting its asset reserves sooner. Based on the latest report, the OASI is expected to deplete its asset reserves by 2034, at which point benefit cuts would become necessary to sustain solvency.

Read the full article here.


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