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ADAPT Advocates Get Commitments From HUD And NGA
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC--Disability rights activists in the nation's capital this week secured commitments of assistance from the top government housing official and from the National Governors Association.

Following the arrest Monday of 104 activists in the offices of Congressional leaders, members from the grassroots advocacy group ADAPT on Tuesday simultaneously visited both the offices and home of Alphonso Jackson, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Jackson came out from his office to meet with advocates -- a first for a HUD secretary -- and agreed to work with ADAPT to implement federal housing vouchers for people with disabilities moving out of nursing homes and other institutions.

"We are pleased that Sec. Jackson did what no HUD Secretary before him has done, namely, come to us in the street, outside the HUD fortress, and pledge to work together to improve the lives of people with disabilities," said Shona Eakin, Pennsylvania ADAPT Organizer.

On Wednesday, activists showed up at the Hall of the States, where the office for the National Governor's Association is located. There, they successfully pushed NGA officials to fax a list of ADAPT demands to the offices of all fifty state governors. That list includes a request that governors support restoring $10 billion in proposed federal cuts to Medicaid, halting Medicaid cuts on the state level and supporting a measure to address long-term care services, durable medical equipment, assistive technology, service animals and community-based housing for Katrina evacuees with disabilities.

Advocates also repeated their demands that governors support MiCASSA, the Medicaid Community-Based Attendant Services and Supports Act, and MFP, the Money Follows the Person Act. The federal measures would grant allow Medicaid recipients to use their long-term care dollars for community services rather than nursing facilities. Currently, more than 70 cents of every Medicaid long-term care dollar goes toward nursing homes and other institutions.

"The NGA promised to fax our demands to all the governors," said Barbara Toomer of Salt Lake City Utah. "Every one in ADAPT can now go home and pressure their individual governors to make things happen."

Advocates for community and in-home supports have drawn opposition over the years from the nursing home industry and other organizations that want more money to go to their institutions.

Related items from ADAPT:
"Katrina's Impact on the Disability Community"
"ADAPT Gets Commitment From HUD Secretary Jackson on Voucher Implementation"
"The Disability Community will not be overlooked, or left behind"
"ADAPT Accentuates the Weeks Message, Makes Demands on the NGA"
MiCASSA: S. 401 and HR 910
The Money Follows the Person Act (MFP): S. 528 HR 3063


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