December 3, 2017
The Haverhill Commission on Disability Issues held their November Meeting Wednesday Nov. 29th at 1:30 pm in room 3 of the Haverhill Citizen’s Center. Attendee Dana Lovell mentioned that Mayor Fiorentini was starting a committee for a new master plan and wants to represent the Commission on the committee.
October 5, 2017
New Mass Rehab Commissioner Toni Wolf came up to the Northeast Independent Living Program, Inc. and met with about 20 consumers on October 4th, 2017. The most interesting ides to come out of the meeting is Ed Walsh from Salisbury’s idea to build a non-profit apartment house exclusively for persons with disabilities somewhere in the Merrimck Valley. It wall have 56 subsides units, Every tenant will have his or her pca.
May 29th was the 100th birthday of President John F. Kennedy. One could say he was the father of the disability movement. JFK. himself was disabled. He hurt his back in WWII. But in those days nobody realized in. Then if you had a disability you tried to hide it.
The president had a sister, Rose Mary who had an intellectual disability. That’s why they started the Special Olympics.
INDEPENDENT LIVING MOVEMENT
In the 1970s a group of persons with disabilities in the University of Berkeley, California, decided they did not want to live in institutions anymore. So they started the first independent living center or ILC where consumers would be in charge of hiring and firing their own Personal Care Attendants. ILCs would be run by other persons with disabilities who have already gone through the system and teach others whats available.such as: about social security and how to advocate for themselves.
In the 1970s with the birth of the Independent Living Movements we saw disability advocates push for two major pieces of legislation. The first was The Rehab Act of 1973 The Rehab Act said any entity that receives federal funds can not discriminate against any person with a disability.
The other piece of legislation is the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. With all this there was a lot state and local advisory groups popping up. We have one here in Haverhill.
At the present time
Mass health is trying to crack down on fraud in the PCA. program. I’m the first to admit there’s fraud but I don’t agree with how they’re trying to fight it. They want the PCAs to mark down everything they do for the consumer and how long it takes A few months ago I caught one of my PCA’s putting down more hours than he work. So I fired him. He filed for unemployment but was over ruled. I tried reporting him but couldn’t get anywhere. Most PCAs do a very good job but like every thing else there are a few bad apples. Don’t punish the many for the actions of a few. Hire some more agents so when consumers call to complain they can look into it.