ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV) - Empowering People to Live Independently.

ECNV Applauds Arlington County Board for Increasing Accessible Taxicabs

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brianna Gross -- 703/673-4497 -- briannag@ecnv.org

Arlington, VA, December 15, 2014 – The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV) applauds the Arlington County Board for unanimously voting to approve 60 new certificates for wheelchair-accessible taxicabs. The motion, approved Saturday, will increase the number of accessible taxicabs in Arlington from 37 to 97 out of 787 total cabs.

“What we’re talking about is freedom, accessibility and independence,” said ECNV Board Vice Chair Lee Page. Page testified at the meeting, as did ECNV Advocacy Director Doris Ray.

”Wheelchair-accessible taxicabs help people with disabilities live independently in their communities,” said ECNV Communications Manager Brianna Gross. “People with disabilities need access to transportation options that allow for spontaneous travel. If a person with a disability needs to get to the hospital, scheduling for paratransit services is not an option. Neither is waiting up to three hours for an accessible cab, which is what people in Arlington have reported due to the limited amount of such cabs on the road. In order to gain independence and equality, people with disabilities need equal access to transportation options.”

Of the 60 new certificates, 10 were awarded to Arlington Blue Top Cab, which already has nine wheelchair-accessible cabs in its fleet. The remaining 50 were awarded to All Access Taxi, which will become the first 100 percent wheelchair-accessible taxi company in the region. All Access Taxi is expected to begin operating this spring.

The entire County Board supported increasing wheelchair-accessible taxis. Board Member John Vihstadt (I) raised the first motion, and Vice Chair Mary H. Hynes (D) made the successful proposal to issue 60 certificates.

“ECNV is thrilled the Arlington County Board is increasing the number of wheelchair-accessible cabs,” said ECNV Executive Director Brewster Thackeray. “This decision is a major step forward for people with disabilities in Arlington."

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The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV) is a community-based resource and advocacy center which is managed by and for people with disabilities. ECNV promotes independent living (IL) philosophy and equal access for all persons with disabilities. We operate from a philosophy of consumer control and peer-to-peer relationships to empower people with all types of disabilities to direct their own lives.

New Statistics Document Ongoing Challenges for People with Disabilities

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brianna Gross -- 703/673-4497 -- briannag@ecnv.org

Arlington, VA, December 5, 2014 – Progress for people with disabilities comes slowly – when it can be documented at all, according to the 2014 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium and Annual Report released this week. Staff from the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, the regional center for independent living (CIL), attended the release in Washington, D.C. The University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability has published the statistics annually since 2009. The statistics compare employment, poverty, earnings, health, benefits, and education for people with and without disabilities by state as well as nationally.

In Virginia, 11.3 percent of the population living in the community has a disability. 36.9 percent of people with disabilities between 18 and 64 years old are employed, compared to 76.9 percent of people without disabilities. The employment rate of people with disabilities has seen miniscule change from 2012, when it was 36.3 percent. Furthermore, the poverty rate of people with disabilities in Virginia is 24.6 percent compared to 10 percent of people without disabilities. The disability employment and poverty statistics for Virginia are comparable to national statistics.

“These statistics represent individual people who are not having an equal chance to participate in and benefit from our society,” said Brewster Thackeray, Executive Director of ECNV. “ECNV works directly with these individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, often caught in a cycle of poverty, but working diligently to get the services and supports they need to live independently. This study helps to make the case that people with disabilities need better access to opportunities.”

The release of the Compendium also focused on the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project: Health and Health Care Disparities among Individuals with Disabilities, which found that not enough research has been done on health care for people with disabilities. People with disabilities are less likely to receive clinical preventative services like mammograms than people without disabilities. While people with disabilities can report having good health, they have worse physical, mental, and chronic health outcomes than people without disabilities. This is often due to lack of access to care and the lower quality of care for people with disabilities.

Please click here to read the 2014 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium and Annual Report.

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The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV) is a community-based resource and advocacy center which is managed by and for people with disabilities. ECNV promotes independent living (IL) philosophy and equal access for all persons with disabilities. We operate from a philosophy of consumer control and peer-to-peer relationships to empower people with all types of disabilities to direct their own lives.

ENDependence Center Salutes Governor McAuliffe for Prioritizing Integrated Accessible Housing in Executive Order

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brianna Gross -- 703/673-4497 -- briannag@ecnv.org

Arlington, VA, October 31, 2014 – The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV), a resource and advocacy center for people with disabilities in Northern Virginia, applauds Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Executive Order prioritizing integrated accessible housing for people with disabilities.

Governor McAuliffe issued Executive Order Number 32 on Thursday which plans to increase access to affordable housing in order to reduce homelessness and expand opportunities for people with disabilities to live in the community. ECNV has for more than three decades helped people with disabilities transition out of nursing homes and other institutionalized settings into their communities. Through peer counseling, the Personal Assistant Registry, and Medicaid Waiver programs, ECNV helps individuals with disabilities find accessible housing and ensures they have the services necessary to live independently.

“People with disabilities overwhelmingly prefer to live in their communities rather than institutionalized settings such as nursing homes,” said ECNV Executive Director Brewster Thackeray. “Living in institutions limits an individual’s freedom, ability to find employment, and opportunities to actively participate in his or her community. However, affordable accessible housing is limited and the majority of options available have long waitlists.”

“Governor McAuliffe’s Executive Order gives us hope that his Administration, working with the General Assembly, will spur state policies and programs that will provide incentives to developers to increase the stock of fully accessible units available to people with disabilities at all income levels,” Thackeray concluded.

To read the Executive Order, please click here.

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The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV) is a community-based resource and advocacy center which is managed by and for people with disabilities. ECNV promotes independent living (IL) philosophy and equal access for all persons with disabilities. We operate from a philosophy of consumer control and peer-to-peer relationships to empower people with all types of disabilities to direct their own lives.

James Brady, Also a Noted Disability Advocate

Disability can strike any person at any moment. Nobody personified this fact more than James S. Brady, who woke up able-bodied on March 30, 1981, but barely survived the day. Jim Brady, who passed away on August 4 at 73, was shot in the head during John Hinckley’s assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. The President, hit by a bullet that ricocheted off his limousine, fully recovered. Mr. Brady was left with major permanent disabilities that he lived with for more than 33 years. His massive brain injury impacted him physically -- he was partially paralyzed and used a wheelchair -- and mentally.

Jim Brady’s name was incorporated into the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence that his wife Sarah chaired, and he was commemorated in the name of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (also known as the Brady Bill). Less well-known than his gun control activity was Mr. Brady’s work as a disability advocate. It has been little detailed in the media coverage of his passing, but he was the Vice Chairman of the National Organization on Disability for many years, a post in which he was succeeded by another famous leader whose life changed in a random moment, Christopher Reeve.

After accepting Founding President Alan Reich’s invitation to become N.O.D.’s Vice Chairman in 1989, Mr. Brady advocated passionately for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. His support was important to the passage of this bipartisan bill, which President Bush signed in 1990. A lifelong Republican who had taken a bullet serving Ronald Reagan, Mr. Brady was in a strong position to make the case, as he put it, that “People with disabilities – the largest minority in the U.S. – were left out of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964… Congress has a chance to correct this injustice.” [His excellent op-ed on the topic in the New York Times can still be read at: http://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/29/opinion/save-money-help-the-disabled.html ]

Nobody chooses to have a disability. Mr. Brady was a champion of disability rights who used his experience to advocate for opportunities for his fellow Americans with disabilities.

Brewster Thackeray
Executive Director
ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia

Mr. Thackeray was Vice President of the National Organization on Disability and had the privilege to work with Mr. Brady.

Northern Virginia Disability Advocates Join Two National Rallies in DC Tuesday

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brianna Gross -- 703/673-4497 -- briannag@ecnv.org

Washington, D.C., July 29, 2014 – Staff, Board members, and other affiliates of the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia (ECNV) will join disability advocates from around the nation at two major rallies at the United States Capitol on Tuesday, July 29th. They will advocate for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and domestic legislative priorities. The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) Annual March and Rally, and the Rally for the CRPD organized by the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USCID), will draw hundreds of disability rights advocates from across the country. ECNV and other local and national disability rights organizations are participating in the rallies to show their support for disability rights issues including the CRPD.

“ECNV is proud to join with NCIL and other disability rights organizations to advocate for the CRPD,” said Brewster Thackeray, Executive Director of ECNV. “Coming just days after the 24th anniversary of the ADA, we are motivated to keep up the momentum to ensure full independence and opportunities for people with disabilities in our country and worldwide.”

The CRPD is an international treaty to protect the rights of people with disabilities around the world. 147 countries have ratified the CRPD, but in 2012 the U.S. Senate fell 5 votes short of ratification. The Senate decided to take up the CRPD again, and on July 22, 2014 the CRPD was passed out of the Foreign Relations Committee. The next step is for a Senate Floor vote. Over 750 U.S. disability rights groups support the CRPD as well as civil rights groups, faith organizations, veterans groups, and major business groups.

The NCIL rally begins with a march from the Grand Hyatt at H & 10th Streets NW, with the rally itself at the Capitol Reflecting Pool/Union Square at 11:30 a.m. It is a part of an annual week-long conference for disability rights activists. Following the rally, NCIL will conduct visits to Congressional offices to advocate for the CRPD and other legislative priorities including funding for affordable accessible housing, employment equality, and thanking Congress for passing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The disability community will also honor Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), a long time disability advocate, who will retire after this term.

The CRPD Rally will depart from the site of the NCIL rally about 12:15.

Please click here for more information on the CRPD.
Please click here for more information on the NCIL rally.

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The ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV) is a community-based resource and advocacy center which is managed by and for people with disabilities. ECNV promotes independent living (IL) philosophy and equal access for all persons regardless of disability. We operate from a philosophy of consumer control and peer-to-peer relationships to empower people with physical, mental, cognitive and sensory disabilities to direct their own lives.