Disability Rap – August 4, 2017: Disability and Politics with Ted Jackson

August 7, 2017

On the show this month, we interview Ted Jackson, the Community Organizing Consultant with the California Federation of Independent Living Centers. We talk with Ted about disability rights and inequality issues, both here in California and nationally. Ted worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign and now works for the Democratic National Committee, so we talk with him about that, too.

Connecting our Community: Yuba and Sutter Counties have a new resource for older adults to get answers and get connected to information.

July 27, 2017

Marysville, CA — Beginning this July, through a grant provided by Agency on Aging Area 4, FREED is the new provider for the Senior Information & Assistance Program in Yuba and Sutter Counties. FREED is your local one-stop shop for any and all of your aging and disability related questions. FREED provides information and assistance to anyone looking for resources related to seniors and people with disabilities such as: housing, transportation, nutrition programs, benefits, legal assistance, in-home support, navigating the healthcare system, community activities, employment, military and veterans support, and much more.  Family members, caregivers and providers can also find helpful resources and support via this service.  
As the aging population grows and people live longer, the demand for information on long term services and support will continue to increase. FREED’s Senior Information & Assistance Program will play a critical role in coordinating access to information and connection to services by providing a single access point into the system. The Senior Information & Assistance Program will minimize confusion, enhance individual choice, and support informed decision-making through a “no wrong-door” approach to information and assistance.
FREED can help individuals schedule and coordinate legal, AARP tax-preparation, and HICAP Medicare Counseling services. This grant will also support FREED in developing an online resource guide that seniors, people with disabilities, family members, caregivers, providers, and others can access from anywhere at any time.  FREED has staff members who speak English, Spanish, and Hmong and has the ability to access instant translation for over 200 languages.
FREED is committed to helping seniors and persons with disabilities get the information and resources they need to maintain a high quality of life, and we are excited to offer this service to the Yuba-Sutter community.
Individuals can access the Senior Information & Assistance Program Monday through Friday, 8:30AM to 4:00PM by calling 530-742-4474 or TTY: 530-742-2379, by coming to FREED’s office at 508 J Street, Marysville, CA, or by using the contact form on FREED’s website at www.FREED.org.

 

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Come Advocate for Access to Affordable and Accessible Housing in Nevada City – TONIGHT!

July 12, 2017

Tonight, the Nevada City Council will be considering a proposal by Steve Bowden to develop a 0.82-acre parcel at 601 Searls Avenue in Nevada City into a six-unit multi-family housing development. The City requires that “Thirty percent of all homes located in new subdivisions … shall be affordable to moderate and below income households.” The developer is circumventing this requirement by claiming that the units will be “Affordable by Design.”

Please join FREED and Tenants of Nevada County at the City Council meeting in calling for truly affordable and accessible housing in Nevada City.

When: Wednesday, July 12, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

Where: City Hall, 317 Broad Street, Nevada City, CA 95959

Click here to read FREED’s statement: HTML, PDF.

Letter to the Nevada City Council Regarding The Bungalows Housing Development

July 12, 2017

July 12, 2017
Evans Phelps, Mayor
317 Broad Street
Nevada City, CA 95959

Dear Mayor Phelps,

I write to you on behalf of two local organizations. The FREED Center for Independent Living is a resource center for people with disabilities and older adults residing in Nevada, Sierra, Yuba, Sutter, and Colusa Counties. Access to affordable, accessible housing is one of our main focus areas. I am the Disability Community Advocate for FREED.

Tenants of Nevada County was formed in response to the application for approval of The Grove housing project. We are made up of young people, many who grew up here and have returned, others who have come to make a home here and contribute to the life of this place. We need affordable housing and see a greater community need to meaningfully respond to the ongoing housing crisis. We are committed to working on this issue for the long-term. I am a Core Organizer with Tenants of Nevada County.

As you know, The Bungalows housing development is being proposed at 601 Searls Avenue, Nevada City. The proposal was approved by the Nevada City Planning Commission on June 15, 2017 and now is before the City Council. We very much support new housing development and are here to call for more truly accessible housing in Nevada City.

Similar to The Grove project, this developer, Steve Bowden, is circumventing the requirement in Nevada City’s 2014-2019 Housing Element that 30% of all new homes in subdivisions be affordable to moderate- and low-income individuals and families by proposing that the units will be “Affordable by Design.”

The Housing Element states: “Thirty percent of all homes located in new subdivisions shall be 1,500 square feet or smaller. These homes shall be affordable to moderate and below income households. This shall be accomplished through deed restrictions or through an affordable housing plan that includes moderate and below income housing opportunities accomplished through a variety of mechanisms including, but not limited to, size restrictions, rental units, second units, etc.” We commend the City for this language in the Housing Element and ask you to uphold your commitment to assuring that there is access to affordable housing in the City.

The developer is claiming that the inexpensive materials he plans to use, the small size of the units, the proximity to downtown Nevada City, and the cost savings achieved from the sustainable design, will offset both the eventual purchase price and the eventual rental price of the homes he wants to build. FREED and Tenants of Nevada County reject this claim.

Regarding the developer’s proposal, we note that:

1. The developer has not provided any figures for the expected rental price and/or the expected sale price of these units. Without such figures, we can only speculate and do not actually know whether the eventual rental and sale prices will be affordable.

2. The developer has not provided any figures for the expected monthly savings on utilities he claims will be achieved as a result of the energy efficient design of these units. Without such figures, we can only speculate and do not actually know whether the eventual rental and sale prices will be affordable.

3.The fact that this development would be within walking distance of local businesses and public transportation is circumstantial and should not be used as a justification of affordability.

We note that this is the second “Affordable by Design” proposal that has come before the City in recent months. We would like to hear from the City Council whether you think that this “Affordable by Design” model actually meets the needs of moderate- and low-income residents of Nevada County seeking affordable housing in Nevada City. The need for more affordable and accessible housing in our City is clear. We would like to hear from the City Council what strategies can be pursued to expand access to affordable and accessible housing in Nevada City.

One solution is the formation of housing cooperatives. Tenants of Nevada County has started steps towards incorporating a non-profit Limited Equity Housing Cooperative (LEHC) which could purchase built units or raw land and then develop it, assuring affordability in perpetuity. An LEHC takes the responsibility of enforcing and monitoring the affordability requirements away from the developer, homeowner’s association, or the City.

Additionally, while we understand that per CBC Chapter 11A, one of the units of The Bungalows must be accessible and while we understand that all six units have the same floorplan and therefore all would be accessible, at least on the interior, we request copies of the floorplans when they become available so that we can work with the City and the developer to ensure that the accessibility standards are met.

During the last Housing Element cycle, FREED requested that the Element include provisions requiring that 30 percent of all new housing units be designed with “Universal Design” principles. We continue to call for this in order to increase the number of housing units available to meet the needs of people with disabilities in Nevada City.

Thank you for your attention to this very important issue facing Nevada City. We look forward to hearing your responses.

Sincerely,

Carl Sigmond
Disability Community Advocate, FREED
Core Organizer, Tenants of Nevada County
carl@FREED.org

Click here to view this letter as a PDF.

Spaghetti Feed for FREED!

July 5, 2017

Come celebrate FREED and our community with good food and entertainment!

A spaghetti dinner provided by the employee owners of  Recology Yuba-Sutter will take place on Friday, August 25th at 6 pm 

Dinner includes all you can eat spaghetti, salad, bread and dessert.  Wine and beer will be available for purchase, with all proceeds benefiting FREED.

A Silent Auction will offer a wonderful assortment of items donated by local businesses and individuals.

Where? Sutter County Veterans Hall

              1425 Veterans Memorial Cir.

              Yuba City, CA 95993

 

How much? $15 per person

Reserve today: Tickets available at the FREED Marysville office, 508 J Street, 742-4474

or online

Buy Tickets

Take Out Available!

Thanks to our sponsors!

 

 

AB 1200: Aging and Disabilities Resource Connection

June 30, 2017
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As a core partner with the Agency on Aging Area 4 for the Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) of Nevada County, FREED supports AB 1200 (Cervantes) legislation to codify the ADRC program. The bill defines the program, outlines its purpose, establishes standards of operations and requires the Department of Aging and the State Department of Health Care Services to explore reimbursement options.

The ADRC initiative focuses on delivering person centered planning by improving access to long-term services and support (LTSS) so that an individual can receive the right services at the right time and in the right place. These programs provide objective information, advice, counseling and assistance, and ensure that individuals are able to make informed decisions about their services. ADRCs build on the strength of existing community agencies, such as Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and Independent Living Centers (ILC), to provide a single coordinated system of information and access for all persons seeking long-term services and support.

In 2003, the federal Administration on Aging (AoA) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started promoting the ADRC initiative to streamline access to long-term services and supports (LTSS) to assist older adults, persons with disabilities, families, and caregivers. Although federal and state agencies encourage local networks to collaborate on developing ADRCs, there is no statutory authority, thereby limiting the program to only seven sites throughout California.

The ADRC program needs and deserves the support of the Legislature to ensure that the program becomes an integral component of the long-term support and services delivery system.

Click here for more information about the AB 1200 bill.

Our Community: Aging & Disability Conference – July 19, 2017

June 21, 2017

Our Community: An Aging & Disability Conference

July 19, 2017

9am – 4pm

Gold Miners Inn, Grass Valley

(more…)

2017 Disability Capitol Action Day

June 16, 2017

Approximately 30 FREED consumers, staff, and Board members from Grass Valley, Nevada City, Marysville, and Yuba City traveled to Sacramento on Tuesday for the 13th annual Disability Capitol Action Day. We joined over 400 people from across the state who gathered at Cesar Chavez Plaza on I Street for a disability resource fair and rally. We then marched the three blocks to the State Capitol where some of us met with legislative staff to advocate for single-payer health care, continued funding of supports to those with traumatic brain injuries, and the ability for those on Supplemental Security Income or other means tested government benefits to save money for disability-related expenses.

Speakers at the rally included CA Assemblymember Rudy Salas who introduced AB763, which provides state funding to the 28 Independent Living Centers in California. Other people spoke about actions on the Federal level, including the serious threat to Medicaid funding proposed in the House of Representatives’ American Health Care Act, and provisions in the ADA Education and Reform Act which would de-incentivize businesses from having accessible buildings and facilities. FREED’s Board member, William Reed, told the crowd what it is like for him to be an IHSS provider and encouraged us to speak to our legislators about the issues we most care about.

Disability Capitol Action Day is organized each year by the Disability Action Coalition, and this year’s theme was access to health care. We marched from Cesar Chavez Plaza to the State Capitol, chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Medicare for all is the way to go,” and “What do we want? Medicaid. When do we want it? Now.”

During our visits to legislative offices after lunch, community members expressed strong support for SB562, the Healthy California Act, which would establish a single-payer health care system for all Californians. We met with staffers for State Senators and Assemblymembers representing Grass Valley / Nevada City and Marysville / Yuba City. We encouraged them to support SB562. We also thanked them for their support of SB398, (the TBI bill). This piece of legislation provides supports and services to people with traumatic brain injuries. FREED is a provider of these services. Some of our consumers with traumatic brain injuries were at the visits and spoke about how useful and life-changing the programs are for them.

The day was filled with a sense of solidarity and unification across the ability spectrum and a sense of hope for our ongoing journey to increase the rights and resources for people with disabilities. At the rally in the morning, Lydia X. Z. Brown spoke to the need for us to create an intersectional movement. “Those who have the privilege and the power in our community need to be using that privilege and that power to speak with and to lift up those of us who don’t have the same privilege and power,” they said. “Those of us who for too long have been excluded and at the margins even within our own movement need to be at the forefront leading our way forward, demanding our right to life, our right to justice… We’ve still got to fight to make sure that there is a tomorrow and that the next generation of young disabled folks, particularly those who are otherwise marginalized, know that there is a future.”

Jail and Bail Fundraiser 2017

March 8, 2017

It’s time for the annual Jail and Bail Fundraiser, sponsored by KNCO. Several of FREED’s kind supporters are heading to “Jail” and will be collecting “Bail” in order to get out, and to support FREED! Check out the BAIL WANTED posters below, and click on the button below your favorite jailee to help pay their bail through PayPal. You may also call FREED at 477-3333 to pledge bail to your favorite “prisoner”.

The real fun takes place on Thursday, April 20th: First check The Union in the morning for Mug Shots of our “jailees” then tune in to KNCO radio. The KNCO Meeting Room becomes a jail. The Jailers (KNCO Staff) interview their prisoners on air, and this is the chance for them to thank and acknowledge those who contributed “bail” and to talk about the organizations they are supporting. FREED would like to thank KNCO and The Union for all the years of sponsoring and supporting the Jail & Bail Fundraiser – since 1995 according to our records!!!!!

 

Your PG&E Bill May be Increasing Dramatically! – How to Get Involved

February 24, 2017

Most Californians will soon see a change in the way they are billed for electricity: the center for accessible technology wants to hear from you about what this will mean

What is changing about my electricity rates?

Right now, most households pay for electricity with tiered rates.  When you use electricity, the initial rate each month is the lowest rate available.  If your usage goes above a set level, the amount you pay for the additional usage is higher than the initial rate.  People who use the most electricity pay the highest rate, while people who limit their usage can stay within the lowest “tier.”

Over the next few years, the major utilities in California will be switching most customers from the tiered structure to a “time of use” or TOU rate structure, where rates are higher during the time of day where there is the most demand on the electric grid (likely to be late afternoon and through the evening) and lower during other times of day.

Why is my rate structure changing?

There are many factors involved in the decision (made by the California Public Utilities Commission) to change most customers to a TOU rate structure, most of which relate to the state’s energy and climate goals.

  • Higher rates at times of high demand are intended to encourage customers to shift their usage to other times of day, which will help manage the flow of energy through the power grid.
  • Lower rates at times of day when solar power is abundant are intended to support California’s commitment to clean energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

What does this mean for me?

While the purpose of the change to TOU rates is to support important energy and climate goals, it may create problems for many customers who cannot easily shift their energy usage.  This is a particular concern for customers who live in hot climate zones, including the Central Valley and the desert areas of California.

Most customers will see their summer bills go up with a change to TOU rates.  A substantial number, but by no means all (or even most) will see that offset by lower bills in the winter.  If a customer can shift their energy usage to lower-cost times, they can offset any increases, or even see bill decreases.  But a customer who is unable to shift their usage may see a substantial overall increase in their annual cost of energy.  Customers who use a lot of electricity are most likely to see their bills go down, while those who use less energy are more likely to see their bills go up.

Do you want to find out more about these changes? And what can you do?

The Center for Accessible Technology is conducting short (20 minute) telephone interviews and is inviting customers to complete a survey about household energy use.  These tools will allow us to collect information and potential concerns from customers about the upcoming changes to their rate structure. We can also provide information on how to “opt out” of the change if you prefer.  By providing your story about your electricity usage and how any change in rate structure may affect your quality of life, you will help us submit important information to the California Public Utilities Commission, which is considering whether to exempt groups of customers from the change. It WILL make a difference.

YOUR VOICE MATTERS!

If you are interested in being interviewed, please email Kate Woodford at kwoodford@cforat.org, or call 510-841-3224 x 2017 to schedule a telephone interview. Evening and weekend interviews are available. We look forward to speaking with you and hearing your important story.