May 2020 SILC Newsletter Sharing Information Loud and Clear

For Immediate Release
May 1, 0020

Contact: Carrie England, Executive Director, State Independent Living Council (SILC).

Sharing Information Loud and Clear MAY 2020

In This Issue:

  • Message from the Chairperson
  • Stay SPIL Involved! (SPIL Hearings)
  • June 2020 SILC Meeting
  • Marin Center for Independent Living Response to COVID-19
  • DAC Response to COVID-19
  • Global Accessibility Awareness Day
  • National Stuttering Awareness Week
  • Mobility Awareness Month
  • State of California COVID - 19 Resources and Guidance
  • Friendship Line

photo description: Woman reading Braille, wheelchair user on beach facing away from camera with arms raised triumphantly, and two smiling women posing for photo

Photo description: Peter Mendoza, SILC Chairperson

Message From The Chair

Greetings Independent Living Leaders and Community Members,

Back in March, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay at home order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. In response to this executive order, the physical SILC office remains closed and SILC staff continue to work from home until further notice. Staff have done an excellent job at transitioning to a remote environment and have shown great flexibility in the planning of future SILC meetings and upcoming State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) Hearings. Kudos to staff!

In the coming weeks, the SILC encourages all community partners to use service delivery approaches that allow for maximum physical distancing (such as telework, video conferencing, and virtual approaches) until the Governor indicates the stay at home order and physical distancing rules can be relaxed. This helps to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and helps to keep our valued community safe.

The SILC wants to express gratitude to the IL Network, and particularly to our Independent Living Centers and State Agency partners, who are working so hard to make sure the needs of Californians with disabilities are not forgotten and that people have the resources they need to remain independent through the pandemic. The SILC commends you for the innovative ways you have found to reach out to your stakeholders and meet the needs of your communities.

Going forward, the SILC needs your involvement! We need you to provide feedback and comments on our 2021-2023 SPIL draft language. The SPIL is a detailed three-year plan that sets the parameters and establishes the goals for the provision of Independent Living services in California. The SPIL also outlines how the Title VIIB Funding will be utilized in the state. Please join us for our SPIL Hearings on May 14 and 15, and for our next full council meeting on June 2.  These meetings will be held virtually on the Zoom platform. Sign Language Interpreting and Captioning will be provided. 

For many people, using Zoom is new. If you need assistance using this platform, don’t hesitate to reach out to SILC Staff who are happy to provide you with guidance and walk you through the process of participating in these meetings. You can reach us by emailing to or by contacting the SILC Executive Director, Carrie England, at

In Unity and Solidarity,

Peter T. Mendoza



photo description: road sign pointing left, white with black letters which say "Independence"

Please see the proposed draft language for the 2021-2023 California State Plan for Independent Living.

The SPIL Hearings will be captioned and an ASL Interpreter will be provided. If other disability-related accommodations are required for your participation, please contact the SILC at at least 5 business days before the meeting. After that deadline the SILC will make every effort to meet accessibility needs, but cannot guarantee to do so.


SPIL Hearing - May 14, 2020

2:00 PM -- 3:30 PM

Zoom Meeting weblink

Meeting ID: 921 497 307

Dial by phone (669) 900-6833

One tap mobile +16699006833,,921497307#


SPIL Hearing - May 15, 2020

10:30 AM – 12:00 Noon

Zoom Meeting weblink

Meeting ID: 408 495 165

Dial by phone (669) 900-6833

One tap mobile +16699006833,,408495165#


Alternatively, by Friday May 15 at 5:00pm PDT:

  • Submit additional oral testimony by calling Toll Free (866) 866-7452 or
  • Submit written testimony to email.


Driving Forward the Next State Plan at the June 2020 SILC Meeting

The SILC encourages public comments during the June council meeting, which will be hosted remotely utilizing the zoom platform. At this meeting, we provide an opportunity for the public to provide insights and share concerns to help shape future independent living programs in California.

Public input is critical to the success of SILC and the state’s 28 Independent Living Centers. The SILC is particularly interested in the perspectives of persons living with a disability, chronic condition or health issue, family members of people with disabilities and advocates and community stakeholders concerned with disability rights.

In addition to updates by SILC committee members and staff, state partners and other attendees, the meeting will feature:

  • SILC Officer Elections;
  • Best Practices in Alternate Service Delivery and Program reports from our ILC Partners; 
  • State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) Discussion Session; 
  • State Agency Reports;
  • And SILC Member – Partner Agency Connections! 


When: Tuesday, June 2, from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Meeting Hosted Remotely in Zoom: Weblink:

Meeting ID: 980 0727 3119

Call-In Number: (669) 900-6833

RSVP: To Danielle at (toll free) 1-866-866-7452 voice or  If you are unable to attend the meeting, but would like to provide input, please contact the SILC.

The June SILC Council meeting will be captioned and an ASL Interpreter will be provided. If other disability-related accommodations are required for your participation, please contact the SILC at at least 5 business days before the meeting. After that deadline the SILC will make every effort to meet accessibility needs, but cannot guarantee to do so.


Marin Center for Independent Living Response to COVID-19

Photo description: Front of Marin Center for Independent Living building showing 2 large glass windows with white letters which state “Marin Center for Independent Living” on the left window, and “415-459-6245 and” on the right window

Marin CIL, in 41 years has historically been able to respond to the needs of their communities quickly by gauging what is happening on the local, state, and federal level. The independence of people with disabilities and older adults has always been in the forefront of how they respond to these events including emergencies. While Covid-19 has been an unprecedented event, Marin CIL, in coordination with community partners, has met this challenge head on.

On March 16th, in response to local and state Stay-at-Home orders Marin CIL began the process of transitioning all our programs to a virtual operation and has been fully engaged in providing safety-net services and advocacy in response to this extraordinary Covid-19 pandemic.

During the current pandemic, Marin’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) has once again engaged in county-wide disaster-response efforts. While continuing to provide services virtually, they have also put to use lessons learned from the ADRC’s crisis work during last Fall’s Utility Public Safety Power Shut-off. The ADRC coordinated systematic outreach to consumers, agencies, communities, and community leaders, including senior, disabled, and faith-based programs. For the current disaster response, the ADRC efforts have been focused on county-wide food distribution efforts. The ADRC has played an active role in the development of county-wide food safety protocols and programs and continues to work to ensure that no person with a disability, their family, or older adult goes hungry during the shelter-in-place.

Through the generous support of the Buck Family Fund Marin CIL was able to provide $200 gift cards to consumers to help cover the cost of basic necessities such as food, household items, durable medical equipment and other emerging needs. Also, through the Assistive Technology department they have purchased (provided) 2 wheelchairs and 4 laptops for consumers.

Marin CIL is working with Marin Health and Human Services and the Marin IHSS public authority to create an Emergency backup service for IHSS recipients. The county has utilized the Personal Care Attendants from the Marin CIL registry program on a limited basis while the formal backup program is established. Additional peer counseling is also being provided to consumers and the friends and family who support them.

Marin CIL also serves on the County Well-Check Committee, which is assisting in ensuring that Marin residents who may not have family nearby or access to resources are contacted to ensure that they are safe and help them link to resources and support. Marin CIL is supporting the Marin County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) providing technical assistance and support to people with disabilities, older adults, and others with Access and Functional Needs (AFN). Staff often works in the AFN position at our EOC.

Marin CIL is an active member of the Marin Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). The VOAD ensures that people with disabilities, families with children, and older adults are considered in disaster planning, response, and recovery.

Marin CIL has a strong relationship with Marin Community Clinics and Aging and Adult Services. The ILC assists by connecting consumers who need access to food, financial support, benefits navigation, assistive technology, housing, and personal assistant services by providing a warm referral to the appropriate agency to get consumer the services they need to remain independent in their community. The need for Community Navigation support has grown substantially during this covid-19 event. Marin CIL is continuing their partnership with College of Marin Student Accessibility Services and their next Youth Advocacy Group Meeting is going virtual! They usually have about 10-20 students between the ages of 16-22 years old participate.

This year’s kick-off actually happened last December and has been a tremendous success. The goal is to prepare the students for the next chapter in their life as they travel the road towards their independence. They typically incorporate games and pizza (which is always a hit!). It is an opportunity for students to share their experiences and learn from each other and build friendships and community. The feedback both to Student Accessibility Services at College of Marin and Marin CIL has been extremely positive.

Through systems change advocacy, Marin CIL is moving the needle towards equity on several key initiatives, in partnership with community partners in Marin. Marin CIL has opened a virtual Questionnaire Assistance Center. The Questionnaire Assistance Center is available to answer questions about completing the U.S. Census. To reach Marin CIL’s Questionnaire Assistance Center please call their Census Hotline: (415)234-3840.

Marin CIL is working together with our community organization partners, people with disabilities, older adults, and public officials to identify disparities impacting underserved communities. In response the Marin County Board of Supervisors has approved an emergency resolution to prevent residents, families, and business owners from being evicted because of a sudden loss of income tied to the Covid-19 pandemic. This ban is in effect countywide in every city, town, and unincorporated area of Marin County and lasts until May 31, 2020, unless extended by the Board of Supervisors.  

Additionally, Marin Health and Human Services, with the direction of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, has launched the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This program supports people who are at risk of homelessness and need rental assistance to prevent eviction due to a loss of income from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Marin County Board of Supervisors and the Marin Community Foundation have joined together to provide $2 million in rental assistance to residents whose livelihoods have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Marin CIL credits their team with once again coming together to adapt their services and programs to meet the needs of their communities during this Covid-19 event.

To learn more, visit the Marin CIL webpage.


Disability Action Center (DAC) Response to COVID-19

Photo description: Disability Action Center logo. Orange letters say "DAC" in the center of a stylized stick figure using a wheelchair.

As one might imagine, no one at the Disability Action Center (DAC) envisioned that 2020, the year of their 40th Anniversary, would unfold in the way it has. A year for celebration has become a year for survival. However, it is somewhat comforting to understand that the fight to survive the pandemic is something that they share with – literally – everyone in the world. It is also comforting to know that, thanks to the swift enactment of pandemic safety protocols instituted by our state and county governments, the worst of the pandemic has so far eluded far northern California, including the eight counties served by DAC- Butte (home base), Glenn, Colusa, Tehama, Plumas, Lassen, Shasta, Modoc, and Siskiyou.

Assisting DAC’s consumers in finding and securing safe, affordable and accessible housing has been one of the most requested services for decades. Following the devastating wildfires in Shasta (Carr Fire) and Butte (Camp Fire) Counties, the housing situation in DAC’s service went from bad to abysmal, to be blunt. For example, in the City of Chico, imagine a terribly low vacancy rate of under 2% … and then add 30,000 Camp Fire refugees moving out of shelters and looking for long-term housing. This is a city with a population of just under 100,000. One can, as the saying goes, “do the math.”

Over the past few weeks, DAC has partnered with Butte and Shasta County agencies to shelter consumers and members of the general public facing or living in homeless situations. For the duration of the pandemic stay-at-home directive, individuals and families will be sheltered until at least May 31st. Meanwhile, through a coordinated community effort they are receiving support to pursue long term housing. These new public-private sector partnerships that have developed in response to the pandemic give DAC hope for a brighter future in terms of low-income accessible housing when they finally emerge from the current crisis.

Another pandemic-inspired project DAC is undertaking is to simply, reach out to every DAC consumer, past and present. The goal is to let them know that they are not forgotten; that DAC is here for them and will do their best to meet their needs. DAC strongly encourages their consumers to take this virus seriously no matter their health status. This includes following the safety guidelines set forth by the State and County, rejecting internet/ social media scams, quack remedies, and advice from non-professionals.

DAC understands that the decisions made around our personal conduct have serious, life vs. death implications not just for DAC, but to everyone with whom DAC comes into contact. DAC staff try to share this message with consumers, while empowering them with information to adapt to the current circumstances. 

Two of DAC’s specialty programs, “Older Individuals who are Blind” (OIB), which serves seniors (age 55+) who are experiencing severe vision loss up to, and including, those who are totally blind; and the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) program, are doing particularly well. Although the OIB support groups have been temporarily shuttered, the Chico TBI support group met this week outdoors (in the empty parking lot) with everyone utilizing PPE and social distancing. The meeting was well-attended, with the consumers expressing appreciation for bringing them together and enthusiasm to continue to meet. OIB consumers have enjoyed ongoing telephone-based check-ins with DAC Staff. Their AT devices continue to be provided via U.S. Mail.

Although it may seem to some as a cliché, DAC believes that crises often provide opportunities for good. This pandemic is a great example of that concept. Not only is it testing their resolve and their commitment to carry out DAC’s mission, but they are using the opportunity that the shelter-in-place directive has given them to improve their systems and their services. They believe that they will emerge a stronger, more relevant, and even better-known community organization. And that one day in the not-too-distant future they will celebrate with the community and cut that elusive 40th Anniversary cake.

For more information visit the Disability Action Center webpage.


Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Photo description: Blue letters spell "GAAD" in the center of a circle. The circle is a stylized keyboard and cord stretching around the letters.

Thursday, May 21 2020 marks the ninth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities.

The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Awareness comes first.

To read about some ways in which you can participate in Global Accessibility Awareness Day activities, visit the GAAD website.


National Stuttering Awareness Week (NSAW)

Photo description: Light teal colored ribbon with white letters that say “National Stuttering Awareness Week” on one side and “NSA” on the other.

The National Stuttering Association (NSA) is the largest non-profit organization in the world dedicated to bringing hope and empowerment to children and adults who stutter, their families, and professionals, through support, education, advocacy, and research. Their vision is to build on our position as the preeminent organization for supporting people who stutter.

National Stuttering Awareness Week is the second week of May, so now is the time to think about how YOU want to celebrate, educate, and spread the word about stuttering!

To learn more about how you can raise awareness in your community visit the NSA webpage.


Mobility Awareness Month

Photo description: green and blue logo of NMEDA. Blue field with white stick figure vehicle with person sitting in a wheelchair driving the vehicle. Green field below the blue field with "NMEDA" in white letters.

Since 2012, May has been recognized as National Mobility Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). The NMEDA is a non-profit trade association dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities to safely drive or be transported in vehicles modified with mobility equipment to fit their specific needs. All members work together to improve transportation options for people with disabilities.

Driven by the theme “Life Moving Forward,” NMEDA members and industry partners team up to organize an international campaign that works to highlight and celebrate the ways in which people living with disabilities persevere and triumph over their physical challenges while bringing attention to the many life-changing mobility solutions available to make independence more accessible.

People with disabilities constitute the second largest minority in the United States. In the United States and Canada, over 18 million people have mobility issues, six million of whom are veterans. NMEDA wishes to draw awareness to the fact that there are mobility equipment manufacturers, dealers, driver rehabilitation specialists and other professionals in every community dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities. Automotive mobility solutions are available for people with disabilities enabling them to enjoy active, mobile lifestyles.

To learn more visit the NMEDA webpage.


California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Guidance and Resources (

Toll-free, 24-hour number: 1-800-971-0016

The Institute on Aging's Friendship Line is both a crisis intervention hotline and a warmline for non-emergency emotional support calls for people age 60 and over, and adults living with disabilities.

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