SILC Newsletter February 2020 - Sharing Information Loud and Clear

For Immediate Release
February 1, 2020

Contact: Carrie England, Executive Director, 916-263-7905, State Independent Living Council (SILC).

SILC Newsletter - Sharing Information Loud and Clear

February 2020

In This Issue:

  • Message from the Chair
  • Upcoming SILC meeting in Sacramento
  • ILRC Empowering the Coast!
  • CRIL Celebrates 40 Years!
  • CALIF Advocacy in Action!
  • ILRC Empowering the Coast!
  • CCCIL: The Power of a Home
  • Rare Disease Day
  • #ADA30InColor: Call for Stories
  • Macular Degeneration/Low Vision Awareness month 

photos above: Woman reading Braille, wheelchair user, and two women posing for photo


Message From The Chair

Photo to right shows Peter Mendoza, SILC Chairperson

Greetings Independent Living (IL) Network partners:

Last year California's Independent Living Network worked together to draft an amendment to our State Plan for Independent Living. The necessity of the SPIL Amendment was one that none of us knew we would be facing. I am proud to be a part of a group that dealt with an unforeseen requirement with such professionalism and consideration. We are very happy to report that the council was able to complete the amendment per instructions from ACL, received all necessary signatures and submitted the amendment in a timely manner. Recently we received confirmation our amendment was approved. 

Thank you to the council and staff for all of the work you are doing to draft the 2021-2023 SPIL. Developing a plan that garners the support of the majority of the Independent Living Network is a daunting task but one that we are up for. It is through the many conversations and coming together that we will be able to identify the priorities for the next three (3) year cycle. Our plan is to have a draft SPIL ready for review by the community in March.

February is also an exciting month for the SILC, because this month our state has the pleasure of hosting the annual meeting of the SILC Congress. We are excited to attend this year's event in lovely San Diego and look forward to bringing you highlights of our visit in our next issue of this newsletter.

We hope you will join us for our next meeting on March 9 and March 10 at the Hilton Arden West in Sacramento. For more info visit If you want to know how to get more involved in the development of the 2021-2023 SPIL, please feel to reach out to me or SILC staff. The SILC is here for you.

In Unity and Solidarity,


Peter T. Mendoza


Upcoming State Independent Living Council Meeting

Photo Right: entrance to the Hilton Sacramento Arden West

When: Monday, March 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday, March 10, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, March 11 SILC Member Legislative Visits


Hilton Sacramento Arden West

2200 Harvard Street

Sacramento, CA 95815

More Info (


Independent Living Resource Center -Empowering the Coast!

Photo below: ICRC Executive Director, Dani Anderson, attending the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors meeting

Second District Supervisor Gregg Hart will lead the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors as Chairman in 2020 after being unanimously chosen for the seat by fellow board members earlier this month.

Hart began his public service career as a Legislative Assistant for state Assemblyman Jack O’Connell and was later the Manager of the Santa Barbara County Association of Government's Traffic Solutions program and Deputy Executive Director of The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments.

Hart will focus much attention on emergency preparedness and recovery for his year as chair. One way he will do so is to initiate monthly presentations from county nonprofit organizations about what they do and how they are working on disaster response and recovery.

Supervisor Hart began his non-profit tour with the Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC). The Independent Living Resource Center promotes independent living and full access for individuals with disabilities through advocacy, education, and action in their communities. ILRC has four offices serving the vast tri-counties region, covering San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

During his tour, Hart had the opportunity to meet with Executive Director Dani Anderson and her amazing staff to learn more about the impacts of disasters on people with disabilities and older adults and the resources available to them. Anderson advocated for the need to include people with disabilities and older adults in disaster response and recovery and offered continued partnership with the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

Anderson and her team are dedicated to ensuring people with disabilities and older adults are able to access the services they need to remain independent during an emergency. During Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, individuals with disabilities and older adults with access and functional needs are encouraged to reach out to local county government and specific local Independent Living Centers (ILCs) for assistance.

As if the happenings in Santa Barbara County weren't enough, ILRC is also partnering with the County of Ventura. Individuals there will soon also be able to reach out to their local county library to obtain a loan of a back-up battery system for those who rely on power to operate life-sustaining medical devices (CPAP, BiPAP, oxygen, communication device, power wheelchair, etc.). The idea stemmed from a meeting between Ventura County's Second District Supervisor, Linda Parks and Dani and the local support has been powerful.

"This is a really exciting time for ILRC. As far as I know, this program is the first of its kind in the country and will provide even more access for people with disabilities in our area," said Anderson. "We hope that our program will serve as a model for others across the nation."

For more information about the Independent Living Resource Center of Santa Barbara and the services they offer, contact them by phone at (805) 963-0595 or visit

For more information about disaster preparedness for people with disabilities, visit


Community Resources for Independent Living -Celebrating 40 Years!

Photo below right: Board members (John Bird and Michael Pham) and guests enjoying some food and conversation.

Community Resources for Independent Living (CRIL) is a peer-based independent living center that advocates and provides resources for people with disabilities to improve lives and make communities fully accessible. CRIL offers independent living services at no charge to persons with disabilities living in southern and eastern Alameda County. Everyone is welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, the nature of the disability or limitation, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, immigration status, health condition or any other characteristics. CRIL is also a resource for disability awareness education and training, advocacy and technical advice.

CRIL was organized as a self-help organization in 1979 by a small group of persons with disabilities. This group was committed to improving choices and support for consumers in southern Alameda County.

After helping found CIL- Berkeley, Johnnie Lacy was encouraged to take over the helm at the newly created CRIL, working tirelessly to develop CRIL's visibility and presence in Hayward. She became the Executive Director in 1981 - after CRIL had gone through 2 leadership changes in its first 2 years of operation. Johnnie was a cherished Hayward area community and civil rights advocate. She remained Executive Director until 1994 and established the center as the premier disability mentoring and peer service center for people with disabilities living in southern and eastern Alameda County.

Johnnie obtained City Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the City of Hayward, among other significant donations and led a campaign that raised $350,000 to build the CRIL office located on A Street in Hayward - a project that was completed in 1984. It was one of the first Independent Living centers to build its own building from the ground up in the mid 1980s.

CRIL operates 3 offices with locations in Hayward, which is the main office, and two satellite offices, Fremont and Livermore. All CRIL services are available at the 3 offices. In FY2018-2019, CRIL served 908 unduplicated consumers. Of these consumers, 40% are over 60 and 30% are homeless. 62% of CRIL consumers are seeking housing assistance through CRIL’s housing search programs.

Other highlights of CRIL services include CRIL’s Device Lending and Demonstration Center (DLDC). CRIL is 1 of 11 DLDCs in California. Through the DLDC, consumers are able to borrow Assistive Technology devices for a month. Consumers are then able to determine if the device is helpful without spending money. CRIL also has 3 travel trainers (1 at each office) to support people in learning how to use public transportation. CRIL’s has 2 Community Organizers/Advocates who support Disability Action Network (DAN) and Disability Action Network for Youth (DANY)– CRIL’s community organizing/advocacy groups.

In 2019, CRIL celebrated its 40th Anniversary of service in Eastern and Southern Alameda County. To celebrate the occasion, CRIL’s Board of Directors (spearheaded by Marie Kayal) hosted an evening of food, drink, auction and community at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley.

With renewed spirit, CRIL’s staff of 14 and Board of 9 have recommitted themselves to working to ensure that disability rights are human rights and that all communities are fully accessible.

For more information about CRIL and any of its services, please visit the website at or call (510) 881-5743, or contact by email at

Photo to the left: Crowd shot of the CRIL 40th Anniversary Gathering


Communities Actively Living and Free - Advocacy in Action!

photo below: Man assisting smiling woman using wheelchair to exit Access Paratransit vehicle. White words below photo say "Freedom to go."

Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF) is an independent living center, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides advocacy programs and services for people with disabilities primarily residing within the 50 zip codes of Los Angeles County covering south and central Los Angeles and neighboring communities.

Access Services, a local public entity, is the Los Angeles County Consolidated Transportation Services Agency and administers the Los Angeles County Coordinated Paratransit Plan on behalf of the County’s 45 public fixed route operators (i.e., bus and rail). Access Services facilitates the provision of ADA paratransit services to persons with disabilities.

In October 2019, CALIF Systems Change Advocate, Dina Garcia, was nominated to serve as the Chairperson to the Access Services Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC was formed to provide input and advice to Access Services concerning operational policy issues for Access Services transportation program and to make recommendations to the Access Services Board and staff concerning the Access Services transportation program.

Recently CALIF has made great strides in working with Access Services to make their reservation system more user friendly for people with speech disabilities by offering the opportunity to make online reservations. People with disabilities now have the freedom to make, and modify, their Access reservations online in three out of the six Access regions. For people with speech disabilities, this provides them the independence to make their own reservation without needing assistance, or having the stress of trying to be understood by the reservationist.

CALIF’s advocacy work spans many areas, and they pride themselves in not just conducting systems advocacy, but in teaching people how to be better advocates for themselves.

For example, a consumer taking the CALIF 9-week “Leadership Through Advocacy” Class, learned how take the advocacy strategies he gained and was able to put them into action by organizing his neighbors and advocating for their housing rights. The consumer and neighbors had requested accommodations but their needs were not being met (for example, their bathrooms required modifications, mailboxes were not accessible and there was a lack of disabled parking available to residents). After taking the class, the consumer went from collecting the complaints to, together with residents, advocating for a safe and accessible place to live. 

If you are interested in learning more about the work CALIF is doing, or are interested in taking the "Leadership Through Advocacy" class, contact CALIF by phone at  213-627-0477 or by email at


Central Coast Center for Independent Living -The Power of a Home

photo right: The many partners who came together to help Elizabeth (center) with her housing needs.

Elizabeth is a beautiful example of the power of home to transform lives.   After experiencing some difficulties, Elizabeth found herself in a complicated situation. She was going through some legal issues which included the removal of her children from her home and was hospitalized for an extended period. She learned that she was experiencing a mental illness. As a result of her extended hospitalization and situation, she also found it impossible to maintain her employment. She lost her job and suddenly was experiencing homelessness as well. She found herself relying on the services of area warming shelters to avoid sleeping on the street. Luckily, when she reached out for help, Central Coast Center for Independent Living (CCCIL) was there.

CCCIL is part of the Monterey/San Benito Counties Continuum of Care (CoC) which provides coordinated entry for people who are experiencing situations like Elizabeth’s. Coordinated entry is a consistent, community-wide process to match people experiencing homelessness to community resources that are the best fit for their situation.

In a community using coordinated entry, homeless individuals and families complete a standard triage assessment survey that identifies the best type of intervention for that household. Participating programs accept referrals from the system, reducing the need for people to travel distances seeking assistance at every provider separately. When participating programs do not have enough space to accept all referrals from the system, people are prioritized for services based on need. In the Monterey/San Benito Counties Continuum of Care (CoC), the system is referred to as the Coordinated Assessment and Referral System (CARS).

In addition to a CARS assessment, and if you meet the program requirements, CCCIL can provide Homeless Prevention and Housing Services through their Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG). The purpose of the ESG program is to assist individuals and families quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides grants by formula to states, metropolitan cities, urban counties and U.S. territories to support homelessness prevention, emergency shelter and related services.

CCCIL’s ESG Program provides Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) and Homeless Prevention (HP) services to Monterey and San Benito County Residents. RRH services are intended to help eligible participants who are literally homeless and collaborate with the applicant to obtain permanent housing and to achieve housing stability. HP services are intended to prevent eligible participants who are housed from becoming homeless by helping them regain stability in their housing or other permanent housing.

For Elizabeth, this meant working with her housing coordinator for about a year while she simultaneously worked on other areas of her life. She was overjoyed in December 2019 when she was told she would be in a home by Christmas.

“For me, it’s more than just housing. CCCIL listened to my story and provided me with resources that have allowed me to begin rebuilding my life,” Elizabeth said. “Not only did they help me to find a house, but a real home with a backyard and a lemon tree. They helped me to get the things I would need to make it a home (like beds for my children, bedding, a dinner table, kitchen items and other household things). Now my children can come stay with me and I have a place to call my own.”

She added, “I just feel really blessed to have been able to work with CCCIL and I’m extremely grateful for the help they have given me.”

Photo right: Elizabeth on move in day accepting a donated Christmas tree.


Rare Disease Day 2020

Photo left: Rare Disease Day poster with text that says "We are the 300 million" and shows Gauthier, aged 4, and his mother Eloise wearing colorful latex gloves.

The first Rare Disease Day was celebrated in 2008 on 29 February, a ‘rare’ date that happens only once every four years. Ever since then, Rare Disease Day has taken place on the last day of February, a month known for having a ‘rare’ number of days.

Building awareness of rare diseases is so important because 1 in 20 people will live with a rare disease at some point in their life. Despite this, there is no cure for the majority of rare diseases and many go undiagnosed. Rare Disease Day improves knowledge amongst the general public of rare diseases while encouraging researchers and decision makers to address the needs of those living with rare diseases.

Learn more about how you can get involved in Rare Disease Day activities by visiting the Rare Disease Day 2020 website by clicking here.


#ADA30InColor: Call for Stories

photo to the right: Graphic with a white background and at the top is a row of colorful paint in rainbow colors dripping down. Text in black at the bottom reads #ADA30InColor

Deadline for submissions: February 28, 2020

The Disability Visibility Project will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a series of stories: #ADA30InColor. Disabled Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) 18 years and older in the United States are invited to submit a short pitch for an essay on the following themes:

Reflection on what the ADA means to you (the good, bad, everything in between)

Your lived experiences as a disabled BIPOC 30 years after the passage of the ADA

Current and future concerns about disability rights and justice from your perspective

The work that remains within the disability community regarding diversity and intersectionality

Anything else you care deeply about related to disability and activism

Twelve submissions will be selected for publication. These 12 essays (1000-2000 words) will be published throughout the month of July on the Disability Visibility Project website and each writer will receive $250 for their work. An audio and plain language version of each essay will be published as well.

Submit your short pitch here:

Questions? Contact Andraéa LaVant, #ADA30InColor Project Coordinator



AMD Awareness Month

Photo above: reading glasses sitting on top of wood surface. Letters reading "February amd/low vision awareness month" in typewritten letters.

February is Low Vision Awareness Month. Low vision is a visual impairment that cannot be corrected by standard eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery.

Age related macular degeneration (AMD), a deterioration or breakdown of the macula, is one of the most common causes of poor vision after age 60. The visual symptoms of AMD involve loss of central vision. While peripheral (side) vision is unaffected, with AMD, one loses the sharp, straight-ahead vision necessary for driving, reading, recognizing faces, and looking at detail.

If you or a loved has already been diagnosed with AMD or low vision, check out the Ability Tools website by visiting, or by visiting the California Assistive Technology Reuse Coalition at They will help you discover what tools and resources can help support a more independent life.

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CA State Independent Living Council (SILC)
1300 Ethan Way Suite 110
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