Welcome to the Spring 2018 edition of In Touch, the quarterly newsletter of Independence Now. Please use the in-page links below to naviagte to the various articles. For your convenience there is a "back to top" link after each article.

In Touch

STOP HR260! Hands off my ada!

What's all the fuss about H.R.260?

According to NCIL, "ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017: H.R. 620 This bill is similar to ADA notification legislation introduced in the 114th Congress.  H.R. 620 states its intention: "to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to promote compliance through education, to clarify the requirements for demand letters, to provide for a notice and cure period before the commencement of a private civil action, and for other purposes."

We agree with the portion of the bill that would include the disability community in the design of any training or education.  We strongly disagree with the section requiring a very specific written notice be provided to the owner or operator of the accommodation.  This section states that "the written notice required under subparagraph (B) must also specify in detail the circumstances under which an individual was actually denied access to a public accommodation, including the address of property, the specific sections of the Americans with Disabilities Act alleged to have been violated, whether a request for assistance in removing an architectural barrier to access was made, and whether the barrier to access was a permanent or temporary barrier."

We similarly disagree with the provisions allowing 60 days for the owner or operator to provide "a written description outlining improvements that will be made to remove the barrier" and 120 additional days to "remove the barrier or make substantial progress in removing the barrier."

Businesses have had 27 years to remedy non-compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  It should not require a notice and cure period to resolve issues that should have been rectified years ago.  This legislation puts the onus on the disability community to monitor access and allows businesses to continue with their wait-and-see-if anyone-notices approach and to only resolve issues of access if anyone actually issues a complaint.

Still in the Senate waiting on a vote.

#HandsOffMyADA

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Creative Cooking Class

Thursday, April 19th – 11:00 am – 1:30 pm — Winter is gone, spring is here again!
Soup is on the menu for this month's cooking class, we shall be doing Collard Greens, Cornmeal, and Sausage Soup. You may be asking, "Why soup in the spring?" It's because this recipe is such a delicious and healthy diet which I promise you will have you asking for more even after April. I tried it in Baltimore last spring, and I do not want you to miss it!

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Dinner & A Movie

Thursday, May 17th – 4:00 pm – 7: pm — Profoundly Normal
Kirstie Alley and Delroy Lindo star in this inspiring DRAMA based on the true story of two mentally challenged childhood friends who, despite their limitations, find love and family life in the "normal" world. After their Forest Haven institution is closed, Donna and Ricardo are sent to separate facilities. But their dreams of marriage and family fuel their determination to find each other again.

May is verdant, May is exciting, May is filled with fun food holidays: National Asparagus Month. National Barbecue Month. National Chocolate Custard Month. National Baked Bean Month. National Burgers Month.
Join us for an indoor cook- out to learn to prepare some of May's healthy fun foods. What's on the menu: Tuna Burgers, Corn on the Cob and Vegetarian Baked Beans.

Thursday, June 21st – 11:00am – 2:30pm — Have you ever been to West Africa?
If not, then join Independence Now staff and consumers as we introduce for the first time, West Africa's most popular and loved recipe, Joloff rice. Joloff Rice is the favorite of most indigenous of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, and the Gambia. Come and learn how to prepare this delicious and healthy meal with "gravy" (stew) and salad. You don't want to miss it!

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Housing Seminar

Thursday, April 26th – 1pm – 3pm — Homeownership for Individuals with Disabilities Program (HIDP) Applications Clinic
 Ready to own—not rent—your own home?  Get help doing YOUR application for Maryland's Homeownership for Individuals with Disabilities Program (HIDP). 

Thursday, May 24th – 1pm – 3pm — Income-Based Housing
Attendees will learn HOW & WHERE to find and apply for income-based housing in Montgomery & Prince George's Counties.

Thursday, June 28th – 1pm – 3pm — Section 8 Housing: How Do I Apply?
What is REALLY Section 8? Who qualifies for Section 8, now known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, and how do you apply for it? All mysteries revealed at this session!

Contact Abiola Heyliger at aheyliger@innow.org to register or to request accommodations.

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Financial / Budgeting Seminar

Money Matters – Thursday, May 10th – 1pm – 3pm
Saving your dollars and cents presented by Guidewell Financial Services. Learn how to save for a rainy day and necessities that are important to you.

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Screen on the Green

Stay tuned for details
Join us for an evening of family fun on the National Mall. National Mall presents Big Screen on the Green, an outdoor movie experience. This is a FREE, family-friendly event. Bring your blanket and/or lawn chair.

Contact Rochelle Harrod at 240-898-2184 to register or request accommodations

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Wheelchair Wash Fundraiser

June 8th – 1 – 3pm
A little TLC can go a long way with a wheelchair. You can't expect your wheelchair to keep up with you if you don't treat it right and maintain good wheelchair maintenance. Just like a shiny sports car, you need to go all out with how you treat your four wheels. If you do, it'll love you back. COST: $10 PER CHAIR

Contact Shannon Minnick at 240-638-0070 for more info.

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