Welcome to the Summer 2017 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

New IN Team Member: IL Housing Specialist
Ms. Abiola Heyliger

Meet Abiola Heyliger
Abiola is a Lupus survivor, former U.S. Government official, and former Independent Policy Analyst now dedicated to serving the disability community as Independence Now's new Housing Specialist!

  • She was born in Washington, DC but her family is from Guyana, so she was raised in both Guyana and the USA.
  • Abiola LOVES to travel, and to meet and make friends around the globe! Thanks to her previous jobs, graduate and legal studies, and having family on almost every continent, she's had the opportunity to live in, and travel, to 81 countries.
  • She's a vegetarian foodie who loves to cook and host dinner parties featuring international cuisines, dance, and music! Salsa anyone?
  • When off-the-clock (and in remission!), Abiola is a Runner, Yoga Instructor, certified Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and is as big a fan of extreme sports, e.g., High altitude trekking, ice-glacier climbing, skydiving as she is of meditation!
  • Abiola is also passionate about cross-country horseback riding, bicycling and studying languages: S?, ella habla espa?ol!
  • Live music is another one of her favorite things: Abiola is an aspiring drummer and guitarist and hopes to replace Coldplay's lead drummer, or become the next Sheila E. ? SOON!
  • But, despite having taken 3 lessons already, neither Coldplay nor Carlos Santana have invited Abiola to join them on tour.
  • Some friends have rudely suggested that Abiola should finally accept that playing lead guitar for Coldplay is probably a pipe-dream. She continues practicing determinedly anyway.

What Abiola does
Among her responsibilities as IN's new Independent Living Housing Specialist, Abiola:

  • Helps IN consumers reach their housing goals related to the occupancy of, and, housing programs in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties;
  • Identifies IN consumers for Maryland's "Housing Choice Voucher" and other housing programs;
  • Raises community awareness of the rights and responsibilities under federal and state fair housing laws, anti-discrimination and other laws;
  • Develops and facilitate external partnerships with State and Federal agencies, local communities, public housing authorities (PHAs), and other housing agencies;
  • Assesses and ensure compliance with housing program rules requirements;
  • Provides technical assistance & background information to IN consumers, the organization, community & government partners regarding housing subsidy program rules and regulations;
  • Maintains a database of housing units, programs, and resources;
  • Assesses consumers' eligibility for various housing programs and housing units, including first time homebuyer programs for persons with disabilities;
  • Abiola spent the last four (4) years working with other non-profit organizations to FIERCELY support self-advocacy and the defense of the rights of persons with autoimmune-illness-related disabilities, and specifically to raise Lupus awareness;
  • If you need of housing services, or are interested in attending our IN Housing Seminars, contact Abiola at aheyliger@innow.org or call her at (301) 638-0066.

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Creative Cooking Class

Join us as we adventure "Around the World in 80 Days."

Thursday, July 20th 11:00 am ? 1:30 pm
1st stop is Costo Rico. Ah, the colors of Costa Rican food! This is one of the most original Rico dishes that the secret lies in its simpleness. This classic Costa Rican meal will always leave you incredibly satisfied with its variety of delicious, home-cooked sabores. You could even call it comfort food, with its hearty portions. Mmmmm?The Costa Rican Casado!!

Dinner and a Movie
Thursday, August 17th 4:30 pm ? 7:30 pm

Bienvenido a Puerto Rico-- No passport needed to travel to taste the famous Arroz Con Gandules. Just Metro Access or Metro! Arroz Con Gandules is a combination of rice, pigeon peas and pork, cooked in the same pot with Puerto Rican-style sofrito. This is one of the signature rice dishes of Puerto Rican cuisine. Wait until you hear the nutritional fact on this meal.

Movie "Get Out" ? Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined.

Thursday, September 21ST ?11:00 am ? 1:30 pm - Creative Cooking Class
Last stop for the quarter is Spain. Come test your cooking skills and taste buds by making an international salad. Cucumber Salad (Ensalada de Pepino) Spanish style Cucumber Salad is a perfect dish for a warm day. It is light, tasty and refreshing. If you need to prepare something at the last minute, this salad is great, since it is easy to prepare!

Contact Victor Murrana at 240-898-2185 to register or to request accommodations.

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Housing Seminar

This event is designed to provide up-to-date information about housing programs, housing options and provide training on housing preparation and how to retain your housing. To register, request accommodations or for more information contact Rochelle Harrod at 240-898-2184.

Thursday, July 13th ?1 pm ? 3 pm
Roommate versus Room for Rent: Taking an extensive look at which is the best housing option while you wait for a place of your own.

Thursday, August 24th ? 1 pm ? 3 pm
How to Apply for In-House Section 8 properties presented Laura Fangmeyer Inwood House.

Thursday, September 28th ? 1 pm ? 3 pm
Housing and Rental Assistance Program: Come learn about various rental assistances that can assist you rent or security deposit to help move you into your new place.

Contact Abiola Heyliger at 240-898-0066 to register or to request accommodation

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Financial/Budgeting Seminar

Money Matters ? 1 pm ? 3 pm - Tuesday, August 1st
Money Matters Presented by Dan Florea of Guidewell Financial Services Leaning the In's and Out's of Budgeting, Credit, and Bills.

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Mental Health Awarenes Forum

Wednesday, September 13th - 1 pm-3 pm
Speakers to be announced.
Come Into The Light: Shattering Stereotypes and highlighting supports for Individuals experiencing mental health issues. This a forum S about how to reach out and gain access to services in order to prevent and overcome crisis.

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

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Welcome back

IN also welcomes back Kelvin Hawkins as IN's Youth Transition Services Specialist!

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