Welcome to the Summer 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

REV UP for National Disability Voter Registration Week

There are over 35 million people with disabilities who are eligible to vote in the U.S. This number increases to over 62 million when we include family members in the same household, according to Rutgers University. The number of "disability voters" continues to grow when we consider the ripple effect of the disability vote that connects families, friends, advocates, educators, providers, and other individuals that interact with people with disabilities. There is incredible potential for the disability community to bring disability issues to the forefront of elections and to hold elected officials accountable for policies and decisions that affect people with disabilities. It all starts with getting more people with disabilities registered to vote and REVed UP to cast a ballot.

Despite this potential power and influence, only 16 million people with disabilities voted in the November 2016 elections, 6% lower than the voter turnout rate of people without disabilities. Similarly, the voter registration rate for people with disabilities was 2% lower than that of people without disabilities in 2016. If people with disabilities voted at the same rate as people without disabilities who have the same demographic characteristics, there would be about 2.2 million more voters in America.

The disability community has incredible potential to influence the outcome of elections and ensure that all candidates address issues that are important to people with disabilities. Getting registered to vote is the first step to mobilize and demonstrate the power of the disability vote!

The REV UP Campaign, launched by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) in 2016, is a nonpartisan initiative that coordinates with national, state, and local disability organizations to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. The Campaign focuses on voter registration, education, access, and engagement. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!

The REV UP Campaign is coordinating National Disability Voter Registration Week (NDVRW) 2018 during the week of July 16-20 to make a concerted effort to get people with disabilities registered to vote, educated about this year's election, and prepared to cast a ballot in November. Through numerous events and activities around the country during this time, we also hope to garner attention from media and candidates. Moving forward, we plan to hold NDVRW annually in the third week of July, just before the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

You can get involved by organizing your own voter registration event or just by making sure your friends, family, and colleagues are registered to vote. The 2018 National Disability Voter Registration Week Toolkit includes a guide on how to organize voter registration events, ideas on other ways to participate in NDVRW, sample social media posts and graphics, and other resources. If you are planning voter registration events or other activities, please keep the REV UP Campaign updated on your efforts. You can reach us at programs@aapd. Registration Week, visit www.aapd.com/NDVRW.

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Creative Cooking Class

Thursday, July 19th 12pm – 3pm — IN BBQ / Voter Registration Week / Renters Tax Credit Clinic
Join us for the National Disability Voter Registration Week (NDVRW) 2018. The NDVRW is an annual effort to get people with disabilities registered to vote, educated about this year's election, and prepared to cast a ballot in their next election. REV UP: Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power!

Thursday, September 20th — 11:00am – 1:30pm
Join us as we say goodbye to summer. There is nothing like ending the summer with a Summer Chili Pot and Pineapple Punch inspired by Rachael Ray. There will also be a nutrition lesson presented by Madea Allen of Manna Food (stew) and salad. You don't want to miss it!

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Dinner & A Movie

Thursday, August 16th — 4:00pm–7:30pm — Wonder
Based on R. J. Palacio's hugely popular, award-winning novel, this drama is earnest and sweet, with great messages about kindness, friendship, and acceptance. Note: Time change is due to Movie being over 2 hours.

Some days we are looking for something different for dinner – So we are giving grilled turkey wraps a try! We will learn to slice up all the veggies just like you would for a sandwich or a fajita. Mmmm…and add turkey meat, cheese, salt and pepper, and mustard to the wrap. There will also be a nutrition lesson presented by Madea Allen of Manna Food.

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

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Housing Seminar

Thursday, July 19th — 12pm–3pm — IN BBQ / Voter Registration Week / Renters Tax Credit Clinic
The State of Maryland provides a direct check payment of up to $1000 a year for renters who paid rent in the State of Maryland and meet certain eligibility requirements. Get help filling out YOUR Renters Tax Credit application to be submitted by September 2018. REV UP: Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power.

Thursday, August 23rd — 1pm–3pm — Renters Insurance —
Is it worth it? Many tenants mistakenly believe that their belongings will be covered under an insurance policy held by their landlord. NOT TRUE. The insurance policies held by landlords typically cover ONLY damage to the structure of the building, or if someone gets hurt because of the condition of the property itself. YOUR stuff is not covered. Find out how & where to apply to protect your most treasured items.

Thursday, September 27th — 1pm–3pm — Section 8 Housing: How Do I Apply?
HOC Updates: How to apply for an HOC Voucher. The Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly known as "Section 8," provides assistance for very low-income households (single or family), the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. If you receive an HOC voucher, you can search for your own housing and use it to rent a single-family home, townhouse, apartment, or even the family's present residence. Invited Guest: Susan Smith/HOC; OR...

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

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Financial / Budgeting Seminar

Money Matters — Thursday, August 9th — 1pm–3pm
Money Matters: Establishing and rebuilding credit Part II Presenter, Kylie Delgado of Guidewell Financial Services Money Matters: Establishing and rebuilding credit Part II Presenter, Kylie Delgado of Guidewell Financial Services.

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Gender Equality Seminar

August 30th — 1pm–3pm
Join us to explore how to become an empowered advocate for yourself, move forward on your goals and connect with your community.

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

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Be Prepared! Be Aware! Be Ready!

Wednesday, September 19th — 1pm–pm
In honor of National Preparedness Month, our seminar, entitled "Ensuring Your Unit is Hazard Free," will address emergency preparedness, safety in the home, and the range of possible accommodations and modifications to a unit that persons with disabilities might request.

Contact Kelvin Hawkins at 240-638-0068 to register or request accommodations.

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