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GMOA e-Network News - March 2017
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Community Events

Team Guts
Fitness programs specifically designed for the special needs community, including strength training, yoga, dance, ballet, Zumba, and Boxercise (boxing/exercise), as well as sports-specific programs like soccer, football, and baseball - even cheerleading camps!
Location: 1008 Orchard St., Ferndale, MI
For more information: 248-415-5535 or http://www.grounduptraining.com/
FAR'S Fantastic Friday Night Parties - for ages 17 and older
Dates:  April 21: Bingo Night; May 19: Spring Carnival
Time: 6-8:30 p.m.
Location: First Presbyterian Church's Knox Auditorium, 1669 W Maple Road, Birmingham, MI 48009
Cost: $10 for client plus $5 for caregivers who choose to remain and eat. RSVP strongly recommended at
RSVP@FAR-therapy.org or 248-646-3347
Down Syndrome Guild of SE Michigan Club 21
Dates: March 17, April 21, May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 15, October 20, November 17
Time: 6:30-9 p.m.
Location: Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, 1100 Lone Pine Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
Cost: $5/person. Snacks and dancing.
RSVP: (248) 556-5341
Teen Asperger Friendship Club - for teens and young adults within the autism spectrum to get together and have fun!
Dates: Saturday, May 13
Time: 7-11 p.m.
Location: Trinity Lutheran Church, School and Early Childhood Center, 38900 Harper Ave., Clinton Township, MI 48036
Cost: $5/person at the door. Teen/young adult must be accompanied by a parent or care provider. 
For additional information contact Stacey or Sandy at
ASOC Friendship Club Autism Social - for teens and young adults within the autism spectrum, including Down Syndrome & Pervasive Development Disorders to get together and have fun.
We have video games, ping pong, basketball, floor hockey and a DJ that plays the latest hits. The Friendship Club is run by volunteers and all are welcome to come.  Siblings should be 13 years and older.  For cost and additional information: www.autismsocial.weebly.com
Date: Saturdays: April 1, May 20
Time:  7-11 p.m.
Location:  St. Anastasia Church, 4571 John R. Road, Troy 48085
OUCARES After Hours Adult Social - a support group for adults, ages, 18 years and older with Asperger's, high-functioning Autism or PDD/NOS.
Come join us for pizza, conversation, cards, games and fun! 
Date: Tuesdays: March 21, April 11, May 9, June 13
Time:   6-9 p.m.
Location:  Oakland University Campus, Oakland Center
No registration required, come when you are able.  No cost for this program.  This program is made possible by the generous support of the Autism Society of Oakland County.
OUCARES Evening Enrichment
Topic: Ready or Not: Sexuality & Autism
Presenter: Chaturi Edrisinha, Ph.D., BCBA-Doctoral Associate Professor, Human Development & Child Studies 
This presentation is designed for parents, educators and other professionals working with youth, specifically between the ages of 15-26 on the autism spectrum. Not intended for individuals with ASD. 
Date: Thursday, March 16
Time:  6-8 p.m.
Location: Oakland University, Oakland Center, Lake Superior Room A
Cost: free
Please RSVP by emailing oucares@oakland.edu or call 248-370-2424, space is limited
Avondale Skill Activity Night - Open to adults with disabilities up to age 35 throughout Oakland County
Date: Fridays: March 24, May 19 
Time:  7-9:30 p.m.
Location: 1435 W Auburn Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48309
Contact: Susan Jackson at 248-537-6440 with questions. If your last name begins with the letter A-J, please bring a 2-liter of pop. If your last name begins with the letter K-Z, please bring a snack.

Inclusively Fit (IF)
Mark Ralko's workout facility for people with special needs located in Sterling Heights, MI www.inclusivelyfit.com

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There are many helpful tips in this issue and some openings in CHN housing. Check it out!

Special Rules Help Many People With Disabilities Qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit 
Reprinted in part from  IR-2017-07, Jan. 23, 2017

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service wants taxpayers with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities to be aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and correctly claim it if they qualify.

To qualify for EITC, the taxpayer must have earned income. Usually, this means income either from a job or from self-employment. But taxpayers who retired on disability can also count as earned income any taxable benefits they receive under an employer's disability retirement plan.

These benefits remain earned income until the disability retiree reaches minimum retirement age. The IRS emphasized that Social Security benefits or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) do not count as earned income.

Additionally, taxpayers may claim a child with a disability or a relative with a disability of any age to get the credit if the person meets all other EITC requirements. Use the EITC Assistant, on IRS.gov, to determine eligibility, estimate the amount of credit and more.

People with disabilities are often concerned that a tax refund will impact their eligibility for one or more public benefits, including Social Security disability benefits, Medicaid, and Food Stamps. The law is clear that tax refunds, including refunds from tax credits such as the EITC, are not counted as income for purposes of determining eligibility for benefits. This applies to any federal program and any state or local program financed with federal funds.

The best way to get the EITC is to file electronically: through a qualified tax professional; using free community tax help sites; or through IRS Free File.

Many EITC filers will receive their refunds later this year than in past years. That's because a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the EITC and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. The IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27. Taxpayers claiming the EITC or ACTC should file as soon as they have all of the necessary documentation together to prepare an accurate return. In other words, file as they normally would.
Call for Advocay
Important AMORC Meeting: Showing Support for Direct Care Givers -
How Budget Cuts, Low Wages and Turnover Impact Services

Speakers: John Williams, Progressive Lifestyles; Lynn Maginity, New Gateways;  Michael Higgs, Family Living Center; Robert Stein, General Counsel, Michigan Assisted Living Association (MALA)
Date: Monday, March 20
Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Location: MORC Auburn Hills Office, 1270 Doris Road
Open to the public.
The Arc of U.S Action Alert: Tell us your SSI story
Reprinted from The Arc of the United States website

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides a basic standard of living for millions of people with disabilities and their families across the United States. Monthly SSI benefits help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) put food on the table and a roof over their heads - and in most states, SSI ensures access to Medicaid. SSI also plays a vital role in helping families raise children with significant disabilities in the family home.

Unfortunately, some in Congress are talking about cutting SSI. Now is the time to share your story to let them know why SSI is vital to you, and what would happen if your SSI was cut. 
Google Maps now shows if a location is wheelchair accessible

The app lists wheelchair accessibility under the 'amenities' tab. The new addition makes using the app easier for people with disabilities, as well as parents with strollers and the elderly. This story here provides additional information.
Register for an upcoming GMOA Overview Presentation

Taking part in a GMOA Overview Presentation is the best place to start learning and thinking about interdependent housing. It provides an introduction to the housing planning process for people with disabilities including:
  • make housing goals using the Person-Centered Planning process and Self-Determination principles
  • create a housing budget, including private and public funding sources
  • decide the appropriate level of direct care and other supports
  • options for affordable housing through renting or buying
  • find a roommate to share housing costs and companionship
Please plan to attend one of the following dates:

  •   Wednesday, March 22, 7-9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 5, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  •  Wednesday, May 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
The presentations will be held at Community Housing Network Inc.:  570 Kirts Blvd., Suite 231, Troy, MI. (map)
The cost is $30/person. Please register by 48 hours (2 days) before each presentation.
Please note: Seating is limited. Please pre-register before the deadline to hold your space. Your registration and payment will be confirmed through email. We reserve the right to cancel the presentation if registration fails to meet a minimum level of participation. 
Interested in having a GMOA presentation in your area?

Please contact Linda Ronan Brown at 248-269-1346 or LBrown@chninc.net to explore scheduling an agency sponsored presentation or a group-hosted presentation with individually paid registration. A minimum level of participation is required.
Housing vacancies for individuals with disabilities

Oakland County
CHN has a few single vacancies at residential, shared living homes in Oakland County for one single adult individual with a qualifying disability who meets HUD income guidelines. 
Macomb County
CHN has the following vacancies in Macomb County:  
  • Several single vacancies in scattered-site, residential homes for one single adult with a qualifying disability who meets HUD income guidelines
  • A home available for three qualifying roommates
If you are interested in more information, please contact Sharon Wightman at swightman@chninc.net or 248-269-1321 or Alexis Bevan at   abevan@chninc.net or 248-269-1310.
Please note: CHN is rehabilitating three 3-bedroom scattered site residential homes in Roseville and Eastpointe that will be available sometime after April 1. One home is accessible.  The tenants could be qualifying low income families or three single adult individual roommates for each home. If you are interested in more information about these homes, please contact Sharon Wightman at swightman@chninc.net  or 248-269-1321.
Wayne County
CHN has single vacancies in a few of our shared housing, residential homes in Wayne County, for a single adult individual with a qualifying disability who meets HUD income guidelines. 

If you are interested in more information, please contact April Smith at 248-269-1327 or asmith@chninc.net .
Community Living Services - Wayne
Resource Open Houses

Date: Thursday, April 20
Time: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 5:30 -8:30 p.m.
Location: 35425 Michigan Avenue, W. Wayne, MI 48184
Cost: Free and open to the public

Evening session includes parent/sibling panel moderated by State Rep. Frank Liberati at 6 p.m. Topics include Autism Benefit, Benefits & Entitlements, Community Resources, Culture of Gentleness, Home & Community Based Waiver Final Rule, Housing, Medicaid & Medicare, MyStrength App, Person Centered Planning, School Transition, Self-determination, Staffing, Supported Employment.
  With support from:

Community Housing Network | 248-928-0111 | LBrown@chninc.net | http://www.communityhousingnetwork.org
570 Kirts Boulevard, Suite 231
Troy, MI 48084