June 2014 
Vol. 6
Table of Contents

A note from Matt...

Hurricane Preparedness

Kids Crusaders Corner

Art and More

GAL Award Winners

DCBA passes a new resolution

Thank  you to the Cat's Meow

Book Review

Know Your Rights: Housing Accommodations

Shark Tank Update

Books and Books Event -- July 16, 2014

Family Cafe

Litigation Update: H.O.P.E. v. Charter Realty

noteA note from Matt....   Matt kayaking with his son Max.  Matt is in the front and Max in the back holding the paddle.
By: Matthew Dietz


 Fair Housing and Disability


       One of the goals of the Disability Rights movement is to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to live and participate in the community.  This includes the right not to live institutions, nursing homes, group homes or assisted living facilities, and the right to make modifications or accommodations in his or her own home.  Currently, over 55 percent of all housing discrimination cases filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development are related to discrimination based on disability.  This ranges from failing to allow a resident to construct a ramp, allowing a person to have a service or emotional support animal, or failing to construct an apartment with the minimum standards of adaptable design.  This number is growing every year!

        However, our laws only provide a basic floor of inclusion, and we need to aim for full inclusion.  Most homes are single family homes, and are not required to be constructed accessibly;  further, most apartments were constructed prior to the enactment of the Fair Hosing Amendment Act in 1991.  Undoubtedly, group homes and assistive living facilities are more expensive than living independently; however needed services are only available in an institutional-type dwelling.  Our goal is to advocate for more incentives to make all homes accessible and to ensure that services are made available in one's home - all resulting in providing more housing choice and opportunity to all persons with a disability. 


hurricane Hurricane Preparedness

By: Anastasia Gaertner


Two red flags with black squares, indicating a hurricane.

With hurricane season underway, it is important to get yourself prepared in case a storm is headed toward your area. Preparing for a disaster is never an easy process, but it can be particularly challenging when you have a disability. One important preparation tip for people with disabilities is to create a personal support network for yourself. A personal support network can be an important resource when dealing with a disaster or emergency situation, especially if your needs require increased preparation and consideration.

One of the best ways to form a personal support network is to first identify every place where you spend a significant amount of time, such as home, work, or school. It is best to comprise your network of at least three people from each location so that you have plenty of people to rely on, should a storm hit. You want to include people whom you trust to check on you or assist you if need be. (click here to read more)



julie Kids Crusaders Corner  Kids Crusaders Logo


Welcome back to the Kids Crusaders Corner. My son Nick was 10 months old when we were finally given a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy instead of the blanket termnick is being held by his had and they are both smiling. Nick is about 18 months old.inology of "developmentally delayed". A weight was lifted and in the same second it felt like the weight of the entire universe came crashing down and it was impossible to breathe. We had no idea what the future held, no idea what he would or wouldn't do. What we had were shattered hearts and dreams of all the things we always thought he would do as a little boy.(click here to read more) 


Chris Stein and his dog Morgan
Art and More 

Stay tuned for more stories from Chris in the future.



Sharon Langer receiving the GAL Award, she is standing on the stage speaking. Congratulations to our Development Director, Sharon Langer and our colleague, Jessica Rae for being recognized with an Honorary Guardian ad Litem Award at the 2014 Guardian ad Litem Disabilities Training Conference in Orlando, FL.

An Honorary Guardian Ad Litem is a community leader that has gone to great lengths to support the program's mission and goals.


To read more about Sharon and Jessica and honorary GAL's see the attached link. 



Logo for the Dade County Bar Association. it has a scale of justice in the middle and the date 1920. Dade County Bar Association Passes New Resolution

DCBA unanimously adopts a resolution on Non-Discrimination and Inclusiveness.

Thank you to the everyone that helped to make this possible!


Logo for the Store Cat's Meow.  It is a cartoon picture of 3 cats in front of a building.Thank You to Cat's Meow and Kara Kueny Cable for framing our Animal Partners

Cat's Meow Facebook Page



Animal Partners Logo

         Join our animal partners Facebook page at:




Cover of the book Tuesday Tucks me In by Luis Carlos Montalvan.

Book Review   

By: Sharon Langer 


     Luis Carlos Montalvan is that soldier, and his book brought a giant smile to my face, just by looking into the beautiful eyes of his service dog Tuesday on the cover. It is a simple story of a day in the life of this pair: Luis, a seventeen year veteran of the US Army, and his best friend and service dog Tuesday. The story is told with few words but with absolutely gorgeous photographs of man and dog that speak volumes.

     Tuesday was trained for three years by ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities). Their dogs are trained to increase mobility and independence for people living with disabilities. Each one is trained to meet the special needs of a specific population, from veterans to children with autism. These dogs are hard-working and life-saving.

       This book will introduce you to the world of service animals and do so with great joy and beauty. The photos start with the morning routine, which includes a hug and a lick...those of you with pets know just how that feels. The day includes Tuesday's ability to calm, to soothe, to protect, and to assist in both daily chores and the unexpected. The day ends with a hug, a kiss, a prayer and these words... "When Tuesday tucks me in, I am happy because I'm home". Please buy/read this beautiful book. It is available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon...if you use Amazon Smiles and go to Disability Independence Group we receive a small part of the purchase price. Let me know what you think of the book. ..... Sharon


                                      Shop Amazon Smile
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at Sharon@justdigit.org

Visit our website

the word summer is spelled out and floating in the water with hot air balloons in the air. Send us your summer photos.  Show us what you did this summer and we will post them in the next newsletter.


rachel Rachel Goldstein

Know Your Rights!

How to Obtain Accommodations for Housing

By: Rachel Goldstein


The Fair Housing Act ("FHA") prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability. One type of disability discrimination prohibited by the FHA is the refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. Since rules, policies, practices and services may have a different effect on people with disabilities than on other persons, treating people with disabilities exactly the same as others will sometimes deny them an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their home and its surrounding common areas. As such, a person with a disability may need a reasonable accommodation - a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice or service - in order to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. (click here to read more)




Jodi Engelberg, Diane Adreon, Debbie Dietz, and Lt. Barta holding a checkshark

Shark Tank Update...   

By: Debbie Dietz  

We are still in the planning stages of the video. 


You can order your own wallet card for free on our website at: http://www.justdigit.org/wallet-cards/.


Just fill out the online form and we will have them mailed to you within a week.  If you want to customize the card, please add the details in the comments section.


Join us at Books and Books in Coral Gables on July 16

The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi       Head shot of Patricia Bochi. She is in front of a boat that is in the water.


In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It Is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such as mugs, journals etc.


The website is: www.yourupwardjourney.com


Facebook and Twitter: Your Upward Journey



Family Caf� in Orlando, FL


DIG's Senior Staff Attorney,  Rachel Goldstein, had the privilege of presenting at the 16th Annual Family Caf� and Disabilities Summit in Orlando, Florida. The Annual Family Caf� is a three-day statewide event that brings individuals with disabilities and their families together with state agencies, non-profit organizations and various service providers  to network and provide information about the services available to them and the resources most important to  people with disabilities and/or special health care needs and their families. Rachel Goldstein's presentation focused on how to obtain accommodations in order for persons with disabilities to be successful in the workplace, in educational and medical settings, and in housing settings in order to live independently.

 Rachel Goldstein at The Family Caf� seminar by DIG.




a picture of the outside of the property being sued in this article.litigation     

Litigation UPDATE - H.O.P.E. v. Charter Realty  

By: Matthew Dietz


Earlier this month, Disability Independence Group filed a lawsuit on behalf of Housing Opportunities Project for Excellence, Inc. ("HOPE"), along with residents from the 183rd and 187th Street Apartments in Miami Gardens and the 22nd Avenue Apartments in Opa Locka, against Miami Property Group, Charter Realty Group, and property manager, Paulette Gopaul for discriminating against persons with disabilities, families with children, and victims of domestic violence. (click here to read more)


For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or debbie@justdigit.org.

Disability Independence Group, Inc.
Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

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