May 31, 2016
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


This Memorial Day weekend, I hope you had a wonderful, peaceful time and took a moment to reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. 

We had a good week at the State House on the advocacy front.  Thank you to all of you who made phone calls.

This week we highlight some artistic activities available this summer.  One is a play completely in sign language. We also have a listing of free Friday events this summer.

Have a good week and a s always, happy  reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Invitation: DPC Annual Meeting

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Disability Policy Consortium (DPC), I am pleased to invite you to our Annual Meeting.

When:  Wednesday, June 8, 2016, 5:30 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.

Where:  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, One Enterprise Drive, Quincy, MA  02171

We will have shuttle service available from the North Quincy Station on the Red Line.

Dinner will be served.  

Keynote Remarks by Mr. Andrew Veith, President
Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf and
Co-Organizer Deaf Grassroots Movement Massachusetts

To register or request reasonable accommodations please contact  Amy at

Requests for Reasonable Accommodations and registrations must be received by June 1, 2016.
Advocacy Update: DPC Budget Priorities Progress Report   

As you may remember the DPC had three budget priorities this year.  Each of them was undertaken with the support of another organization.  What follows is a summary prepared by Charlie Carr, who is our Legislative advocate.  Charlie was assisted by Colin Killick.  We also want to give a big shout out to B.J. Wood who was outstanding in her advocacy for MCDHH.

Note that House 2 is the name of the Governor's budget. In total we got increases of more than $2.1 million and saved more than 6,000 families from losing benefits. Not a bad season of work.

Our work is not finished however.  Now we need to fight to get the House to accept the Senate numbers in the conference committee, or all will be for naught.  We will also have to work to avoid a veto by the Governor.

So here are the results;
1. Increase funding for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP): line item 7004-9030. The DPC has co-led the Housing Advocacy Leadership Team with BCIL that has been working on this line item for the past 4 years. Key meetings were held with House leadership and appropriate committee members to push for the $2.5 million needed to bring the program up to $7.1 million and fully restore the 800 vouchers it provided in 1996. Similarly, the same strategy was used in the Senate and working on amendments in both chambers was part of the process.

* House 2 $4,600,000
* House Final $5,100,000
* Net gain in House $500,000
* Senate Ways & Means $6,200,000
* Senate Final $6,200,000
* Net gain over H2 $1,600,000

2. Reject the Governor's proposal to count SSI benefits toward TAFDC eligibility. The DPC collaborated with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute to drive home the draconian nature of the proposal that would stop over 6,000 families with members who have disabilities from receiving TAFDC benefits and would force them into homelessness. The DPC had representation from MLRI in our meetings with House leadership and appropriate committee members. There was work in the Senate to ensure that this provision couldn't be enacted in subsequent budgets.

* House 2 Language included
* House Final Language eliminated
* Senate Final Additional protections added

3. Increase funding to the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: line item 4125-0100. The DPC collaborated with the Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf in this new campaign to restore funding to MCDHH back to its 2001 level. The DPC advocated in the House prior to MSAD getting involved and met with House leadership and appropriate committee members. MSAD worked with the DPC in the Senate including amendments.

* House 2 $5,411,403
* House Final $5,411,403
* Net gain in House $0
* Senate Ways & Means $5,661.403
* Senate Final $5,951,403
* Net gain over H2 $540,000
Community News: Boston Premiere's First Play Completely ASL Inclusive 

Actor Russell Harvard, who is Deaf, is starring in "I Was Most Alive with You", It's premiering with the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston.  The play was written by Craig Lucas specifically for Harvard. 

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company. At Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts, May 27 through June 26. Tickets start at $25, 617-266-0800,  You can read more here.
Scholarship Opportunity: 2016 NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship

Thanks to a generous contribution from NBCUniversal, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is proud offer eight (8) NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarships in 2016.

The NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship is available to 2nd year associate students; undergraduate sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and graduate students with disabilities with an interest in the entertainment, media, or communications industries. Each recipient will receive $5,625 to help cover the cost of education at their college or university.

This scholarship has been named in honor of Tony Coelho, a former United States Representative from California and the primary author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

For more information, please visit the AAPD website.
Net News: Free Fun Fridays Schedule Available

Attending museums and cultural events can be costly and many of us are surviving on limited income.  Worry no more.  This summer every Friday eight different venues will offer free admission.  Over ten weeks that is 80 different venues available to you. Surely you can find something to your liking.  The schedule is available here.
Community News:  Talking Prescription Bottle Update   

This is a little old, but lawyer Lainey Feingold has an updated web page on the status of the national pharmacy chains and talking prescription bottles.  I know this will be of interest to many of you.  You can find the page here.
Calendar: Assistance with Completion of Universal Housing Application

When:  Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Where:  ILCNSCA, 27 Congress Street, Suite 107, Salem, MA 01970 

Peer Guides are available to assist you with completion of the Universal Housing application for subsidized housing across Massachusetts. ILCNSCA will have peer guides available to guide you in a group setting to assist you in completing your housing application. 

Contact ILCNSCA at 978-741-0077 v, 888-751-0077 toll free, 978-745-1735 TTY, or via e-mail to:  with "Housing Application Assistance Appointment" in the subject line to RSVP.
Calendar:  Training on Housing Laws for People with Disabilities  

When:  Friday, June 10, 10:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Where: Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA  02138

View the flyer and transit options for this event online at

10 am - 12:30 pm: Training on Housing Laws

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm: Light Lunch Provided

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm: Input from the Community

** RSVP Required **

This Event Is Free And Open To The Public - Space Is Limited

RSVP & request accommodations by June 3rd to or 617-723-8455 x 123

Join us for a training on housing laws in Massachusetts and the rights of tenants with disabilities. A Community Feedback Forum will follow this training. We are looking for your input on the issues you are facing as a person or family member of a person with a disability

Michael Muehe, Executive Director, Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities

Tom Murphy, Staff Attorney, Disability Law Center
Caitlyn Byers, Staff Attorney - Pike Fellow, Disability Law Center

Rick Glassman, Director of Advocacy, Disability Law Center

Christine Griffin, Executive Director, Disability Law Center

Out of consideration for people with environmental illness and/or multiple chemical sensitivity, please refrain from using perfume or other scented products.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be provided.

Hosted by the Disability Law Center and the Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities  
Calendar:  Stavros Housing Speak-Out  
When:  Monday, June 13, 2016, 11:00 AM - 12:3 0 P.M.

Where:  Stavros, 227 Berkshire Ave., Springfield, MA 01109

Within Massachusetts many individuals face barriers to housing. The constant increase in housing costs, long waiting list for voucher programs, and the overall limited availability of housing options makes it difficult for people to live the community.

Stavros is asking community members, housing advocates, those currently seeking housing and cross-sector agencies to come together and discuss their concerns with housing. This event strives to meet the following objectives:
  • Allow individuals from cross-disability, and diversified backgrounds tocome together to discuss issues within housing.
  • Allow individuals seeking housing and those struggling with their housing placements to come together and share their housing stories.
  • Participate in group activity that describes your ideal housing placement.  How does it promote healthy living and community integration?
We hope you will join us.  Light refreshments will be served.

For accommodations please contact Jennifer Lee at
413-256-0473 or
In This Issue
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Disability Policy Consortium
11 Dartmouth Street
Suite 301
Malden, MA 02148
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