Imagine a world that is accessible to everyone--where no barriers to independence exist; where you're allowed to be yourself and free to let your disability be just one more part of you. Together we can shape this world. Join the Independent Living (r)evolution! Our unity can be a potent force for change. In addition to providing services, the Southern Tier Independence Center is a gathering place for people and information. Our joint efforts in understanding the issues and concerns of people with disabilities can pave the way to this more accessible world. The Center believes that people have the right to be responsible for making their own choices. By working with you rather than for you, we respect your ability to know what's best for you. If any of our services seem like a good option for you, we'd like to meet you! All services are free unless otherwise indicated.
Now Hiring! Habilitation Support Staff
Come join the Habilitation Team at the Southern Tier Independence Center to provide one-on-one support for individuals with disabilities.
Must have flexible hours and a valid driver’s license.
$12/hr. Please email your resume to email@example.com.
Please join us on March 3, 2015 from 9am-3pm for open interviews at our office at 135 E. Frederick St. Binghamton, NY 13904
Re-issued Public Notice February 24, 2015 extending public comment timeframe and adding an additional public information Webinar on March 10, 2015
Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Settings Transition Plan
Pursuant to 42 CFR 441.301(c)(6)(iii), OPWDD hereby gives notice in order to obtain public comments on OPWDD’s revised HCBS Settings Transition Plan. The revised HCBS Settings Transition Plan includes updated information on non-residential settings based on guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in December 2014.
OPWDD’s initial HCBS Settings Transition Plan was formally made available for public comment from May 2, 2014 through June 3, 2014. Information on the initial Transition Plan and public comments as well as OPWDD’s HCBS settings actions and activities can be found on OPWDD’s website using the following link: http://www.opwdd.ny.gov/opwdd_services_supports/HCBS/home
A summary of the initial public comments received and OPWDD’s response is incorporated into the revised OPWDD HCBS Settings Transition Plan.
The full text of OPWDD’s revised Transition Plan is available on OPWDD’s website at:
Public input is requested in writing no later than April 1, 2015 (extended from March 18, 2015) to the following email and/or mailing address:
Quality@opwdd.ny.gov (specify HCBS Settings Transition Plan comments in subject line)
OPWDD Attention: DQI HCBS Settings 44 Holland Avenue, 4th Floor
Albany, New York 12229
OPWDD will also accommodate input through private or group telephone contact no later than April 1, 2015. Contact Alicia Matuliewicz, OPWDD Division of Quality Improvement, at (518) 473- 9050 to make arrangements to provide verbal comments.
Re-issued Public Notice February 24, 2015:
Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Settings Transition Plan
In addition, OPWDD will be hosting a public webinar to review the revisions to the HCBS Settings Transition Plan and to accept public comments during the following dates and times:
Webinar Session 2: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM To register go to: https://meetny.webex.com/meetny/onstage/g.php?d=646403389&t=a
Webinar Session 3: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM To register go to: https://meetny.webex.com/meetny/onstage/g.php?d=640465742&t=a
To join the audio conference only, please call one of the following numbers:
Toll Free: 1-844-633-8697
Alternate Toll Free - (For callers not able to call the 844 Toll Free Number): 1-866- 776-3553
Follow instructions you hear on the phone.
The Cisco Meeting Place meeting ID: 640 465 742
Information regarding New York State’s Statewide HCBS Settings Transition Plan can be accessed on the Department of Health’s website using the following link: https://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/redesign/home_community_based_settings.htm
The Binghamton Senators are on the ice again.
By getting your tickets through HHH / STIC, a potion of your purchase price will be donated back to STIC for the HHH fundraiser. Remaining home games we are sponsoring are 3/13/15 and 4/18/15.
We are trying to sell 50 tickets per game, so please share with your facebook friends and help us reach our goal. Look for our display on the promenade on the above dates, and meet some of our HHH ScarActors in action. To get tickets, contact us at STIC 607 724-2111 and ask for Todd or Bill. We appreciate the support. Happy Haunting, HHH
Southern Tier Special Ed Task
To sign up for the Southern Tier Special Ed Task Force email list, go to http://nyspecialedtaskforce.simplelists.com/. Choose Southern.Tier.Special.Ed.Task.Force from the list on the subscriber page. Subscribing to the Southern Tier list will allow you to continue to receive updates and announcements from the Southern Tier Task Force. You can also subscribe to the lists of other Regional Affiliate Task Forces as well as the Statewide list. You have to subscribe to each individually, but there is no limit on how many you subscribe to.
The state task force keeps a mailing list for us. We hope to see you at future events. Our next training is May 4 from 12-1:30 (bring a brown bag lunch) at STIC.
We will be hosting a parent panel on planning for vacations when you have a child with a disability. There will also be information about local summer programs/camps.
Also - the statewide task force is planning their big Spring conference - here are their links:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 2nd Thursday of the month
Contact: Richard Farruggio (607) 724-2111
Southern Tier Independents Center Announces Support Group for People With Visual Disabilities
We’re excited to be offering a new Support Group for adults with visual disabilities.
This group is designed to support people of all ages who want to discuss and help others resolve issues experienced in our daily lives.
For people who are newly diagnosed with vision loss, coping with daily chores such as cooking, cleaning, identifying money, or even dialing a telephone can be especially challenging.
As a group we can problem solve, share useful information about assistive technology, learn how to advocate for ourselves, share strategies on navigating the sometimes complex service system, and much more.
If you or a family member is totally blind or has a visual impairment, we invite you to join us.
STIC now has a "Close BDC" petition on Moveon.org. The link is at the end of this email. Please sign and circulate widely.
A sample from the petition is below. Click on the link to see the full text and to sign on.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) forbids state governments to discriminate on the basis of disability in delivering programs and services. The 1999 US Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v L.C. defines unnecessary segregation as illegal discrimination under the ADA and requires states to serve people with disabilities in the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs. The Olmstead decision and federal regulations also require that evaluations to determine what is âappropriateâ must be professional, objective, and impartial.
BDC is also extremely expensive to maintain ($450,000 per person per year). People can receive integrated community-based services for a third of that cost or less, while experiencing a much improved quality of life that supports their dreams and goals.
What about all the job loss?
NYâs Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has stated that it does not plan to lay any one off as a result of closing BDC. They say equivalent jobs will be available in community service programs. Nearly all of the residents leaving BDC will move to more integrated settings in Broome and surrounding counties. New programs will be created, and others will be expanded, to serve them. Almost all of the current BDC staff will find jobs in those programs.
What should happen to the people who live in BDC?
OPWDD has already closed several similar institutions, moving people into other more integrated settings. Services already exist to support people in the community.
We call upon NY OPWDD and public officials to close BDC as scheduled, and ensure that those transitioning into the community have adequate supports to assist them with housing, employment, recreation/socialization and behavioral issues.
Please sign this petition and send it to your friends, so that people with disabilities can be freed from segregation and enjoy the rights and independence to which they are entitled. That's why I created a petition to Laurie Kelley, Commisioner, OPWDD, Debbie Preston, Broome County Executive, The New York State House, The New York State Senate, and Governor Andrew Cuomo, which says: "Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC) urges you to join us to ensure that BDC closes by March 31, 2016, as scheduled. BDC is a large institution that segregates people with developmental disabilities, restricting their choices, their lifestyles and their civil rights." Will you sign my petition? Click here to add your name: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/ensure-that-broome-developme?source=c.fwd&r_by=10594430
Special Statement on Broome Developmental Closure Issues
March was National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Sadly, we in Broome County seem to have celebrated it by promoting ignorance and hatred.
The high privilege of being elected or appointed to office comes with the responsibility to learn, and promote, the truth about public issues. But in recent events concerning the planned closure of Broome Developmental Center (BDC) and its Local Intensive Treatment (LIT) Unit, several local politicians and officials have not stood for truth.
They have instead accepted verifiably false rumors at face value, and promoted fear and panic in this community. They have contributed to an atmosphere in which threats of violence have been made against at least one citizen, who is now facing homelessness as a result of misinformed prejudice. They have recklessly aided and abetted a witch hunt, and will share responsibility for any harm that comes to anyone as a result.
All of us share our communities with criminals. None of us knows whether our neighbors, disabled or not, have committed assaults, murders, kidnappings, armed robbery, or arson, or whether they are likely to do it again. People are very nervous about sex crimes. But is there a rational explanation for why we publicize the location of people who inappropriately touch someone, but do not tell everybody where all the drunk drivers who have killed children live?
A federal Department of Justice study found that strangers were the offenders in fewer than 5% of sexual assaults against pre-teen children. Over 95% of these acts were committed by people known to the children and, most likely, to their families. Did knowing those people and where they live protect the children? No, it did not. But it’s easier for people to hate and hound and ostracize strangers than it is for them to take responsible action to make sure their spouses, siblings, and friends don’t molest their kids.
Society’s response to this issue is almost entirely emotional, and that’s how politicians make hay. Several of them are now saying that we need legislation so we can permanently lock up people who are merely accused of crimesbut only if they have disabilities.
This is, of course, unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, and illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is also outrageous. And all of the elected officials involved in this hysteria know better.
But most of them get significant campaign support from public employee unions, including those representing workers at BDC.
For decades, people have been released from forensic units operated by the NY State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) all over the state, none of whom committed dangerous acts after release. When people are released one or two at a time, here and there, there’s no public uproar. Most of these people were admitted voluntarily, and have never been accused or convicted of a crime. They can leave any time, with 72 hours’ notice. Court-remanded people, whether “competent” to stand trial or not, cannot be released, nor can they just walk out.
These witch hunts only seem to occur when an OPWDD facility is scheduled to be closed. We saw it in Rochester last year, and now we’re seeing it here. STIC also has email evidence that recent local events were encouraged by union leaders.
Closing these facilities will mean a loss of union jobs. Not a net loss; the people being released need lots of support services, and new jobs will be created to provide them. But the unions that are still preventing OPWDD from firing workers who abuse people in state facilities will lose jobs. Those unions will get less dues revenue; their leaders will have lower salaries; and they won’t be able to give so much money to political campaigns. It’s easy to see what’s really motivating these people.
Our leaders are supposed to lead informed citizens, not follow angry mobs. And they are supposed to put the rights of the people ahead of the interests of campaign contributors. The responsible thing for them to do now is to:
1. Publicly condemn the illegal actions of people who release confidential information.
2. Publicly state that most of the information being spread by the rumor mill is false.
3. Support OPWDD’s perfectly adequate plan to maintain 150 beds in two secure locations to house truly dangerous people after BDC closes.
4. Stop calling for new laws to rescind the habeas corpus rights of people with disabilities who are not convicted of crimes.
Who We Serve
All of our services are available to people with all disabilities of all ages and their families. Many are also offered to businesses, agencies and governments.
All services are offered in the following counties:
Please see our services link above for specific information regarding all programs and counties served.
If you can suggest any other steps we can take toward building this accessible world, we'd like to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (607) 724-2111 (voice/TTY/ VP) or fax (607) 772-3600. Or visit us at 135 East Frederick St. Binghamton, NY 13904. Our hours are 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday. Our programs grow out of your needs and concerns. Together, our journey into imagination can become a reality.
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