OSWEGO, NY – ARISE advocates joined hundreds of other advocates from across the state in Albany on February 14 for New York Association on Independent Living (NYAIL) Legislative Day. ARISE advocates used the opportunity to highlight the ongoing issues faced by people with disabilities.
The ARISE team included Sabine Ingerson, Director of the ARISE Oswego Office; Jim Karasek, Manager of Independent Living Services; Joanne Gardner, member of the Oswego County Advisory Committee; and Michael Moss and Roger Pullen, members of the Self-Advocacy Group. They met with Senator Patricia Ritchie, Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, Assemblyman William Barclay, and Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney. Assemblyman Robert Oaks was in committee.
The advocates shared information about continuing issues impacting the interests of people with disabilities, and ideas for change. They stressed the importance of community-based services, which allow people with disabilities to receive services in the most inclusive setting. These services are also almost always less expensive than the institutional alternatives.
“We at ARISE believe that all people have the right to choose where they live and from whom they receive services,” said Ingerson.
The advocates urged the expansion of grants to pay for home modifications. According to NYAIL, renovations that allow a person to live at home and receive services are far less expensive than nursing home care. ARISE is proud to work with the New York State Department Health to serve as the regional provider for the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Waiver program. Advocates also emphasized the need for people with disabilities to have access to employment and the ongoing issue of access to buildings and facilities.
“Each of the legislators was very responsive; really listened, and asked well thought-out questions,” Ingerson said.
In the afternoon, Assemblywoman Tenney escorted the ARISE advocates to the Assembly floor. She introduced the ARISE team to the legislative body and highlighted the agency’s mission and vision.
Assemblyman Will Barclay also spoke highly of ARISE and its work. Michael Moss and Roger Pullen said that the strong statements in the Assembly and the round of applause that followed were their favorite part of the day.
After the day in Albany, the advocates will follow up on the issues and concerns raised with the legislators. Having the opportunity to share individual stories was a great step in the right direction.
ARISE is a non-profit Independent Living Center run by and for people with disabilities. The organization has been providing advocacy and services since 1979, and each year ARISE works with approximately 4,000 people of all ages who have all types of disabilities. ARISE has offices in Onondaga, Oswego, and Madison Counties and operates ARISE at the Farm, a 77-acre recreational facility in Chittenango, NY, and ARISE & Ski at Toggenburg Winter Sports Center in Fabius, NY.