The Blue Ridge Independent Living Center in Roanoke contributed to a report by the Statewide Independent Living Council that received the first Commissioner’s Award for Livable Communities. The council was recognized for their hand in developing housing options for people with disabilities. BRILC assessed bus stops and connecting walkways which resulted in an accessibility study to determine Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.
Here is the press release from the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services.
(RICHMOND, Va.) —Commissioner Jim Rothrock of the Department of Rehabilitative Services has awarded the Statewide Independent Living Council with the first Commissioner’s Award for Livable Communities. The award was presented at the Independent Living Conference held in Richmond on May 1, 2012.
The award recognizes the work of the Council for their planning efforts in allocating funds to develop local-level housing options for people with disabilities.
The Council, working through Virginia’s Centers for Independent Living (CIL) has resulted in strategies to create more accessible and affordable housing units, promote the use of universal design, and educate communities about the housing rights of people with disabilities.
“Through the CIL network, we’ve been able to accomplish so much for Virginians with disabilities. Without that partnership, Virginia would be years, possibly decades, behind where we are and where we need to be. This award is a testament to the hard work so many do around Virginia to make it a better world for people with disabilities. We are proud to have been chosen as its first recipient,” said Shawn Utt, chairman of the SILC.
In 2011, the following CIL reported these outcomes:
• The Appalachian Independence Center in Abingdon developed relationships with local public housing and transportation providers to learn about their priorities and discuss enhancing services for people with disabilities.
• The Blue Ridge Independent Living Center in Roanoke conducted an assessment of bus stops and connecting walkways for people with disabilities, resulting in an accessibility study to help determine compliance with ADA guidelines.
• Clinch Independent Living Services in Grundy advocated with the Public Housing Authority to include people with disabilities transitioning from a facility in its preference plan.
• Junction Center for Independent Living in Norton educated local Public Housing Authority members on their role providing additional accessible units to accomplish successful transition from institutional settings to independent living.
The SILC will continue to be equally active in 2012 to support the network of independent living services.
The SILC is an autonomous planning body working with the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired and the 15 Centers for Independent Living (CIL). Its mission is to promote effective policies, programs and activities that maximize independence for Virginians with disabilities. The SILC is composed of 18 gubernatorial appointees. For more information, visit www.vasilc.org.