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Inclusion Desk

The Inclusion Desk is a multi-platform reporting effort by WXXI News to inform and transform attitudes and behavior about inclusion. The Inclusion Desk grew from the Move to Include partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation. Through programming and special events, WXXI and the Golisano Foundation look to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.

The state’s ongoing fiscal crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to temporary funding reductions for some cities and postponed planned pay raises for state workers. It’s also led to reductions to some smaller programs, including a key organization that has helped New Yorkers with intellectual disabilities navigate the pandemic. The program is slated for significant cuts this month.   

Center for Disability Rights

Monday marked the 21st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that allowed people with disabilities the right to live in their community and not be subject to unjustified isolation.

But advocates said much more must be done, especially in the age of COVID-19.

The Center for Disability Rights hosted a webinar Monday that looked at the impact of the Olmstead v. L.C. decision, and attendees discussed ways to ensure that everyone has a right to live and participate in the community.

golisanofoundation.org

The Golisano Foundation has awarded $416,000 to 11 organizations in western New York and southwest Florida in another round of grants designed to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The foundation has now issued three rounds of grants to help agencies that have urgent needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That brings the total COVID-19 response grant funding to date to $1.1 million.

Grants announced on Monday include those going to the Arc agencies in Ontario, Wayne, Genesee and Orleans counties.

Luticha André Doucette

 

When the pandemic reached Rochester, equity coordinator with the city government Luticha André Doucette says that she was concerned for her safety. Doucette has a disability and is immunocompromised.

However, amid the pandemic there was a silver lining. Doucette along with so many others began working from home. Her cats have made regular appearances on ZOOM calls. She said that while it’s comfortable, it’s also brought up frustration. 

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People with intellectual disabilities and autism who contract COVID-19 die at higher rates than the rest of the population, according to an analysis by NPR of numbers obtained from two states that collect data. They also contract the virus at a higher rate, according to research looking into group homes across the United States.

www.sunshinecampus.org

There will be no Rotary Sunshine Camp this year. Officials with the Rochester Rotary say that it was an emotional decision, but with the concerns about the coronavirus they didn’t feel it was safe to hold the summer camp in the Town of Rush as it normally does.

Tracey Dreisbach is the Executive Director for Rochester Rotary. She said it was an emotional decision to make, since so many people enjoy the camp which has a focus on providing fun for kids with disabilities.

Provided

It’s an average day in the age of COVID-19. You wake up and get ready for work, don your face mask, and head to your job as a supermarket cashier. You’re hard of hearing, and reading lips helps you pick up what your hearing device misses. But right now, the face masks that customers wear make it difficult to discern their muffled words or know whether they’re speaking at all.

the Golisano Foundation

The Golisano Foundation announced Thursday that it is distributing $426,300 in a first round of COVID-19 response grants

Just over $400,000 will go to organizations serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with urgent needs resulting from the pandemic. 

Center for Disability Rights

Many people with disabilities have been left behind during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester. 

Some senators have some ideas on how to change that. 

Gregg Beratan, the center's director of development, said that an institutional bias in funding for home- and community-based services has forced more people with disabilities into nursing facilities because certain services are only available to them there. 

File photo

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has co-written a letter to Congress calling for more protections for people with disabilities in the next coronavirus relief package.

The letter, signed by 20 senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, says that the public health emergency from COVID-19 has exposed a “pre-existing scarcity” of medical treatment, and available resources for those with disabilities.

The senators say people with disabilities make up about 25 percent of adults in the U.S., and are half of all Americans living in long-term poverty.

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