The Advocacy Newsletter of ILRCSF
ACCESS AND BUSINESS
The issue of access under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is once again becoming a prominent concern at the Federal and State levels. The business community is requesting a formal notification period be implemented prior to an access lawsuit being allowed to proceed. They are citing what are known as "drive-by lawsuits" practiced by a handful of lawyers in our state, as well as across the nation as the reason for this request. Frivolous lawsuits do not further the cause of equal access and can often, in fact, cause a wider division between the business and disability communities. However, unlike all other civil rights legislation, the ADA provides litigation as the sole route to resolving access issues. Since ILRCSF's mission includes "working to ensure that people with disabilities are full social and economic partners, both within their families and in a fully accessible community," we naturally cannot support any legislation that limits the right to pursue litigation.
In California, we have succeeded in finding common ground by having business groups and the disability community work together to craft SB1608. This bill allows a business to halt litigation for 90 days by agreeing to have an access inspection performed by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) and then taking the steps outlined in the plan to make their business more accessible. In most cases, the CASp develops a plan that will bring the business up to California Code, and the business can then opt to spend less by making the improvements, rather than incurring the cost of settling litigation, paying fines, and eventually making the necessary changes.
ILRCSF has long been committed to working in good faith with the business community to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to access the hotels, classes, restaurants and shops of their choosing. Seniors and people with disabilities deserve to be able to support the economy in their local communities by being welcomed at businesses, both big and small. ILRCSF continues to work toward solutions that bring business leaders to the realization that improving access is not only just, and in compliance with the law, but that it is also an opportunity to grow the economy. For more information on this topic, ILRCSF has prepared a power point that explains SB1608.
ILRCSF provides workshops to chambers of commerce, professional organizations, unions, and business owners regarding their responsibilities under both the ADA, and California law, including SB1608. If you're interested in finding out more about your responsibilities as a business owner, and how becoming more accessible is actually GOOD FOR BUSINESS, contact Executive Director Jessie Lorenz at Jessie@ilrcsf.org
Accessibility for Travelers
Accessibility in the business community isn't just about stores and shopping centers. People with disabilities are just like everyone else: we shop, we go to school, we enjoy the great outdoors, we go to sporting events, and we travel. San Francisco is a great vacation destination and tourist mecca. This site highlights SF's top wheelchair accessible hotels, and includes videos of each hotel. If you're a visitor to SF, or if you have loved ones who are coming to town and accessibility is important to them - as it should be to all of us - this is a great resource. Hotels are businesses, and business owners have a responsibility to be accessible to their customers.
Eating Out in SF When You Have A Disability
San Francisco is known, the world over, as a "foodie" city and many visit us specifically for our food. Locals are spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing produce, wonderful farmer's markets, and world-class restaurants. Just like stores and hotels, restaurants are businesses. Yelp has compiled a consumer-generated list of accessible restaurants in SF. Not only can this list be really useful to anyone who wants to enjoy SF's restaurant scene, but it provides consumers with an opportunity to have their say. By joining Yelp (a free online community) you can post about your experiences with accessibility in the marketplace, tell about stores, restaurants, and other businesses that you've found are really accessible and user-friendly. You can also post about experiences that have been LESS than user-friendly. One of the great features on Yelp (which pertains to the list of accessible restaurants) is the ability to filter listings by neighborhood, price range, distance to public transportation, and several other criteria. Give it a try!
ADA For Small Business Owners
ILRCSF has had a strong relationship with SF's small business community for many years. While some small businesses are less than accessible, we've worked closely with small business owners who strive to make their businesses as accessible as possible. At the end of the day, accessibility is GOOD FOR BUSINESS. And, of course, some business owners are also people with disabilities, themselves.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has published an ADA Guide for Small Businesses. This guide covers everything ADA-related from identifying barriers, to making sure that ramps and counters are ADA-compliant, to tax credits business owners may be able to claim when they make the shift towards ADA compliance.
It should be noted that this guide covers only the ADA, and not California State law concerning accessibility. For California business owners, it's a valuable resource, but not the ONLY resource. Information that is California-specific can also be found online.
|Valuable Access Guide to SF |San Francisco is a great city, with lots to see and do. People with disabilities will find The San Francisco Access Guide to be a valuable resource. It outlines accessible transportation options - both public and private -attractions, public toilets, hotels, shopping centers, etc. A simple letter system makes it clear how accessible stores, theaters, museums, parks, etc are.
Free Downloads for Kindle, E-Readers
The jury is still out about e-readers. Some people love them, some people hate them. The fact, though, is that e-readers are here to stay, and the electronic format is, for many readers, more accessible than traditional books are. While e-reading devices have come down in price (there's a Kindle that's only $79), a lot of people don't realize that there's no need to buy another electronic device in order to reap the benefits of e-books. If you have an Ipod Touch, an Iphone or other Smartphone, an Ipad or other tablet..or even if you just have a computer and internet access, you can download the Kindle app, absolutely free. This can be a great way to enjoy e-books without spending money on a new piece of equipment, or having to haul around yet another gadget.
In addition to the Kindle app being free, there are lots of books that can be downloaded for free. This is especially good news for families. Did you know that many of the books on your child's required reading list are in the Public Domain? This means the intellectual property rights have expired, and the book or article is accessible for free. You can go out and buy your child a copy of Pride and Prejudice or The Iliad - required reading for many high school students - or you can download these titles absolutely free.
Where to find free e-books
A really powerful search engine, that specifically targets Amazon for free downloads, is Jungle Search
Facebook users have a variety of groups they can join that focus on free e-books. One of them is Get Free Ebooks
So, if you have internet access, you're just a few keystrokes away from an absolutely free reading experience.
Economic Empowerment Summer Series
Do you have a disability? Are you interested in:
- Achieving greater economic empowerment?
- Developing skills for handling your own finances?
- Starting a small business, and/or taking steps to get off government benefits and return to workforce?
Then ILRCSF's Summer Series of free workshops is for you! Scheduled topics, led by guest speakers who are leaders in their fields, include:
- Basic personal budgeting
- Understanding credit, debt, and money management
- Resume writing and Job Search skills
- Starting and running a small business
Additional topics to be announced
For information on specific dates and topics, call ILRCSF at (415)543-6222.
Space is limited, so registration is required.
ILRCSF is wheelchair accessible, and reasonable accommodations (including ASL interpretation) are available upon advanced request. ILRCSF is a scent-free office- please do not wear any scented products, including perfume, aftershave, hairspray, etc.
ADA Transportation Survey- Share Your Views
Disability Rights, Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) is unveiling a short web survey: Public Transit Choices By People With Disabilities, as part of their transportation research on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). DREDF hopes many people in the disability community across the country will participate in the survey. Please take a moment to fill out the survey, and pass it along to friends and colleagues. This is a valuable opportunity to make your voice heard about accessible public transportation.
Options Counseling at ILRCSF: How Can It Help You Achieve Independence?
Options Counseling helps consumers make educated, informed choices surrounding their current and/or future long-term services and support needs. ILRCSF offers options counseling - at no cost to consumers - and can help people with disabilities take control of their own futures. This is what Independent Living is all about.
Options Counseling is a 100% free service.
To find out more about options counseling, and how it can help you achieve and maintain independence, call:
(415) 543-6222 Ext. 110
ILRCSF Economic Empowerment Workshops:
Benefits and Work Incentives
ILRCSF has two staff members who focus on Economic Empowerment. They provide information, support and advocacy regarding benefits and eligibility, work incentive programs, and emergency rental assistance programs.
Economic Empowerment staff work one-to-one with many consumers on specific topics and goals. They also lead two different types of group workshops every week:
1. Basic Benefits Overview
2. How Employment Affects your Benefits - for those on SSDI &/or SSI
For most consumers, attending a group workshop is the best way to begin working with ILRCSF's Economic Empowerment staff.
All workshops are on Thursdays at 9:30am. However, only one topic - basic benefits or employment -- is covered each Thursday. Please attend the workshop that best suits you.
If you need information about applying for SSDI, SSI, Medi-Cal or other benefits, come to the Basic Benefits Overview workshop. If, on the other hand, you already receive SSDI or SSI and are considering going to work, come to the workshop called How Employment Affects Your Benefits. At this Employment Workshop you will learn how to use work incentives to keep some of your benefits as you transition into a job, as well as how to use the PASS program, and Ticket to Work.
Please call our main number for a current schedule:
NOTE: ILRCSF is wheelchair accessible and provides reasonable accommodations upon advanced request. In order to be fully accessible to all people with disabilities, ours is a scent-free office. When visiting ILRCSF, please do not wear any scented products, including perfumes, aftershave, hairspray, etc.
|Employment Opportunity in Independent Living Movement|
Event Assistant (PT, Contract)
Non-profit has a temporary opening for a motivated Event Assistant. We are a small group that organizes people with disabilities to advocate for independent living resources, near Ashby BART.
The Event Assistant will work closely with the Director to produce an event in May 2012. The position requires communication skills, ability to prioritize tasks and projects, and attention to detail, customer-focus, and previous experience working with persons with disabilities preferred.
The position will provide support with publicity, guests, vendors and volunteers. Responsibilities include:
· Project coordination as directed
· Tracking event registrations; data entry
· Mailing invitations
· Track supplies and create badges
· Staff registration table at event
· Work with volunteers and people with disabilities
· Collect evaluation data after event
· Working knowledge of MS Office Suite (Excel, Word)
· Non-profit event experience
· A.A. or some college preferred
· Ability to follow directions
· Ability to establish and maintain relationships with vendors and guests
· Attention to detail, multi-task and prioritize tasks
· Ability to follow up on a task
· Work independently and problem-solve
· Must be able to lift up to 20 pounds
· Experience working with people with disabilities preferred
This is a part-time, temporary contract position.
The pay is $15 per hour, the hours are 15+ per week and the position is expected to last 6 weeks. There are no benefits.
To apply for the position, send your one-page resume in MS Word as an attachment to an email to the following address ASAP: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the subject line, write "Event Assistant"
The Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco is a 501(c)3, not-for-profit organization. Donations from the public support our workshops, one-to-one services, multi-cultural outreach, advocacy and systems change work, the Herb Levine Legacy Fund, and this newsletter. Please consider making a donation to help us keep offering information, support and advocacy to people with disabilities.
Tax deductible donations may be sent to:
649 Mission Street, 3rd Floor,
San Francisco, CA 94105
You can find out more about ILRCSF by following us on the Internet: