Tag Archives: CEO Corner

CEO Corner

Photo of Patricia Yeager, CEO

Photo of Patricia Yeager, CEOHave you seen a new curb cut or curb ramp in your neighborhood recently? If not, and you have sidewalks, those accessible path of travel tools are coming your way! Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Mayor John Suthers speak at two different events about sidewalks and curb ramps, as the city calls them. Having well-constructed curb ramps and passable (not to mention smooth) sidewalks are both critical to the independence of people with disabilities and seniors who have mobility and/or balance issues.

A small community organizing group, ACT or Access the Community Today had identified a large number of inaccessible sidewalks and curb ramps, and brought those to the attention of The Gazette last year. A front page article featured Sharon King, a wheelchair user, trying to navigate a crumbling curb ramp and potholed street. It appears that the City had not been following the law over the years, which states that when streets are repaved, curb ramps must be added or repaired if existing ramps are in place and need it. Missing curb ramps should be added at intersections where only one or two exist. In short, make the public path of travel usable by all people as roadways are repaved or added.

What a difference a year, a vote, and advocacy makes! With the passage of 2C, the voters of Colorado Springs sent a message to improve our roadways. One of the provisions of 2C was that 45% of the funds were to be used for improvement or installation of sidewalks, curb and curb ramps, as well as gutters. This equals about $25 million a year for the next five years to be spent on these items. Using just 2C funds, Mayor Suthers stated at our ADA Celebration in July, that 114 new curb ramps had been created, 99 curb ramps repaired, and 3 miles of sidewalk laid. In addition, through a “variety of funding sources”, more than $4 million was spent in 2015 that resulted in the construction of more than 500 new or reconstructed ramps and 10 miles of sidewalk.

I sure hope your personal path of travel through this city is getting better! A tip of the hat, the flash of a wheel, and the bark of a guide dog to Mayor Suthers and City staff in every department for their commitment to improving the walkability of our city for everyone, including the disability and senior communities.

CEO Corner (Winter 2016)

Photo of Patricia Yeager, CEO

Another year under the belt! And what a year it has been….Here are some of the highlights.

Photo of Patricia Yeager, CEO The IC’s Peer Support program really took off with the addition of some great recreational events and funds for people with spinal cord injuries from a grant from the National Council on Independent Living.

We were awarded certification to start providing Home and Community Based Services to Veterans and are just waiting for the VA in Denver to send us referrals. Now vets will be able to access paid caregivers and other services very shortly.

Our advocacy services have had a terrific year. The Mayor added a significant amount of funding for bus transit based on the work of the Transit Coalition. PATH, a new community group that emerged out of the housing study that The IC community organizing department undertook, is grappling with housing for homeless people in Colorado Springs, including advocating for a “Tiny Home” neighborhood that could serve as a transition home for people with disabilities who are homeless. Funding for Centers for Independent Living in Colorado got a big vote of confidence as the State Legislature increased our state funding by little over $4 million dollars annually.

We held our first ADA celebratory luncheon in July at the Hotel Elegante with 300 people in attendance! Richard Devylder, longtime California advocate for persons with disabilities and emergency preparedness, gave a great speech for the gains made so far. To our dismay, Richard unexpectedly passed away a week later. What a gift for all of us that got to hear him speak.

Our Home Health/HCBS division has been struggling to find and hire Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) which caused us to have to turn away consumers needing those services. So we took a brave, proactive step and bought our own CNA training school! As of December 1 we are the proud owners and operators of what was formerly Front Range Nurse Aide Training Program. We have renamed it The Independence Center CNA School. We are looking forward to including deaf individuals and others in training programs. Not only will we train CNAs, but personal services providers and home makers as well.

Health care is becoming a passion for The IC. This year the Community Health Partnership that serves as the healthcare coordinating agency for persons who receive both Medicaid and Medicare awarded funding to The IC to conduct research on barriers to healthcare that people with disabilities in the Pikes Peak region experience. Look for some announcements next year on ways we will work to remove those barriers.

New staff, new programs, even a few new board members! It’s enough to make my head spin and I look forward to what 2016 will bring. Here’s to a healthy, prosperous and barrier-free New Year for everyone! ~ Patricia Yeager, CEO of The Independence Center

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