RE: Funding for the Independent Living for the Blind Program
WHEREAS, The Department of Economic Security, Rehabilitation Services Administration, provides unduplicated services to blind/visually impaired Arizonans in the areas of Independent Living, and
WHEREAS, in the Independent Living program for the Blind (ILB), blind/visually impaired Arizonans are provided services that allow them to remain independent and safe in their homes and communities including, instruction in the use of the white cane for independent and safe travel, home management for independence and safety when preparing meals and in managing basic household daily activities, and adapted communication, for essential financial, personal, and critical concerns, and
WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona and the Governor’s Council on Blindness and Visual Impairment requested a separate line item for Independent Living services With in DES-RSA as it was prior to FY2010. This line item was included in the 2013 budget; however, the independent living line item allocation only included the amount required to match the federal allocation allotted for the Arizona older Blind program, and
WHEREAS, Independent living services to persons who are blind/visually impaired are unduplicated and are not available within the medical system of rehabilitative services as they are for other disabilities, and
WHEREAS individuals with vision loss are increasing as the aging population increases with the onset of age-related eye diseases, and
WHEREAS, older blind Arizonans who do not receive rehabilitative independent living services have a much greater increase of needing long-term care, both in-home and within assisted living facilities. These systems are already overburdened and underfunded, and
WHEREAS, blind Arizonans who receive rehabilitative independent living services gain the skills to live independently and safely in their own homes, and travel throughout their communities, and live and contribute as equal citizens, and
WHEREAS, For Fiscal year 2014, the additional funding allocation that was previously used to add to the older blind federal allocation was reallocated to other areas within the Rehabilitation Services Administration, and
WHEREAS, because of limited resources and a diminishing budget, RSA has implemented the following service reductions:
• All Blind Arizonans qualifying for the Independent living program who are under the age of 55 years of ages are to be placed on a waiting list until additional funding resources can be reallocated to ILB services,
• Access technology and equipment such as Closed Circuit Televisions; have been reduced to only basic low-cost items so that ILB service dollars can be utilized to provide training to as many individuals as possible.
BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona, assembled in convention on this 15th day of September, 2013, in the city of Tucson, Arizona, that we call on the Governor of Arizona, the Arizona State Legislature, and the Department of Economic Security to return the Independent Living service line in the RSA/ ILB budget to its 2011 levels in fiscal year 2014/2015, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NFBA continue to work with the GCBVI to insure that Independent Living services for Blind Arizonans are returned to the levels they were in 2011.