Re: Funding of Independent Living Services For Arizona’s Senior Blind

Resolution: 2019- Resolution 01

WHEREAS, the population of blind persons eligible for independent living services is growing at an alarming rate, due in large part to the aging of “baby-boomers”; and

WHEREAS, the fiscal resources available to serve this growing population is woefully inadequate to meet the needs; and

WHEREAS the current funding mechanism for Independent Living Blind Services (ILB) has made it almost impossible to hire and retain qualified employees that can assist seniors in their need to learn alternative techniques of blindness; and

WHEREAS, newly blind persons need independent living services to assist them in staying in their own homes which can be achieved with appropriate blindness training; and

WHEREAS, the provision of independent living services, including but not limited to travel training, and adaptive technology training can provide continued activity and communication for those who often become ostracized in their homes; and

WHEREAS, the state legislature and Governor appropriated funding in 2007 to the Rehabilitation Services Administration to enable the agency to serve additional newly blind persons; however, that level of funding has not been consistently appropriated since, leaving seniors undergoing vision loss without adequate resources; and

WHEREAS, The Independent Living for the Blind (ILB) program within the Rehabilitation Services Administration has a growing wait list of persons seeking services; NOW; THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED, by the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona, in this convention assembled, this 31st day of August, 2019, in the City of Phoenix, Arizona, that our Governor and the State Legislature seek input from the members of this organization in order to fully understand the benefits and best practices for seniors undergoing vision loss. And

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization vigorously urge the Governor and the Arizona State Legislature to appropriate a permanent fixed amount of $500,000 annually for the Independent Living Program (ILB). This amount to be in addition to the Older Individuals Who are Blind OIB funding currently received annually; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the urgency of this resolution be emphatically imparted to the office of the Governor, the entire state legislature and to other interested organizations. The time for passive resignation to a growing neglected population has past and this organization is committed to ensuring that action is taken.