On November 18th, 2019, Carla Dean with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) came to the NRV DRC office and educated staff about other potential options for consumers. Whether needing home repairs, home modifications, or wanting to purchase a new home, USDA is another great resource NRV DRC can provide to consumers. As with any loan or grant program, there are eligibility requirements. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the USDA programs, please give one of our Independent Living Coordinators a call at 540-266-1435.
The Community Foundation of the New River Valley announced there were numerous grants being offered to nonprofits in the NRV area. Tiffany Allison (Community Advocate), wrote the proposal for a new program for NRV DRC using the acronym LEAN, which stands for Loan Equipment for Accessibility Needs. Money awarded via this grant will be used to purchase assistive equipment to officially begin the LEAN program for consumer. In other words, anyone who has a disability and a temporary need for equipment, can borrow – free of charge – an item as long as they have plans to obtain their own during that time. Any equipment borrowed must be returned so other individuals can have an equal opportunity to access their environment at no cost.
On November 13th, 2019 NRV DRC’s staff members Theo Rogers and Tiffany Allison attended a luncheon with the Community Foundation of the New River Valley and was awarded a grant in the amount of $1250.00 to go towards NRV DRC’s LEAN program. NRV DRC would like to give a big THANK YOU to the Community Foundation of the NRV for your generous contribution.
This was the second year in a row that staff members of the NRV DRC were able to volunteer with the disAbility Law Center of Virginia (dLCV) on Election Day. Tuesday November 5, 2019 NRV DRC staff surveyed several polling sites in an effort to provide feedback on voter accessibility in the New River Valley. Polling sites included in the survey were in Montgomery County, Giles County, Floyd County, and The City of Radford. The statewide initiative is to recognize challenges voters with disabilities face and encourage continued advancements to allow for increased accessibility at polling stations. Staff successfully evaluated all accessibility areas involved in the voting process for compliance. The disAbility Law Center strives to create a more accessible environment at the polling stations to promote electoral participation for all members of the community. All findings were reported to the disAbility Law Center of Virginia.
Linda Farley may be this year’s fastest “sprinter” in the Olympics of home modification paperwork!
Ms. Farley, needing a walk-in shower for her rented apartment, reached out to NRV DRC for assistance. Independent Living Coordinator Matt Shelor partnered with Ms. Farley to compile and submit information for a Rental Unit Accessibility Modification (RUAM) grant with the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).
As with any grant process, paperwork is a necessity: gathering the appropriate financial documents and rental agreements, to name a few. Ms. Farley excelled in her communication with the NRV DRC team and delivered the needed documents in record time. And her diligence paid off … Ms. Farley’s grant process went smoothly, and she received her walk-in shower this month. Ms. Farley came by NRV DRC’s office to thank Matt in person for all of his guidance in the application process. It gave Matt the opportunity as well to thank Ms. Farley for her frequent communication and earnest work throughout.
Linda is a great example of enthusiasm. By working closely together as a team, NRV DRC, the Consumer, and our friends at VHDA can achieve great things for renters with disabilities by helping them live more independent lives in the NRV!
NRV DRC successfully secured funding for all eight consumer projects that were submitted to Commonwealth Community Trust (CCT) early this spring. CCT, a nonprofit organization that administers affordable and efficient Pooled Special Needs Trusts (PSNT), awards funding on an annual basis.
NRV DRC had eight consumers who, based on their needs and/or their living situations, did not meet the criteria for traditional funding options. After compiling the applications with written statements of need and descriptions on how the obtained funding would improve each person’s quality of life as they remain in-home, NRV DRC’s Independent Living Coordinators Matt Shelor and Barb Clark submitted the applications. NRV DRC was notified on May 10 that 100% of all its applications submitted were approved and awarded full funding for the requested amounts.
The eight grants total nearly $5,200 and will benefit eight consumers in the NRV who have been long-awaiting assistance. Five of the grants were awarded funds for lumber to assist consumers in the construction of ramps, stairs, and handrails; this effort is a collaborative project with our friends at Hearts and Hammers, who donate their time and energy to help our mission.
GiveBigNRV, the local, one-day giving event initiated by Community Foundation of the New River Valley, was held on Wednesday, March 24. More than one hundred organizations in the community participated in the event. The New River Valley Disability Resource Center (NRV DRC) team prepared for many weeks prior. While several individuals managed the incoming office donations and inquires, the remaining staff, affectionately known as the “Dream Catchers,” decided to mingle and meet with the community to increase awareness and accept donations in the field.
NRV DRC’s first fundraising event, a huge success, ended the night of March 24 with nearly $3,100 in donations, surpassing the agency’s original goal of $2,015, a number that signifies the incorporation of the organization. The funds raised will benefit the “Bridge the Gap” campaign, which seeks to improve and grow independence for homeowners with disabilities who have significantly fewer options for home modification grants. NRV DRC strives to assist all individuals with disabilities in the NRV regardless of their living situation. Since those who rent have access to more government funding to accommodate their disabilities within their living situations, homeowners succumb to the “gap,” where these homeowners with disabilities, most of whom have worked all of their lives to achieve the “American Dream” of homeownership, are unable to qualify for government assistance to modify their home for accessibility.
NRV DRC wants to say THANK YOU to supporters and those who have contributed to the fundraising event. The goal is to increase our visibility in the community, foster growing relationships with businesses and agencies in the NRV, and improve the lives of those with disabilities.
On Friday, March 1, the NRV DRC held a candlelight vigil to memorialize those who have been murdered by family members or caregivers due to their disability, a crime known as filicide. The event brought in numerous people from the New River Valley, and local media coverage attended to report on the memorial. The afternoon of events included signs, speakers, a reading of names of those who have been murdered, and literature on filicide and how to advocate against it.
Several links to media coverage are below. We wish to thank WSLS10, WFXR, the Roanoke Times, WUVT, National Public Radio, and the Radford News Journal.