NRV DRC Consumer Celebrates a Finished Project

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).

On the left stands Matt Shelor, a 36 year old white make standing roughly 5 feet tall with dark hair and dark framed glasses. On the right stands Ms. Farley, who is an older white female with gray short hair and glasses standing next to Matt. She is wearing a white short-sleeve blouse and purple shorts, is wearing an oxygen cannula and is holding a portable oxygen machine in her left hand. Both of them are smiling at the camera as they stand behind Matt’s desk in his office.
Independent Living Coordinator Matt Shelor congratulates Consumer Linda Farley on the completion of her walk-in shower.

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 Achieves 100% Success Rate in CCT Application Funding

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 a “Big” Success for NRV DRC for Individuals with Disabilities

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.

A teenage girl with blond curly hair stands smiling and holding a large sign that highlights the Give Big fundraising event for that day
Tiffany Allison’s daughter, Trinity Allison, shows her spirit and volunteers for NRV DRC’s fundraising event.

NRV DRC Hosts the Disability Day of Mourning

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.

WSLS10, WFXR, National Public Radio

Screenshot of Roanoke Times article on Disability Day of Mourning shows Tiffany Allison leading group discussion on topic and a picture of flyers listing people with disabilities who’ve been killed
Roanoke Times, photo credit to Matt Gentry

NRV DRC meets with Senator Kaine

NRV DRC Office Manager, Krin Collins, and Community Advocate, Tiffany Allison, along with other Center for Independent Living advocates, met with US Senator Tim Kaine and his staff members in his Washington, DC conference room. Topics included Healthcare and the Disability Integration Act. This meeting was held in conjunction with a national conference spanning the week, and included a March through the streets of DC in support of disability rights.

US Senator Tim Kaine and members of NRV DRC seated at conference table smiling towards camera
US Senator Tim Kaine with representatives from Centers for Independent Living (CILS) July 24, 2018 in his DC office conference room.

NRV DRC helps fund specialized eyeglasses

Today NRV DRC Office Manager, Krin Collins, presents this Floyd County resident and NRV DRC consumer with a check from Commonwealth Community Trust (CCT) funding for which we guided her in making her application last March. She will use the funds to purchase specialized eyeglasses from a vendor in Roanoke.

Krin Collins and consumer both hold check, smiling and facing the camera

Testimonial from funding recipient

We received the following testimonial from a recipient of funding, which enabled her to get a new walk-in shower to help her maintain independence:

Mr. Lucas (contractor) and his helpers were very nice, clean and professional. I could not get a better construction team… they were great.  This walk-in shower with the seat and safety base is a dream come true for me. The last 5-6 years I have been only able to take sponge baths.  I would like to thank everyone for all they have done and a big thank you to Matt Shelor (Independent Living Coordinator) for his helping me get this done. Thank you all!

A.Y.C. (resident of Pearisburg, Virginia in Giles County)

NRV DRC Helps with Acquisition of iPad Pro

Today our Center aided a consumer with the acquisition of a new iPad Pro that will allow him to add a communication software to improve his two-way communication with others.

Matt Shelor, smiling, seated at desk beside consumer holding an iPad Pro
Independent Living Coordinator, Matt Shelor, with a consumer and his new I-Pad Pro which will aid him with two-way communication in the future.

Veteran’s Art Show and Exhibition

Reception with Show Open Weekdays 8am-4pm through May 18, 2018

Four participating artists on Veteran's Art Show reception night stand face camera, smiling
Participating artists on Veteran’s Art Show reception night, April 17, 2018.

New River Valley Agency on Aging’s Annual Caregiver’s Conference

Two smiling white women are seated at an exhibition table in the middle of a large room. Behind them are large display screens on the wall and also the back of other exhibition tables with visitors to them.
Barb and Krin represent NRV DRC at the Caregivers Conference

New River Valley Disability Resource Center staff members, Barb Clark (left) and Krin Collins (right),  seated at the New River Valley Agency on Aging sponsored Annual Caregiver’s Conference held March 8, 2018 at the New River Community College campus in Dublin, Virginia.  Our agency interacted with the public and with fellow exhibitors throughout the day.