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.
Staff Members Tiffany Allison and Belle Ierardi volunteered on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 with the disAbility Law Center of Virginia in an effort to provide feedback on voter accessibility in Montgomery County. The statewide initiative is to recognize challenges facing voters with disabilities and encourage continued advancements to allow for increased accessibility at the poling stations. Allison and Ierardi visited 16 out of the 21 sites in Montgomery County and evaluated all accessibility areas involved in the voting process. The disAbility Law Center strives to create a more accessible environment at the poling stations to promote electoral participation for all members of the community.
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.
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.
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)