Live it: Federal initiatives in response to Olmstead

The White House and the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services today issued statements in recognition of the 10th anniversary of Olmstead and announced new programs or initiatives in response.

President Barack Obama declared 2009 the Year of Community Living, a new effort to assist Americans with disabilities to live independently in the community of their choice. As part of the effort, the Administration has provided more than $140M in Recovery Act funds for independent living centers.

Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary of the Dept of Health and Human Services, announced funding for Aging and Disability Resource Centers in each state. These centers will be “‘one-stop shop’ sources of information, one-on-one counseling, and streamlined access to programs and services that can enable people to remain in their own homes and communities.” A Coordinating Council, headed by the Office on Disability, will direct this and other initiative efforts. The Coordinating Council includes the Agency on Aging, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the Office of Civil Rights, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Initiative efforts also include “listening sessions” across the country.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced $30M in funding for a Housing Choice voucher program for non-elderly people with disabilities. With the release of a Notice of Funding Availability, HUD is soliciting comments from independent living and community living advocates, public housing authorities, and others to see that the funds are distributed to the greatest benefit.

For more information on HHS initiatives, see Secretary Sibelius’ press release at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2009pres/06/20090622b.html

For more information on HUD initiatives, see Secretary Donovan’s press release at http://www.hud.gov/news/release.cfm?content=pr09-095.cfm

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