The Summer 2023 issue of our quarterly print newsletter Advocate is now available to read online.
Highlights in this issue include:
- Updates on The Arc’s priority bills
- A closer look at self-direction
- Essays and resources from Pathways to Friendship
- An analysis of the CDC’s newest study on disability rates
- The latest updates from multiple chapters of The Arc in Massachusetts
- And so much more!
Celebrating 70 Years of Progress: Share Your Story!
This year, The Arc of Massachusetts will be celebrating 70 years of progress for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism: from institutions and segregation to inclusion and opportunities.
Innumerable advocates, families, public officials, donors, human service agencies, and friends have worked tirelessly to reach this milestone. Through their efforts, the 200,000 Massachusetts residents living with disabilities have more opportunities to lead full lives in the community than ever before.
Do you have a story about The Arc’s impact that you would like to share? Visit www.arcmass.org/70Years to tell us more!
By Maura Sullivan
The state legislature wasted no time getting The Arc’s bill to hearings this session. As we went to press, 13 of The Arc’s priority bills have been heard in front of their respective joint committees. The bills included our top three priority workforce bills, Expanding Nicky’s Law, Updating Nicky’s Law, ABA for Adults, Archaic Language, Supported Decision Making, the Blue Envelope, Accessory Dwelling Units, Wheelchair Access, and our two health equity bills. Thank you to our dedicated legislative sponsors for their support on these bills and to the many advocates who testified alongside The Arc’s Government Affairs team.
By Maura Sullivan
The Arc of Massachusetts was fortunate to be chosen by Suffolk University Sawyer Business School as their Service Learning Partner in 2023. Over 70 students participated in a program led by The Arc’s Senior Director of Government Affairs and Health Policy, Maura Sullivan. Maura has been a guest lecturer at Sawyer Business School for five years, teaching about Social Change and Legislative Advocacy, in partnership with Professor Sonia Alleyne. Maura was also the 2023 recipient of Suffolk University’s Commitment to Service Award.
By Leo Sarkissian
In the Fall 2022 Advocate, we included an article titled “Advocacy for Person-Centered, Progressive Policy.” It focused on two major policy events at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), released prior to the end of the Baker administration: self-direction regulations, and the renewal of waivers with the federal government that help define home and community-based services (HCBS) established at the DDS.
These are key policy products that affect the lives of all served by DDS. In that article, we shared, “Planning is now ongoing for a full campaign to realize self-direction (self-determination) as stated in the Real Lives Law.”
By Rachel Hayward
Massachusetts is amidst an affordable housing crisis, and as this issue gets increased attention, the intersection of disability and homelessness cannot be ignored. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, almost a third of people who are homeless “experienced homelessness for extended periods of time and have a disability.” This is a worsening crisis, with a 16% increase in this homeless population since 2020. While much attention has been given to the benefits of relationships and friendships on the health and safety of people with disabilities, it is vital to consider the impact of social connections on housing security as well.