ECNV Executive Director speaks at the Arlington Co. Legislative Delegation Public Hearing

January 6, 2011 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

I am David Birds. I am the Executive Director of the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia. As most all of you know, as a Center for Independent Living, we work with other people with disabilities so that they, too, become more independent in their lives. Our staff consists mostly of people who themselves have a disability and many of us in turn work with others in a peer mentoring self-help manner this one-on-one approach puts others in touch with those who have been able to find the ways and means of living independently, even though it may mean we need some assistance in our own lives. For many it means we can show them how to get that assistance. This past year, we have provided these services to 423 people with disabilities. Most of these on an on-going basis and many from Arlington County.

We advocate for and with others with disabilities to make sure that the community is ADA compliant, that housing for people with disabilities is affordable and accessible. We teach life skills so that people with disabilities so that they may become employed and thus contributing members of society — one program we have currently is our Travel Training program whereby two employees work full time to provide Travel Training , thereby teaching and assisting people with disabilities in riding the busses and metro rail system, thus reducing the need for using MetroAccess or STAR.

I began introducing Centers for Independent Living (CIL) as our mission. The ENDependence Center and the other 15 CILs in the state of Virginia are scheduled to have a 10% cut in state funding. We’re asking you to help restore this funding. In the scheme of cuts it may not seem enormous ($467,000) but when it’s portioned out it, 16 Centers means a great deal. We’re currently facing other cuts in funding and need every cent we can get in order to carry out what is an important mission.

I would like to thank Senator Whipple for bringing this amendment. There are others wanting to come, people who we work with, some are here, some want their testimony read. So if you get overwhelmed by us there’s a lot of redundancy. You will see the real requests the needs and the demand of the center.

Thank you.

By ECNV Executive Director David Burds


Entry filed under: Advocacy, Event/Meeting. Tags: , , .

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