Legislative/Advocacy Committee – This committee helps coordinate statewide legislative advocacy and systems change initiatives carried out by the independent living task forces. Current priorities in housing, transportation, healthcare, self-determination, public relations, Native American issues and youth services were identified by participants at statewide independent living symposium meetings held in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The Legislative/Advocacy Committee develops legislative priorities in collaboration with the task forces and coordinates an independent living legislative day and follow up rally day at the state Capitol in Helena during each Montana legislative session. The committee also addresses other emerging state and national disability issues and coordinates grassroots advocacy efforts across the state in response such as letter writing campaigns, rallies, etc.
Housing Task Force: This group promotes the concept of Visitability in new housing construction statewide to increase the stock of housing that is usable for people with disabilities. They advocate for increased numbers of subsidized housing vouchers and development of other housing resources available across the state to expand options for affordable and accessible housing, particularly for people transitioning out of nursing homes into the community. In addition, they promote Fair Housing issues to minimize discrimination and expand housing opportunities for people with disabilities.
Montana Native American Task Force: This group is working to develop a statewide list of resources, programs and services available for American Indians with disabilities, particularly those living on reservations. They work with tribal leaders, community members, and program managers to address the need for accessible housing on and off the reservations. An ongoing effort is to develop a tribal liaison for interested tribal governments to address disability issues in a culturally appropriate manner. The Task Force will also work on the development of a resource guide in the utilization of housing programs offered through the Office of Native American Programs and Housing and Urban Development.
Public Relations/Education Task Force: This group works to develop talking point documents to be used by all four CILs to consistently promote independent living philosophy, services and systems advocacy/social change efforts statewide and to conduct ongoing media advocacy and public education campaigns.
Self-Determination Task Force: This group advocates compliance with the ADA's "integration mandate" that state services be provided to people with disabilities in the least restrictive setting. It also works to strengthen Montana's Medicaid services that support community living options through implementation of federal programs such as Money Follows the Person and Community First Choice Option which enhance nursing home transition, personal assistance and Home and Community-Based Services for consumers. The task force also advocates better enforcement of building code standards for accessibility statewide and the development of educational materials and outreach strategies to improve accurate diagnosis and treatment of people who experience post polio syndrome.
For more information contact Mike Mayer, Chairperson at email@example.com.
Transportation Task Force: This group works to increase coordination and advocacy resources for Transportation Advisory Committees so they may strengthen linkages and resources in and between Montana's communities. Also, they advocate for increased funding and expanded transportation resources not only to maintain current level services, but to increase services to address unmet needs.
Youth with Disabilities Task Force: This group works to expand transition services for youth with disabilities, explore possibilities to establish self-directed IEPs for high school students with disabilities statewide and advocate that VR counselors consistently begin attending IEPs when high school students turn sixteen years of age to improve transition outcomes.
Funding Issues Task Force and Healthcare Task Force: These groups originally worked on some priorities that came out of the 2009 and 2010 symposium meetings, but neither have met since before the 2011 legislative session because their individual task force priorities were completed during the Session through legislative advocacy and lobbying efforts.