Breaking News – Ohio Receives $11.9 Million Grant to Expand Affordable Housing Options to Ohioans with Disabilities Who Have Extremely Low Incomes

Ohio 811 Project Rental Assistance Program to supply more than 500 units of housing

To advance the integration of affordable housing and help prevent thousands of Ohioans with disabilities from being institutionalized or face homelessness, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) $11.9 million of new federal funding to support a five-year rental assistance program.

OHFA, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM), will administer rental assistance contracts for 508 housing units and coordinate supportive services for households which earn 30 percent less than the area median income, and have at least one person who has a physical disability, an intellectual and/or developmental disability, or a chronic mental illness. ODM, with assistance from the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS), will create and maintain a referral network to match persons in need with available housing units throughout the state.

HUD support of state housing agencies is made possible through the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) program.  Read more in the news release from HUD.  As policies, guidelines, and forms are developed regarding the program, information will be posted on OHFA’s website.

Empowering Families Symposium, March 13

The Empowering Families Symposium: Advocating for Children with Special Needs is scheduled for March 13 at the Xavier University Cintas Center/Schiff Family Conference Center, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Attendees will find special needs resources, access community resources, meet special education advocates, and network with others who are facing similar challenges. Keynote speaker is Gary Tonks, Executive Director, The Arc of Ohio. His presentation, Preserving Your Family’s Dreams: Adapting to Systems Change, will provide a wealth of up-to-date information for families. The event also will feature many vendor information booths. Registration is $25 and includes breakfast and lunch. Registration information and event details are online now.

The Arc of Ohio Training – Budget Information, March 26

The Arc of Ohio will host a one-day informational event for individuals, families, and professionals to learn more about the proposed 2016-2017 state budget, as well as participate in an afternoon of facilitated discussion regarding the future of independent service providers in Ohio. The event will be at the Hollywood Casino in Columbus — a free and accessible meeting space, able to accommodate a large number of attendees. Due to the venue’s legal restrictions, only adults 21 and over may attend. Advance registration is required. Register Now!

Red Treehouse a Resource for Families, Young Adults, Professionals

The website is a resource for Ohio’s families, young adults, and professionals to promote the well-being of children, youth, and young adults through age 26.  The website connects users to relevant information, resources, support networks, and events in various communities. The organization has prepared a video demonstration of how to use the Red Treehouse website. Please share this valuable resource for supporting Ohio caregivers with anyone for whom you think it may be helpful.

Employment First Training – The Path to Community Employment, March & April

Employment First, in partnership with The Ohio State University and Griffin Hammis Associates, is offering a training for professionals that will include steps to determine a person’s place on the Path to Community Employment, and the services and supports that can help them achieve positive employment outcomes. The training is free, and is offered in six regions across Ohio. It also will address the career development process, creating individualized learning and work experiences, and the discovery process. Register for the training and please sign up for only one of the offerings.

Call for Presentations: State of Ohio 13th Annual IDD/MI Conference, September

The National Association for the Dually Diagnosed (NADD) is seeking three-hour and 90-minute workshop proposals for the 13th Annual State of Ohio IDD/MI Conference (Individuals with Developmental Disabilities/ Mental Illness), September 21-22 at the Crown Plaza Columbus North Hotel. Proposals are encouraged to illustrate this year’s theme: Mental Health Aspects – Treatment and Support, and must be received by NADD no later than April 24. Submissions received after that date will not be considered. Notification of acceptance will be sent by email by April 30. Submit your proposal here.

Franklin County Self Advocate Group Sponsors Legislative Meeting, April 17

The Franklin County Board of DD Self Advocate Advisory Council is finalizing plans for their second annual Legislative Advocacy Day on April 17, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the Bixby Living Skills Center, 4200 Bixby Road, in Groveport.  Several legislators are expected to attend to seek feedback from self advocates on various legislative initiatives — including the recently-introduced biennium budget proposals.

Assistive Technology Vendor Fair, April 23

The annual Assistive Technology Fair will be held on April 23 at the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) office, 470 Glenmont Ave. in Columbus, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  There is no registration fee, and there will be doorprizes and hands-on demonstrations of assistive technology devices. For details, or to register, call Barbara Conner at 614-753-4679.

In the News

Recent news clips relevant to Ohio’s developmental disabilities community include:

Read Gov. John Kasich’s State of the State Address (Transcript), (Cleveland Plain Dealer © 02/25/2015); Dozens go to Columbus to protest YDC closing, (WKBN Fox 27 Youngstown © 02/20/2015); Wood Lane forced to privatize services, (Bowling Green Sentinel Tribune © 02/25/2015).

Mark Your Calendar! The Arc of Ohio, Day at Cedar Point, May 20  

The annual Arc of Ohio Day at Cedar Point is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20. Registration will be online by April 1, but mark your calendars now!

Save the Dates! Youth Leadership Forum, August 2-6 — Applications Now Online

Apply now for Ohio’s Youth Leadership Forum, a five-day leadership training program for students with disabilities who are in grades 11 and 12. Sponsored by the Ohio Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities, and by Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, the forum offers opportunities for student delegates to learn about choosing a career, disability as a culture, technology and resources, and self-advocacy. Delegates meet professionals with disabilities, and develop a plan to set personal goals.

DODD Hotline for Reporting Abuse, Neglect, or Other Major Unusual Incidents (MUIs)

To report abuse/neglect and other MUIs, call toll-free: 866-313-6733. Please note that MUIs are to be reported to the local County Board of DD, however, there may be times an individual, staff member, or family member may feel it is a conflict — or that, potentially, a County Board may be involved in the allegation.  In those instances it is important to remember the hotline number is there to be used for reporting concerns.