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• Fors and policies of social service agencies are confusing. Consumer-generated Alternatives • Organize e consumer group to review forus used by social service

agencies.

• Fon o consumer network for infornacion and referral.

• Create more support groups for autual assistance.

Provide corrective feedback and information to social service

agencies that fail to infon clients about benefits to disabled consumers.

• Provide social service agencies with training on benefits available

to disabled consumers.

• Consumers should derand that VR cases be reopened, if they have

not been fully informed about all benefits available.

• Independent living centers should train consumers in what benefits

are available and how to access then effectively.

Independent living centers or consumer groups could organize regular cooperative meetings involving representatives of ul social service agencies in the community, or if such an organization exists, become active and advocate for services to people with disabilities.

• If consumers are referred to an agency unable to serve ther, they

should contact the referring agency and tell then the referral was inappropriate and why.

• Educate consumers to use the state CAP agency, Legal Aid. and

other available legal help when services are unjustly refused.

• Set up courses in self-reliance that teach consumers to use

social services, such as the one used by the CIL in Anahein, CA.

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TRANSPORTATION: AVAILABILITY AND AFFORDABILITY

Five survey itens related to the availability and

affordability of accessible transportation services were identified

us major probleas by 8,213 consumers in 12 surveys. They received an average importance rating of 80% and an average satisfaction rating

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Consuzer-Identified Dieensions

Disabled citizens iro segregated from the rest of the consunity and forced to main et hoes because of lack of transportation.

In most areas, public transportation is not wheelchair-accessible, and paratransit is expensive or nonexistent. In rural areas, accessible transportation is available infrequently.

Lack of transportation is the primary barrier to conaunity participation, education, employnent, recreation, adequate sedical care, and independent living for people with disabilities.

Weekend and evening transportation is a probles.

Transportation between neighboring cities and frou rural areas to cities is a problen.

• Ideally, I city should have accessible sainline transportation for

those who can use it and paratransit for those who need it.

• Recreational events and facilities are sonetibes inaccessible.

Transportation to recreational events is unavailable.

Consumer-Cenerated Alternatives

Consumer groups need to work with existing community recreational facilities to make them accessible and usable for people with aisabilities.

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Contact organizers of recreational events for transportation for disabled participants.

People with disabilities need to becone involved in the planning of community recreational events and active in interest groups.

Fon a local task force on transportation, decide what local consumers need and want, then right for it.

• It is against federal law for paratransit to cost sore than

sainline transportation. Educate consumers about this law, how to sake complaints, and how to ensure its enforcenent.

Develop share-a-fare, as they did in Kansas City, MO, where 900 wheelchair users a month use that syste.

Give testimony to state legislatures on transportation funding.

Have lift buses operate at fixed rates and schedules as they do in Denver, I city with alaost 100% accessible buses.

• Slow transit schedules to accounodate disabled riders. Drivers

should call out scopo ahead of time.

• Include disabled drivers in existing driver training progres. :

• Dovolop car pools.
• Conduct public education on varied rodes of transportation

needed by disabled citizens.

• Subuit fomual complaints to transportation authorities concerning

mainling wheelchair accessible buses.

• Develop creative rural and shall city alternatives. Examples

Include nerging existing systess serving disabled riders (Morgantown, W. VA). Ownership of u lirt van by i consumer group or cooperative (Cuba, MO), and use of idle church or school life. equipped buses.

UTILITY BILLS

One survey question related to the affordability of utility bills was identified as a major problem in 4 surveys. A total of 1.611 consuners answered this survey iten, with an average importance rating of 89% and an average satisfaction rating of 34%.

Consumer-Identified Dimensions

• Disabled consuners on a fixed Incone cannot afford inconsistent

and high utility bills.

• Because of their radical needs, rany disabled consuners cannot

survive without water, mas for heat, and electricity to operate their equipment.

Consuner-Generated Alternatives

• Obtain help to establish prograss for weatherization. • Encourage landlords to weatherize units. • Educate landlords and disabled honcowners about tex credits for

weatherizing and solar installation.

• Encourage consumers to join annualized level payment plans. • Consumer groups can keep list for referral of agencies that help

pey utility bills.

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call local consumer oftairs office for help. if utilities are shut

Consule local phone company about discounts for disabled consurers.

Writo vloctad otricials describing problens with utility bills, and usk for legislative solutions and usistance programs.

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Sumary Comments

This report represents the comments and sucrestions of

thousands of Americans with disabilities. They have identified

specific comaunity features that inhibit Independent living. Sove
of these features include: inadequate job opportunities, job
discrizination, insufficient accessible and affordable housing.
Inaccessible public places, and unavailable and unaffordable service

options. These community probleas are counterproductive to schieving society's pool of Independence.

The common concerns outlined here frame an agenda for public,

private, and self-help initiatives.

These consumer-generated

alternatives feature nany practical steps that can be taken at

local, state, and national levels. Taken together, these issues and options pose a challenge to all who believe that justice requires

equal opportunities to achieve independence.

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