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I ADA Celebration

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Homeshare Program Prese rves nce, Saves Money by Stephanie ~ d .x-

district manager of the St. Paul office of the Social Security Administration, which runs ssl. Faitek and others, including Social Security Commissioner Gwendolyn King, have recently stepped up efforts to - - h dpeople eligible for SSI and help them apply, .* -

Third Lowest

"We're fortunate in Minnesota in having the Mimesota Housing and Finance Agency back this program," says Wallace. "There arc ten tax-exempt programs throughout the state and we've just gotten new funding and new grants. But Minnesota also has some of the highest use of nursing home beds. Ten percent of the senior population is in nuping homes in contrast to a five percent national average." Wallace says that when people in nursing homes run out of money, the state is obligated to pick up the costs which can run upwards of $20 thousand every yew. With some supports, likea live-in home sharer abled and older people can stay in their homes," " I t s a thin line between health and sickness wi

Farmington, a third tier suburb, 25 miles south of Mianeapolis. W e haven't placed anyone in Fannington yet," Wallace explained. W e talked with some city officials but they didn't seem interested. The mayor said he thought it sounded Cornrnunistic. I think they don't understand that the rural and semi-rural disabled and elderly have unique problems. They don't have access to public transportation. A lot of times, r;specially with the elderly, the family has moved away and they lose their immediate circle of support." e who want to stay the housing costs E cont on p. 10

perception that benefits may be too marginal to warrant -

ly assumed that being employed would prevent someone from receiving SSI. Half thought, incorrectly, thr ownership of a house or car would bar an applicant from eligibility. More than onethird incorrectly assumed that anyone receiving regular Social Security benefiB would not qualify.

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as many as 50 percent of those eligible for SSI are not participating. A 1988 study by the American Association 'of Retired Persomconcluded that fewer than two in five

for SSI in the past may not realize 'bat they are eligible today. "We know of people who have lived off their savings, and now their savings are. diminished and they 3re

among elderly who are eligible. Of the 36,375 Minnesotans receiving SSI benefits in December, 1988,26 percent were 65 or older. Theprogrampaysmonthly checks to aged, blind and disabled people who do not have much income or esources. Up to $386 a non nth is available to a single person and $579 to couples. Several reasons have

saying it "boggles the mind." Faitek said the form is not intended to be self-completed . and that his staff can help applicants fill out the form in q_& average 15 to 45 minutes. Applicants age 65 or older who are deemed eligible can receive their first check in as quickly as five to ten days, . Faitek said. SSI recipients must meet a cont on p. 8

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September 1990

Access Press The Americans with Disablitities Act (ADA) celebration at the convention center was a great success. It was a time for people with disabilities and their supporters to gather, make speeches and generally applaud each other for doing something that even our own Senator Durenberger said "was a one in ten shot for passage". Now that the ADA has passed, people are looking for dramatic changes. Sorry, I don't think you will see them in Minnesota. We are living in a state that has one of the best records, when it comes to the treatment of its disabled population. We won't see huge change because in many instances Minnesota has already taken the lead. Don't get me wrong, many challenges are still facing us and we will need to keep showing people what they are before we can expect them to change. I would like to thank everyone for turning out. Special congratulations to all of the people at the Multiple Sclerosis Society for their coordination of the event. I became reacquainted with a number of people and met many more. We handed out papers, talked with a large number of readers, supporters, and new subscribers. Sonja Kerr, a local attorney, told us about a case now in litigation which concerns us. A little girl is trying to attend her local public school in Mankato, but can't. It appears she is a victim of discrimination. Read about her challenge to the system in this issue.

CHA RLlE SMlT H

I was rather surprised and shocked by the apparent apathy of some of our politicians doncerning your health care survey. I'm sure an issue as vital as this to our entire country warrants a reply. Senator Boschwitz lack of concern seems particularly uncaring. He is after all our senior Senator and most influential representative in Washington, DC. Perhaps his aides are busy enlarging his political war chest instead of taking heed to legitimate requests by constituents.

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I came away with a good feeling about the paper after listening to your comments. Many of you gave us your suggestions for articles. Look for them in future issues. Speaking of future issues, I welcome your suggestions. Call or write and let me know about any subjects which you think may be of interest to our readers. Letters to the editor are especially welcome- feel free to criticize us, enlighten us, or just spout off on any subject of importance to you. I do want to pursue the subject of accessible recreation and entertainment. Feel free to tell us about pleasant experiences you have had at restaurants, concerts, parks, or anywhere. I don't want A C C B S PRESS to be merely a vehicle for complaints. You can help us lighten it up. In the last issue we asked our political leaders, present and future, about affordable health insurance. Many of them responded with interesting ideas on resolving the crisis. I do feel it is a crisis that seems to always get put on the "back burner" after lukewarm discussion time after time. Hopefully, one of these days we can get some action. If the ADA can pass so can a National Health Bill. The Primary will be held September 1lth, and I would like to encourage everyone to get out and vote!

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will be helpful to many p&$si PWQM suggest an equivalent survey for arts facilities (~iuthrie,,' Qg%q@aHall, etc.). While we might have editorial dilkmxka onoccasion, I think it is important that the disability c o m m ~ h ~ v o s o l i d every bit @ ~ kia

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Warchol, Berndt & Hajek Attorneys providina complete legal services 3433 Broadway Street Northeast Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota 55413 (612) 331-4211

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WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I RECEIVE AN OVER* appeal within 1Odays of receiving the notice of overpayPAYMENT? ment if you want to make sure your benejt checks conA. Unless SocialSecurity decides to waive recoupment of the tinue uninterrupted and for the same amount, until the overpayment, or decides that it made a mistake and you appeal is decided. do not owe the overpayment, Social Security must try to * you must appeal within 60 days of receiving the notice recover the overpayment. It will do this in one of three of overpayment, or you lose the right to appeal. Your ways: payments will be reduced if you don't appeal within 10 * You may agree to an immediate re~avmentof it all, or days, but you can still appeal until the full 60 days have -repayment;ver a period of time; brpassed. - -. .. * Social Security may take small payments out of your fu- 3. File for a waiver of the recoupment ture checks until the total overpayment has been recovPersons who agree that they have been overpaid but who ered; or can't afford to pay it back, should file for a waiver right * Social Security may sue you to recover the overpayment away. Don't forget, however, that anyone notified of an plus court costs and fees. (This is not likely to happen overpayment always has the right to file f o r a waiver 't .unless you no longer receive SSI.) whether you believe you owe it or not. Q.WHATSHOULDIDOIFIGETANOTICE0F AwaivermeansthatSocialSecurityhasdecidedyoudo RECOUPMENT OF ANY OVERPAYMENT? not have to repay what it believes is an overpayment. SoA. First of all, check the facts in your situation. Learn your cial Security can grant a waiver if: rights in the matter. and act ~ r o m ~ t to l vexercise your * You were not at fault in causing the overpayment. rights. It would be good i& to t% to an advocate or * 1t would defeat the purpose of the programamGtry to colAn OverPaYment occurs when You ha'' received an SSI Paylegal semices if you have any questioos. lect the overpayment. ment that you are not eligible for, or when Social Security has n I.R. . nr r * It would be unfair or against good judgment to require A sent you a payment larger than it shou~ape. AL U.GHTs IF I you to repay the overpayment. F o r example, you can I-WIILO ur KDLuUPMENT OF AN OVERQ. HOW DO OVERPAYMENTS OCCUR? prove that you cannot afford to pay it back, and it would PAYMENT? A-o v e ~ ~ n t s h a for ~~en tressom-For ex- A. youhave hre youcm parwc one or of cause YOU great hardship.) apnsonforgetsmrepatachangesUCh8Sin1iving them,but act promptly. T i d i n e s are very important if * The amount of money bo be recovered is so small, that arrangements, hospitalization, an addition to income or it would nat bc W9d lime enmgy to you hope to protst-pur hefie. Oo -ediately to the Or a move another state assets, the death of a If you wantto,'ytiu ean also file for a waiver when you file ' Social Security O f k e to ausue one or more of these with smaller SSI payments. Sometiines Social SecuritY options. 'an apped. b e advocates think this is always a good IdeS ^ -:"kL" :-^^l-.l^.L.4 IIUJIUAG Ill U L G W U U ETA.- ,idea. --wB 0. CAN OVERPAYMENTS BE PREVENTED? ----------. If you have appealed and it is denied, you should always It is very important to report a cnange m status m e d m t e - KIXOUYMEN.1file for a waiver immediately after the denial. ly so that overpayments will not be made. Even '* You may be ableto obtain a waiver for one of the reasons &rt immediaiely, the next check may be sent bdbn the pay it back listed above. If you are denied a waiver, you can appeal amount can be adJusled' and OY-~entIf you agree that an overpayment has been made, you can that denial.

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ACCESSIBLE VANS

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Very Special Arts M~nnesotais sponsoring a statewide competition for children and adults with disabilities to come up with an original design that expresses accessible and youth (ages 17 and under) entries. Designs must be entered on an official entry form.

Entry forms are available ~ e p t15, . 1990. Call (612)332-3888.

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Conversions Driving Aids Accessories Call Leo or Darrell and let

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September1990

Access Press

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Events Calendar September. 1990

Wed.

Tues. Wed.

Thurs.

Mon.

ADULTS WITH POST POLIO SYMPTOMS SUPPORT GROUP 12:00 - 2:00 P.M. Independent Crossroads, 378-0027 ADULTS WITH CEREBRAL PALSY SUPPORT GROUP Lutheran Social Services, 3784CQ7 MULTIPLE SCLEROSB SUPPORT GROUP 7:00 - 9:00 P.M. Creekside Community Center, 887-9677 ADULTS WITH PHYSICGL DISABILITIES SUPPORT GROUP 1:00 - 3:00 P.M. Lewis Park Apartments, 378-0027 YOUNG ADULTS WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES SUPPORT 4:00 - 5:00 P.M. Courage Center, 378-0027 ST. PAUL W I T A N CLUB

PARKINSOWS SZTFP(TRT GROUP 7:00 P.M. Methoclisf Hospital, 932-5495 LOSS SUPPORT C R q 3:30 - 5:30 P.M. Trevilla of W i n s d a l e , 378-0027 PARKINSON'S CAREGIVERS SUPPORT GROUP 7:00 P.M. Methodist Hospitd 931-5495

ADULTS WITH CEREBRAL PALSY SUPPORT GROUP Lutheran Social Services, 378-0027

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Tues.

7:00 - 9:00 P.M. Creekside Community Center, 887-9677 PARKINSON'S SUPPORT GROUP 1:00 P.M. Methodist Hospital, 932-5495 YOUNG ADULTS WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES SUPPORT 20 GROUP 4:00 - 5:00 P.M. Courage Center, 378-0027 Thurs. STROKE SEMINAR All day - Pre-register by Sept. 14, Courage Center Irene Lohmann, 520-0466 24 LOSS SUPPORT GROUP 3:30 - 5 3 0 Trevilla of Robbinsdale, 378-0027 Mon.

PACER'S COUNT ME IN PUPPETEER TRAINING 8:30 A.M. - 3:30 P.M. Bethlehem Lutheran Church Cheryl Paul or Cathy Milota, 827-2966 PARENT ADVOCATE TRAINING WORKSHOP 6:30 - 9:30 P.M. Middle School Media Center, Monticello Information 295-5 185 or 42 1-6178 (metro) ADULTS WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES SUPPORT GROUP 1:00 - 3:00 P.M. Lewis Park Apartments, 3784027 BLOOMINGTON STROKE CLUB 10:30 - 11:30 A.M. Creekside Community Center, 887-9677 PACER'S COUNT ME IN PUPPETEER TRAINING 8:30 A.M. - 3:30 P.hk B e o h l w Lutheran Church Cheryl Paul or Cathy Milota, 827-2966 YOUNG ADULTS WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES SUPPORT

26 Wed 4:OO - 5 0 0 P.M. center, 378-0027 WOMEN'S HEALTH :00 - 3:15 P.M. ~ o l i & ~ ' & ;&beapQlis West sat m o r t h Women's Center, 520-5244 LOSS SUPPORT GROUP 15

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4:00 - 5:00 P.M. Courage Center, 378-0027 PARKINSON'S UNDER 55 SUPPORT GROUP

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In-Home Assessments Available to answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week We train those who need training

Wheelchair-bound with Spina Bifida, slight, 8-yearold Erika Schuldt doesn't look like a cmsader. But through protracted legal action, she, parents Mary and Doug, and Shoreview Attorney Sonja Kerr may be responsible for the rewriting of accessibility guidelines for schools throughout the state of Minnesota. Or mayAll Erika wanted to do was attend her neighborhood school, Roosevelt Elementary, in Mankato. Her kindergarten wing and the cafeterialgym were accessible. The rest of the school was not, but C O U be ~ ~modified to permit access. The school was highly regarded, closest to home, and promised an excellent educational exBut in the Spring of 1988, the Mankato Public Schools informed the Schuldts that Erika would have to attend another school. The Schuldts objected, begin-

Roosevelt could be modified to provide werall

accessibility, and that cost * The new Commissione was not a factor. agreed to: * The parties met before an 1. "Support" an accessiadministrative law judge, bility study of all schools in who ruled for the family, Minnesota. on the basis that the Dis2. Introduce a mediation trict had "violated numer- component into the state's procedural re- educational due process ous quirememw. system. * The District appealed to 3. Conduct a "monitoring the Minnesota Commis- and compliance reviewn of sioner of Education. the Disttict in view of the * The parents formally ques- violations found by the Comtioned the Commissioner's missioner. impartiality, and peti- * The Schuldts' appeal is still tioned the State Board of pending. Education for a different * The Minnesota school hearing review officer. Boards Association filed * The Board denied sh,e2ar;- an Amicus (Friend of the ent's request. ! ? - ~ . 1 . 9 Court) brief OR behalf of * The Commissionerot mu- the ~ a n k a t oDistrict, arcation agreed with the guing the wst factor-in hearing officer-in the spite of the fact that the parent's favor, but held District maintains that cost that the District would not is not a factor. have to modify Roosevelt * No fewer than four organibecause there were other zations have filed Amicus handicapped-accessible ;r;.;: briefs on behalf of Erik&, schools in "close proximi-3b statingthat procedural vioty" to the Schuldts' home.@ lations resulted in her ex* The Schuldts appealed to clusion, and that the exclufederal court. sion itself is

the new Commissioner of Education after 6ling.


has always been for everyone, regardless of age, sex, race, nationality or ability to pay. But part of the community found it more difficult to

Hopkins resident lost his vision in 1984 as a result of diabetes. He credits the Adults With Disabilities program, Project SOAR for al-

arranging adaptive art classes for those with Alzhetrners disease, and has put together various group events such as a Valentines Day dance,

of the Adult With Disabilities program, the vital link needed to involve people with disabilities in Community Education. The Adult With Disabilities program

accomplish the education that I want and makes me a part of the community. It allows h e to be as normal as anyone else." Arthur knows what he is talking about. For

She also added that there are funds available to assist those unable to pay for a Community Education class. Opportunities in Adult Basic Education, GED test-

WHY:Genetic

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services and gain their trust and confidence in our program." Since 1986, Project SOAR has enhanced the lives of many participants in the western suburbs. Participation has steadily grown by 25 % each year. This year, 1990, SOAR anticipates providing 940 services to SOAR participants. But numbers on paper do not tell the whole story, the

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THLE,t..ACc-e-S PRESS--POLlTvCf= by Wm. A. Smith, JI A "home of our own" is becoming more elusive each year. lucky trr break evea on most rental properties and have no Low cost apartments are diminishing in number. Whole money for maintenawe. neighborhoods of older homes are deteriorating due to lack AIl of this adds up to aaorher crisis which hurts those least of maintenance by absentee landlords. able to affordit. The spreading blight in once solid neighborHUD can't coordinate sales of repossessed homes with hoods affects all of us. state and city programs so they remain boarded. Thus, this month's question to our politicians-What if Failures in the S & L industry and widespread "Secondary your plan? Marketwfinancing have set up inflexible barriers for people with lower5ncomes who want to buy modestly priced homes. Section 8programs for subsidizingrent provide a good solution for many familiesbut the waiting list for funding grows larger each year. Hundreds of families in Minneapolis and st. Paul a d the s u m s are eligible, but won*t able to participate in the near hture. Minnesota's ridiculous "non-homesteadwtax penalty is passed right through the landlord to the tenunt causing substantially higher rents on modest vrowrties. Landlords are

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NO RESPONSE

THE AN

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SENATOR RUDY BOSCHWITZ

CQMGRESSMAN BRUCE VENT0 Question #l : As a member ofthe

CONGRESSMAN ARCAM*? CONGRESSMAN WN WEER

homeless individuds. Both of these proposab House of Re~resentatives as Dart of the omnibus housina also support& a number af oiher housim proposals, inckding a plan td: d 7

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important to potential homebuyers in Minnesota because over half of our state's mortgages are insured by FHA insurance. With homeownershipon the , ,,, decline, it is imperativethaf we protect this essential programto help keep tha, .A dream of homeownershipalive. The Senate housingbill included the HUD pro. posalto increasethe upfront cost of obtaining FHA insuranceby about $2,000 denylng hrrmeownership to thousands. This HUB plan is regressive as it in-:^ -: creases Cogtg tothose with the leaslabilityto pay. fheAdministrationis infavor ,. ofthe Senate'sregfessiy~g$mc9owe~z~ur~rkeut~for us in convincing .the conference cotnmit@eto &&optthe House appmved Vento plan. . *; t

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GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE MKE HATCH 1. There is a growing, permanent underclass of renters who are findjig it in-'

lowincome housing pmblmng.

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creasinglydifficult to find decent, affordablehousing. Infact, there has 1 - -.-,-: been-alower point in housingfor low incomegroups. One afthe most crirical . needs is to adapt exiStmg rental unitsfor larger families, while makingthose '. . units more affordable. ' 2.1 believe~innesotaneet4sact&fpwnsivehousihgpolicywhi~h addresees all areas, indudinaem~l0vmentand transcartation. In the area of creating - . d m , affordab6mPrir for low income families, Minnesota could consid& . reducing the effective property tax on rental property. The Minne:,$ Departmentof Revenueestimatesthat20percentofarenter's blll is attribut' .i ed btaxes. Such high ratesdisbourageth;, rehabiliationof existing ty and serve as a diiincentinrre to bmert surplus starter homes to re -3 mb. (according to a 16Wst& ~ W i s B by d the Institute of Reel mate ~anagement,t k ~ w i CWs n h dthe highest propertytax~~persquareioot 6 for rental housina when comDared with 119 other citiesl. We could also aive - N -3 the ~innesota'i&ousing~inanceAgency expanded hthority to purclke foreclosedpmperliesto resell ortum overto nonprofitdevelopers to r e h a b i l ~ % ~' We or manage. C In addition, we ought to create a stete'mal assistance program fol ?: householdswho are enduring h a m i p e due to death, divorce,-disebility01 z* abuse. Also, the state could allow individuals who aualifv for Section 8. but .r where funds are not available, to work without penaiizationto help& the' : : :? costs of housing. C3. Today, home ownership is inoreastmgtyout of reach for many would-be firsi time home buyers. Critics of assistance to first time buyers argue that toc . ., " much subsidy is Qven to couples who make a decent i n m e , but who having trouble making the transition from renfer to homeowner. could be monitored so that as they increase, assistance would be or eliminated.

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GUBERNATOfllAL CANDIDATE DOUG #ELLEY QUESTION #I: In Minnesota, we have asophiiicated and highly successfulState Housing FinanceAgency. Wih the Affordable Housing Act passed in 1989, we have a numberof programsinplacethatcan addressourcurrent hbusingneeds. However, the problems are not sufficiently funded to make the intended impact. I would makethe funding of those programsa priorityin my administrationto address the unmet needs for shelter.

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QUESTION #2: The funding of current housing programs would help address the issue of affordable apartments. We must also refom our property tax system to lower the taxes that are currentlypaid per rental unit. Ialso support the Federal Section 8 and Voucher Programs so that parsons only have to pay 30 percent of their income for shelter.

QUESTION #3 : I believe that the opportunity for homeownership should be available to those who m t to be homeowners. With the sumlus of sinale familv 'starter" homes that will be developing due to the declining youth-popu~bn,there couldwet4 be good structuresavailableat affordable-~ces.k & v e r , the ability to afford housing in the $55.000&65.600 bracket may be difficult even with interest-rale'subsidies.b i n c o m e pempeethrehomeohnersmay require further assistance in the form of a Ms4nglsfamilyhomeowners association," sup ported by a combinationof homeowners' aontributhns and federal, state and local subsidies. Thisaesistancecouldbe a key factorto homeownershipby single parents, people with disabilifies. and the arowing number of elderly who choose to stay in their homes

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L INQUIRYISEPTEMBER 1 9 9 0 0

& Charles M. Smith

THC

. QUESTIONS.

I 1. What is your first priority in changing existing rentaltownership processes?

2. What is your proposal for creating decent, affordable apartments for low income families? 3. Do you think home ownership should be encouraged for low income families? If so, who would you propose doing it?

GOVERNOR RUDY PERPICH

GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE ARNE CARLSON

The Minnesota H d g Finance Agency and other state agencies are &w and moderate working together to prsvidesffectie trowsing p-krr incorne Minnesota families. State ct@enciesaredm a&@& w k j n g withlhe Minnesota Congressional Relegation to rm& certain thd the new federal housinglegistationnow beforeâ‚Źhgmsswiltmeet Mlmesota's housingneeds. Thus far, no lowcast federally Subsldhed aparhnent dwdopmnts ham beenlost in Minnesota.The HousingFinen6em c y , i n co~paratbn&WI governments, is actively working to avoid this from happening. Preservationd subsidized housing is basically a federal decision, and states have Hmibd im pact on their decisions.

consistently targeted to lower income famile than programs run by other states. The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency dso has programs to work with neighborhood and nonprofit groups in neighborhood preservationefforts to provide homeownershipopponunities using exlstlngRlousingfor families of moderate incorne. In addition, the Housing Finance A ncy has a program called the Homeownership Assistance Fund whieh%ps families with maximum incomesof $26,000 in the metropolitanarea and $19,000 and $17,000 in Greater Minnesota with downpayment and monthly payment assistance. This program has been a model for other states for years. The agency has made funding availableto nonprofit groups to rehabilitate existing HUD homes so that when they are purchased or made available to low income families, they meet community standards for condition and quality. The state opposes changes in the FHA program that would limit homeownership opportunities for lower income families. We have been working activelywith the MinnesotaCongressional Delegationand housinggroups around the country on alternative proposals. Minnesota has over 40 programs designed to work in cooperation with resourcesfrom the federal government, local governments, foundations, nonprofit and neighborhoodgroups to provide affordablehousingopportunitiesfor all Minnesotans. These programs have been nationally recognized as among the most creative and mast effective in the country. We continue to work with Congress in the hopethat the federal government will meet its responsibilities and renew its financial commitment to affordable housing in Minnesota and around the nation.

SENATORDAVEDURMBERGER 1. The revelationsof fraud and mismanagement of HUD have shocked all of us m the lasttwo yews. 1 belleve that the new rules put in place will cut back on fraud in housing program$, lSut wemay need to $0 further to tighten up many of these programs. We must W e sure that our limited funds are goingto those who are most in need, and not subsidizing programs that & not need the funding. 2. Through my seat on the Senate Finance Committee, Ihave been a major ptayer in keepingthe Low Income HousingTaxcredit in place. Ibelievewe need to expand this prognam to encouragefurther private invesEmesEment in low incomehousingfacilities. Iam also encouraged by the potentialfor additional public housingfrom the homing stock now be& taken wer bythe Resolution Trust Cormration in the wake of the S&L debacle. 3.1 have always deen a strong advocate of expanding the dream-and the reality-of homeownershipf6a wide spectrum of our~xxiety.Over 20 years aao Iworked on creating the Minnesota Housing Finance Aaency which is sgll doing an admirablejob of expanding homeoknership opportunities for many Minnesotans. Iam interestedin Secretary Kemp's HOPE initiative, but believe that we must find a way to replace any public housing stock that is sold to tenants.

My proposal includes restohg the federal subsidies for low and moderate income housingthat were slashedduringthe 1W s , to construct new housing, develop existing housing into Sedon 8 homes and rehabilltate homes to be energy efficient and more economical. Although funding would come from the federal government, I favor community based efforts to plan and implement projectsto preserve existing home stock. Spillover benefitswould include empowering community organizations and creating labor intensive projects, which would benefit all involved. Someof the existing housingalready availablewhich can easily be converted to Section 8 are HUD homes which are difficult to sell on the open market and homes abandoned for overdue tax payments or for other reasons. Many of these homes would require funds to make them habitable, bringthem up to code andto makethem energy efficient, but in the long run there would be considerable return on the investment. Peoplewould have a decent place to live, neighborhood eyesores and dangers from vacant and run down houses would be eliminated, occupied homes would increase the local tax base and area property values would increase. Everyone loses when homes sit vacant, and everyone gains when they are occupied. Iwould also provide for federally guaranteed low interest loans and incentives for investors and developers to purchase or build low and rnoderate income housing. Incentiveswould include allowing reasonable profits for investors and developers, tax breaks and tax credits. These incentives would encourageexpandeddevelopmentof low income housingthat would not otherwise occur. Question #3: One of the most tragic legaciesthat a poor family passes on to its children is the cycle of poverty. The security that home ownership provides is one way to break that cycle. Iwould provide a program which offers federally guaranteed low interest mortgage loans to low and moderate incorne people and which would pay a portion, or all, of the upfront costs, includingthe down payment, mortgage points and title insurance. It is often the very high upfront costs which prevent many people from buyingtheir own homes. This program would have an income and asset ceiling, to ensure that only qualified people may take advantage of it. It is not only low incomefamilies who need assistance buying homes, however. The percentageof Americans able to buy a home of their own has fallen every year since t980.We need federal assistance to make it possiblefor all families to afford home ownership. Most importantly, federal programs should concentrate scarce dollars in buying into housingownership by the residentsthemselves, rather than pouring dollars into developer's pockets.

ANSWERS cont. on p. 10

-5


vigor to the general election. The contest should intrigue on a number of fronts, the least of which being it is the only one nationally pitting two Jewish candidates. Aside from heritage, the men merge on few particulars. Boschwitz is tall. self-assured, Plywood-Minnesota rich, and speaks - though with a distinct pattern - with a certain sonorous authority. Wellstone has the physical dimensions and vocal characteristics of an only slightlycontrolled Woody Allen. Boschwitz is pure shoulder-to-the-wheel, nose-to-the-grindstone Republican, with a political doctorate from the teflon administration and a what's good-for-General Bullmoose philosophy that permeates his attitude and his actions toward the General's Wellstone is the Rickey Skaggs of Democratic pols-traditional all the way, with some twists of his own for good measure. Pro-choice, labor, environment, education, universal health care, butter vs. guns. Trickle-up from start to finish. The philosophical difference between the two should - to the degree exposed by Boschwitz approved debates - clarify options for the voters. The assumption is that the voters will be listening. The potential for victory relates to the degree that those who do listen register their findings at the polls. Among Wellstone's identified constituencies are persons with disabilities. The significance of this group is substantial, given its estimated size of up to a half million individuals statewide. Having pledged to win in November by "connecting the campaign to people's lives", Wellstone reduced his rhetoric to action through a series of house meetings with members of the disabled community. The degree to which he listened is reflected by his position paper (see inset). He spoke at United Handicapped Federation gatherings, talked about empowerment with members of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and listened to people like Rick Cardenas the wheelchair bound coordinator of his Fourth District campaign effort. A self described political progressive, Wellstone eschews the tag "issuesn when referring to what he sees as political concerns of the disabled population. The challenges he sees relate more to over-riding opportunities than day to day annoyances. He sees this population as being involved in a movement, one still on its upward slope. The ADA, while not meeting all needs, has served to both publicize and legitimize that movement. But the ADA at this juncture is little more than an officially sanctioned "wish list". Among the most dramatic and far reaching of the challenges facing the disabled community will be its uniform and timely implementation. The effort will require liberal dosages of both resolve and diplomacy. Second on the candidate's list of challenges is health care. The self described "worlds most passionate advocate of a national health plan" finds little economic sense in paying a greater chunk of the nation's wealth for a health care program that excludes tens of millions than many nations do for 100% coverage. Given the life style significance of health care for those with disabilities, the passion of Wellstone's advocacy should prove welcome. The most encompassing of the candidate's "challenges" is the last oneempowerment. While Wellstone promises to serve as a focal point for this effort, and to lend his acknowledged organizational skills, he unabashedly tosses ultimate responsibility for its success back into the laps of disabled community leaders. There must be developed within the community a plan for the continuing transfer of leadership skills from those with them to those without them, he said. Only when the organizational abilities of far-sighted leaders combine with the incentives of self interest will long-term em-.

PAUL WHO? On the cover of the June 27th issue of the Twin Cities Reader, a photograph of the DFL-endorsed senatorial candidate peeks out behind the headline "What's So Radical About Paul Wellstone?". That the microphone in his hand so closely resembles a flute is emblematic of the Pied Piper role this impassioned academic has begun to occupy for many of our state's less-than-fully-franchised citizens. A relatively small man, of minority heritage, Wellstone is drawing attention not only for his stand on issues, nor his scrappy demeanor. In a system or presumably representative government. Wellstone is increasingly seen as mirroring in many respects the very populations he would claim as supporting constituencies. For those whose access to the American Dream has, for whatever reason, been relegated largely to day dreams, the identifiability of "their own" Senate candidate is both a shot in the arm and a refreshing change. For nearly a dozen years, many of those who could use a little boost have been represented in the Senate by Rudy Boschwitz, a Reagan-era free-enterprise zealot who felt governments should be seen and not heard from. Lifting oneself by ones bootstraps was the desired course according to those of the Boschwitz philosphy, whether or not one possessed hands. Glib, resilient, an unwavering advocate of the Republican party line and possessed of formidable fund-raising skills, Boschwitz easily withstood challenges from political opponents with name recognition and middle-of-the-road Democratic platforms. Wellstone offers a clearer philosophical distinction,however, and as an activist Poli-Sci Professor was adequately prepared for the rough and tumble of the endorsement process. A throwback to the take-it-to-the-streets activism of the sixties and early seventies, Wellstone has put his body where his mouth was in thc anti-war, civil rights and farm protest movements as a private citizen. In this campaign, he is combining his intellectual grasp of the political process with his personal campaign to redress wrongs and secure rights. His appetite for the race, it may be assumed, may have been whetted by his achowledged effectiveness heading Jesse Jackson's Minnesota effort during the last presidential primaries. The WellstonelBoschwitz campaign should pique considerably more than curiosity this November -if it happens. Still to go, a primary tilt with state Ag Commissioner Jim Nichols, a respected DPL'er with a known name and a loyal foIlowing, but one whose issue-base has not been as broad as Wellstone's. Should Wellstone win the primary, it is that breadth -and uncompromising clarity of position -that should lend a longed-for

seal?-- -

.

'

-

-

-

~

. . . a a

~ ~ & k s ~ e bo~state ~ d &d w x fend theposition, and. a. f i g time advocate for the "little guy" Wellstone offers a stark contract to Rudy hschwitz's version of the freeenterprise system. One candidate thinks that the bottom line isn't the only lime. The other, &ma& twelve years of public comments and equally public votes, appears to think that it is.

SSI BENEFlTS continued from page 1 strict and complex rules that take into account earnings, ordinary Social Security checks, pensions, veterans benefits and other income. Payments not included as income include the first $20 of most income received in a month, the first .$65 of earn-

ings and one-half of earnings over $65 received in a month, and such items as the value of food stamps and home energy assistance. Recipients may be homeowners and own a car and have resources worth up to $2,000 for a single person

and $3,000 for a couple. Resources include cash, bank accounts, real estate, stocks and bonds, and personal belongings. Certain resources are not counted such as burial plots, burial funds and life insurance policies worth up to $1,500, and

household goods not worth more than $2,000. Many who qualify for SSI increase their income dramatically. For example, someone who is eligible and whose only monthly income is $300 Social Security check may receive an SSI

payment of $106 a month. Som.eone who earns $300 a month in wages may qualify for a $278.50 SSI payment. To spread the word about SSI, Faitek has spoken to senior citizens groups, conducted a seminar for social service professionals, ap-

peared on a W interview show, and mailed notices to agencies serving the disabled, blind and elderly. The efforts have paid off. "I think we're definitely seeing an accelerated rate in the increase of people applying," he said. cont. pg. 9

ACCESS PRESS

Publisher .............................................Wm. A. Smith, Jr. Editor .................................................. Charles F.Smith Features Editor ......................................... .Michael Sheehan Staff WriterIPhotographer ................................... .Adam Quinn Cartoonist .................................................. Seott Adams Production. ................................. Stanton Publication Serv., Inc.

Access Press Political Inquiry for September

ACCESS PRESS is a monthly tabloid newspaper published for persons with disabilities by Polychrome, Ltd., W.A. Smith, Jr., President. Circulation is 10,000, distributed the first week of each month through more than 100 locations statewide. Approximately 300 copies are mailed directly to political, business, institutional and civic leaders. Subscriptions are available for $12/yr.

THE QUESTION FOR SEPTEMBER (results published in October ACCESS'PRESS) will be asked after the September Primary election of those who survive as candidates. It's about the ethical dilemma of fund raising and the incumbent advantage. These issues tend to disrupt our free elections by encouraging our incumbents to wish to maintain their jobs above all else. Currently, money and privilege prevail, as demonstrated by the overwhelming re-election of incumbents.

Editorial submissions and news releases on topics of interest to persons with disabilities, or persons serving those with disabilities, are welcomed. Paid advertising is available at rates ranging from $6 to $12/column inch, depending on size and frequency. Classified ads are $7.00, plus 20 cents/word over 35 words.

THE QUESTION Advertising and editorial deadlines are the 20th of the month preceding publication; special scheduling available for camera-ready art.

Tell us how you would propose to concentrate the political battle of challenger vs. incumbent on real issues and give the voting public an equal opportunity to learn candidates' stands on the issues? And as a corollary, how can we inhibit the present process of using polls to determine content of TV presentation on emotional issues?

Inquiries should be directed to:

ACCESS PRESS

2331 University Ave. S.E., Suite 120 Minneapolis, Minnesota 554 14 (612) 379-0989 i


September 1990

Access Press

9

#:.

The Wellstone Position on the Civil Rights of Disabled Citizens A Wellstone Campaign Document For much of our nation's history, disabled Americans have not been protected by federal or local civil rights legislation. This denial has been manifested in job discrimination, inaccessible public transportation and accommodations, insensitively designed building codes, and general public ignorance of the needs of the disabled community and the types of problems that they face. The public at large is relatively unaware of the barriers that have effectively kept many disabled people out of the work place. Disabled people have been stigmatized by employers as W i g "expensive" to employ; in addition, the productive potential of persons with disabilities has not been adequately recognized or utilized. Change has been exceedingly slow in coming, in part because disabled people have been almost totally excluded from policy-making in areas that most concern them. The great public recognition that has greeted the advancements of other minorities has not, until recently, been extended to include the problems of citizens with disabilities. The Americans With Disabilities Act, just passed by Congress this summer, is a landmark in providing disabled citizens with the civil rights accorded other citizens. However, there is more to be done before disabled citizens will truly enjoy the rights afforded to other Americans.

The Boschwitz Position

]

The Bush administration's opposition to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is indicative of its willingness to treat the disabled community differently than other minorities such as women and blacks. Rudy Boschwitz at least has been consistent in ignoring discrimination against any group of citizens: during the same session he voted down the 1990Civil Rights Act and he worked to weaken the Americans With Disabilities Act. In the Senate floor debate over this bill, Rudy Boschwitz stated that he had several reservations. First, he said the Senate was not given adequate time to review the bill and he feared that it would be too broad in its scope. He went on to question the bill's impact on his personal interest, small business. This culminated in his introducing an amendment, ;ubsequently passed, which requires a judge to consider if a defendant who is accused of discrimination on the basis of disability has acted in good faith. The impact of the change is to lengthen and complicate the process of filing a discrimination claim, by

and p g r a m accessibility. The ADA provides a federal man6*ewhich, besides barring &f%xkination in the work place from hiring to firing, requires that all state and local transportation on fixed routes be made accessible; para&adt:must be ma& avdlable for individuals who cannot usemainlineaccess1"bfe tnnspnmion. All public ammmodations from restaurantsto procerv stores must be x n d e p c ~ l sa e that dl Americans, regardlessof differing a b i l i h , w h be able to mcipgbe inthe fnll and equal enjoyment

of those facilities. Further, the ADA stipulates that the telecommunications industry make available relay services for individuals who use non-voice terminals. The ADA affords to disabled citizens the civil rights and privileges that other Americans enjoy. The ADA extends the RehabilitationAct of 1973 which covered Federal programs and activities, and by reference, incorporates the enforcement provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This includes the right of a plaintiff to sue for monetary damages in addition to back pay, injunctive relief and attorneys' fees. The ADA does not, however, address some pressing areas of concern for disabled individuals and Wellstone supports federal legislation to overcome these problems. Disabled people face an added financial burden which has historically translated into an impedment to their joining the work force. The ADA does not provide necessary income maintenance so that disabled Americans will never have to choose between their job and their health care. In addition, the goal of a proposed National Health Insurance plan should be to lessen the dependence on Social Security and Medical Assistance, and provide across-the-board coverage for all working persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, there is a large gap between the cost of health care for h s e who are employed and the income level which makes paying for health care a reality. For many who are in that gap, health care is the top priority. Thus, there is an disincentive to work and an incentive to stay on Medical Assistance. This is not only counterproductive, it is unjust to the disabled Americans who are denied the opportunity to make contributions to our society. This gap must be eliminated so that health care coverage is available for all who cannot afford it, regardless of their employment status. Congress must address this by changing the disbursement of Medical Assistance to include the special needs of disabled Americans, such as attendant care, durable medical equipment, and so on. Although Minnesota is commendable for the programs, opportunities and financial coverage it offers to its disabled citizens, much of the country is not. Thus, there must be simple, clear federally mandated standards.

Personal Care One area of phcdN importance is pressingneed to includepersonal can outside the home under Medical Assistance. This must be a consumer-chosen service can proto be de reimbursable by the federal government. A personal can

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SSI BENEFlTS continued from page 8 He added that people who This fall, a coalition of 30 qualify for SSI are usually local groups will launch a eligible for ather help such major public awareness as food stamps, Medicaid campaign about SSI in the Indenergy assistance. Many Twin Cities area. A similar 2SI recipients in Minnesota campaign will be mounted also are eligible for a supple- across the rest of the state ment called A4innesotaSup next spring. plemental Aid. ~pitekurges people who

want more information about SSI to call 1-800-2345772 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays. The best time to call is on days other than Monday and after the first week of the month.

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September 1980

Access Press

HEALTH CARE (AGAI N) Last month we asked a number of our incumbents, Congressmen, Senators, and the Governor to give us their views on the possibility of Universal Health Care in the United States. We also asked candidates for Governor and U. S. Senator the same questions. The results, which we printed in last month's ACCESS PRESS, showed that candidates are more interested in solving this crisis than incumbents. Health care is a crisis in this country and it is deepening as costs rise. The U.S. has the dubious distinction of being the only industrialized nation in the world, except South Africa, where access to health care is a privilege instead of a right of citizenship. Legislators have sought to change our system since the 1930's. Many bills have been considered and rejected for one reason or another, but no comprehensiveplan has had serious consideration. The reason seems plain enough to us. Organized medicine and insurance comp&ies havebeen against reforming the system which pays them so handsomely. Our own American Medical Association is the second largest donor of PAC money to our legislators. In addition, they sponsor advertising critical of Universal Health plans in other countries, which misrepresent the public attitude of the people affected. Insurance companies who provide health insurance are also effective lobbyists and purveyors pf propaganda. We asked for comments on the Canadian plan specifically because it closely resemblesour own method of free selection of doctors and hospitals. The important difference is that all Canadians have health coverage and their government acts as the insurer. Total cost per capita is less than the cost in the U.S. even though everyone is covered. Almost 40 million U.S. citizens have no coverage, a huge number of others have inadequate coverage and more people are slipping into one of these situations as costs rise. American doctors make more money than Canadian doctors. Canadian doctors only earn four to five times the average industrial wage in Canada. American doctors average five to six times the average industrial wage in the U. S., with surgeons earning ten to fifteen times the average. It's money they are fighting to protect. American insurance companies have even more at stake.

,y,illir.

der Universal Health Care, there is no further need to include medical benefits in workman's compensation, or liability policies on autos and homes. Medicare and Medicaid are eliminated. We hope you will challenge your incumbents on these is-

sues. The present system cannot be reformed and it is gettin1 worse. The present patchwork of specialized programs ant insurance policies isn't going to be improved by morl patches. Let's acknowledgethis and join the rest of the indus trialized world in a needed social change.

The Candidates Continue to Respond Local candidates for our state legislature sent in answers to our health care questionnaire and we print their answers below. Once again we asked for a short position statement and the answers to three questions: 1) Can we expect to see 100%of the population covered in

the next 10 years? 2) Do you think the Canadian program (offering nationwide coverage to all citizens for hospital & physicians costs with free choice of physicians) is a good solution? 3) Why?

"--m a. STATE HOUSE CANDIDATE TIM MORIARTY

I feel health care coverage should be available to all Minnesotans. Preventive care should receive priority. Providers must be varied, not just M.D.'s. We will need cost controls on hospitals, medical supplies and prescription drugs.

4

I don't think the Canadian program will transfer. Th financing mechanism won't work in the U.S. and we don like clinics. Our delivery system has to be privatelpublic.

4,

.

.

Political Inquiry: Affordable Housing [,~t

fmm

SENATORIAL CANDIDATE JIM NICHOLS

GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE JON GRUNDSETH

One of the great failures of the Reagan administration was the huge increase in the number of homeless and the inability of low and middle income persons to buy a home. Section 8 waiting lines can only be eliminated if more

In response to the continuing critical need for affordable shelter for low income families, I would work to establish low interest mortgage loans to low and moderate income occupants, and in some cases to investors to rent to low and moderate income families. It is imperative that we encouragehomeownership for low income families. People that have a stake in their neighborhood will not tolerate crime. People that have a stake in their neighborhood will work to create a community environment that benefits everyone in the community.

To provide decent, affordable apartmentsfor low incomepeople there must be a programfor increased construction. Low interest for buildingconstruction must be made available through FHA & FmHA. Question #3: Home ownership for low income families must be encouraged through a continued interest tax credit. Low interest ~urchaseloans must be made available through FHA. These loans must have a minimal downpayment since low incomefamilies almost never have downpayment funds available. Administrative charges for VA loans must be eliminated.

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September 1990  

Sept. 1990 Issue

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