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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Emergency Preparedness and Natural Disaster

Give Aid to CILs and SILCs Affected by Disasters

As you have likely seen, natural disasters can occur without warning and affect entire populations. Centers for Independent Living, Statewide Independent Living Councils, and people with disabilities in Vermont and Hawaii have recently been affected by flooding and wildfires. Recently, massive rains destroyed Vermont Center for Independent Living and they are currently working to rebuild and provide services once again for individuals with disabilities. Numerous people have been affected by the Hawaii wildfires, and we need to work together to bring them some relief. NCIL will be reaching out to Centers in Hawaii to learn how to best help and allocate funding.

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Resources Following Listening Session on Medicaid Unwinding / Renewals

Thank you to everyone who attended NCIL’s Listening Session on Medicaid Unwinding / Renewals. If you were not able to attend and would like to provide feedback, please complete our survey ( or email me at [email protected]. Feedback will be compiled and shared with the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

Additionally, below are some resources shared with NCIL from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on this issue that you might find helpful.

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NCIL Listening Session on the End of COVID Federal State of Emergency

March 30, 2023; 1:30 – 2:30 PM EST

With the Biden Administration’s announcement that the COVID state of emergency is scheduled to end on May 11, 2023, we want to hear from Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils how your state is preparing for this and how they are working with you to inform and plan with your consumers for any changes and impact to them.

We have invited representatives from the Administration for Community Living to hear your concerns and feedback. 

Registration Fee: This event is free-of-charge.

Target Audience: Staff and volunteers of Centers for Independent Living and Statewide Independent Living Councils


Reach out to [email protected] for more information.

Disaster Preparedness and Response Practices Call for Submissions

Source: ADvancing States

Dear aging and disability I&R professionals,

I&R/A programs are a vital resource in times of disaster and emergencies. Programs have risen to many challenges over the past two years and beyond along with developing innovative and creative approaches to helping individuals, families, and communities. We want to hear from you! Share your disaster and emergency preparedness and response promising practices with us and you could join us at the National HCBS Conference. See below for more information on our promising practices contest. Practices can be submitted through an online application. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2022. View the submission guidelines prior to starting an application. For the submission form in an alternate format, or for more information, contact [email protected].

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White House Fact Sheet: Administration Announces New Actions to Address the Needs of People with Disabilities & Older Adults in Response to & Recovery from COVID-19

Source: The White House, Washington

The Administration recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has had tremendous impacts on disabled individuals and has resulted in new members of the disability community.
Over the past year, the Administration has collaborated and consulted with the disability community and taken several key actions to address the unique needs of individuals with disabilities. Among other actions, the U.S. government released key civil rights guidance to protect disabled individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic or any public health emergency; prioritized Long COVID services, supports, and research in the context of disability; established a call line dedicated to ensuring individuals with disabilities can equitably utilize the Administration’s at-home test distribution program; ensured disabled individuals and other high-risk individuals have access to at-home testing; and invested American Rescue Plan (ARP) resources to build COVID-19 vaccine confidence and access among people with disabilities.
Moving forward, the Administration will take several key steps to further our work to ensure that disabled individuals, regardless of where they live or the level of community transmission of the virus, have equitable access to COVID-19 testing, masks, and other critical mitigation strategies. The Administration remains committed to implementing these policies and developing additional policies in close collaboration with the disability community – keeping equity and accessibility at the center of our COVID-19 response and beyond. The Administration will:

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FEMA Seeks New Members for National Advisory Council

Deadline to apply: March 31

The Federal Emergency Response Agency (FEMA) is seeking qualified individuals to lend their expertise and serve on the agency’s National Advisory Council. They are specifically seeking applicants with expertise on the needs of people with disabilities and older adults for emergency preparedness, response, and recovery.

The National Advisory Council includes a geographically diverse and substantive cross-section of 35 members who advise the FEMA Administrator on all aspects of emergency management, ensuring input from and coordination with state, local, tribal and territorial governments, as well as the private and nonprofit sectors.

Individuals appointed to the council bring their experience and diversity of views to provide the Administrator consensus recommendations on a broad range of issues. 

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FEMA Holds Stakeholder Call to Discuss Best Practices in Federal, State and Local Collaboration

Source: FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination

Join the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC) on September 22 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time to learn how successful collaborations between community organizations and the federal government are positively impacting the lives of people with disabilities before, during and after disasters.

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NCIL Statement on National Preparedness Month

September is  National Preparedness Month. This promotes the importance of disaster planning in the US. This year’s theme is “Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.” At the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), we love our members. We continue to put that love into action in many ways this National Preparedness Month:

-Immediately getting money raised this past weekend for our Disaster Relief Fund directly to members that experienced Hurricane Ida.

-Working with member organizations like Kelly’s Kitchen to ensure that we are able to continue to provide direct assistance to members that experienced Hurricane Ida.

-Connecting our members in New Orleans to NCIL partner Booster. Booster brings fuel to people where they are in many places in the US.

-Meeting with partners like FEMA and the American Red Cross to get needed supplies like bottled water and generators to the IL networks in Regions 4 and 6 who are responding to Ida and her aftermath

Supporting the IL network at regional and state levels as they coordinate systems advocacy activities. Activities include Congressional town halls, so people with disabilities can give real-life reasons why we support REAADI/DRMA. You can find out more about NCIL’s work to engage the IL network around these recently reintroduced bills by visiting our REAADI/DRMA page.

We thank the many donors who gave money to our Disaster Relief Fund because of Hurricane Ida. Special thanks to Kelly’s Kitchen, who made a matching gift that will make sure that almost two dozen members will have access to food. Find out more about Kelly’s Kitchen by visiting their website.

NCIL stands with the disability community in September, and every other month, as we face this latest natural disaster during the pandemic. NCIL reminds CILs that NCIL’s disaster response fund available if they need it. Support CILs that have been impacted by natural disasters by selecting “disaster relief fund” from the “select a campaign” drop box on NCIL’s donation page.

Every effort counts.

And, together, we can ensure that our people stay safe and in the community.

Because NCIL wants to do better at making sure that we are inclusive, this statement is written in plain language.

NCIL Statement on Hurricane Ida

The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) joins the concern of the people of the Gulf Coast region as Hurricane Ida makes its path toward landfall. The National Weather Service reports that Ida will move into the Gulf of Mexico tonight and Saturday and make landfall along the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday. Ida is expected to be a major hurricane when it makes direct impact with New Orleans on this anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The risk of life-threatening storm surge inundation and dangerous major hurricane force-winds are increasing for parts of the northern Gulf Coast region along with heavy rain and flooding.

The dense population, neglected infrastructure, and concerns for a region constantly impacted by natural disasters are a combination that are particularly troubling for disabled people who could be impacted by this weather event.  This part of the US is just entering the season most vulnerable to severe weather. Providing services and supports both during times of uncertainty leading into and in the aftermath of natural disaster highlight the critical role Centers for Independent Living (CILs) play for disabled and aging members of our communities. We send our support to the area CILs and their advocates as they help people prepare for the potential impact, and as we know they will efficiently spring into action to help disabled and aging people respond to this disaster, if necessary.

Following the themes from our recent Stakeholder call organizing advocacy to support disaster preparedness and response legislation in Congress, the Real Emergency Access for Aging and Disability Inclusion for Disasters Act (REAADI, S. 2658 / H.R. 4938) and The Disaster Relief Medicaid Act (DRMA, S. 2646 / H.R. 4937) held Friday, August 20th, Reyma McCoy McDeid, NCIL Executive Director, reiterated the critical role of CILs in disasters. “Centers for Independent Living demonstrate time and again that they are more than just agents for integrating disabled and aging people into communities. CILs are critical first responders, ensuring communities include people with disabilities when they respond to disasters and integral partners when communities rebuild from disasters. We keep each other safe and living in the community.”

NCIL stands with the disability community as we face the potential of another natural disaster within the ongoing pandemic, and reminds potentially impacted CILs that NCIL has an established disaster response fund available, should the need arise.  Support CILs that have been impacted by natural disasters by selecting “disaster relief fund” from the “select a campaign” drop box on NCIL’s donation page.

Access NCIL’s REAADI/DRMA webpage, which has resources, including a toolkit, to assist you in advocating for the inclusion of disabled people in emergency preparedness initiatives in your state.   

Together, we can ensure that our people stay safe and in the community.