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Independence Now - Division of Rehabilitation Services


									                                      July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2011
   Independence Now

                      Annual Report

                                                                     The mission of Independence Now is to facilitate independent
                                                                     thought and action by people with disabilities. We promote the
                                                                     principle that each person has value. To this end, we provide the
                                                                     tools for individuals to develop and discover their power to
                                                                     control their interactions with the environment, their families and
                                                                     their communities. Independence Now is part of a state and
                                                                     national network of Centers for Independent Living.

                    Independence Now
    12301 Old Columbia Pike, Suite 101
               Silver Spring, MD 20904

8181 Professional Pl., Suite 107, Rm 119
                 Hyattsville, MD 20785
On the Move!
Maryland Independent Living in Action 2011
Sarah Sorensen, Executive Director
I borrowed this title from the recent Maryland SILC Conference! It is very fitting for
Independence Now’s current status. We are building relationships, reaching out to
new segments of the population, offering more peer group sessions and increase our
knowledge base. Since starting as Executive Director in November 2010, it has been an
exciting time!

Our staff connected with underserved populations. Following the lead of the State Plan
for Independent Living, the underserved populations in our counties include youth,
veterans and individuals of Hispanic background. In addition to holding youth specific
events, we have attended many fairs and other events to provide resources and                   Travel Training participant
information.                                                                                      waits at the bus stop.

We established a greater presence in Prince George’s County. This was accomplished through the reopening of an office
in the county as well as increasing our partnership and visibility with the Maryland Access Point Office in Camp Springs,
where we are part of a shared space office.

The calendar has been exploding with events for consumers at both offices. A six-week cooking class has been offered
twice over the past year, in conjunction with Project Frontline and the Maryland Food Bank. A recent series on disability
policy has supported consumers to understand their rights in a whole new way. Of course, the housing seminars
continue to be very popular and well attended.

Independence Now is looking forward to more growth inside and outside the organization in the year to come. A few of
our goals include: increase services to youth; reinvigorate outreach to nursing facilities; improve our website and ensure
all of our materials are available in accessible formats.

Don’t forget to keep your membership with Independence Now, so you can stay On the Move with us!

Administrative Staff:
Sarah Sorensen, Executive Director                               Eddie Snyder, Administrative Assistant
Todd Thorpe, Director of Operations                              Larisa Gracie, Bookkeeper

Annual Highlights
335 Consumers served in Prince George’s County

190 Consumers served in Montgomery County                        Independence Now’s services are free of charge and are
                                                                 provided without regard to race, gender, ethnicity,
2027 Information and Referral Services Provided                  national origin, age, religion, or type(s) of disability.
516 Peer Counseling Services Provided                            All public information is available in alternate formats
136 Outreach/education sessions                                  such as Braille, large print or electronic upon request.
              Benefits INfoSource
Did you know: By using work incentives, you can earn money and in many cases continue to receive disability benefits?
If you have SSI, you can earn up to $38,660 a year and still have Medical Assistance! If you have SSDI, you can have
unlimited income for 9 months! You can get Medical Assistance even if you don’t have any SSA benefits if you are
working and have a disability. A PASS can help you actually INCREASE your benefits to help you achieve a work goal.

In the past year, Benefits INfoSource, the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance project for Maryland, has undergone
several changes, but continues to provide much needed services across the state. Under a grant from the Social Security
Administration, we help individuals who receive disability benefits understand and use the work incentives available to
them. In short, we help people understand what happens to their benefits when they return to work. DORS has created
a true fee-for-service system this year and we take referrals from local DORS offices to support even more people with
their benefits.

Benefits INfoSource helped 850 individuals last year. We provided everything from basic Information and Referral to
intensive Analyses involving Problem Solving and Advocacy. We have helped many of these people manage their
benefits while they work and become more self-sufficient.

One such person began work as an independent contractor for a small non-profit organization. He was concerned that
his income would cause him to lose his SSDI benefits along with his housing and food stamps. Through the use of nearly
every possible work incentive, along with advocacy and informed self-advocacy, he was able to keep his SSDI. Though
he may lose his housing voucher he is in a much better financial position to be able to afford his own housing.

David Mitchell, Project Director                                   Sherrone Polite, Project Assistant
Tom Brincefield, CWIC                                              Denise Thomas, CWIC in training
Michelle Corron, CWIC                                              John Warnick, Provisional CWIC

Travel Training
Independence Now, in partnership with Metro, provides free, comprehensive, individualized Travel Training for people
with disabilities. The Travel Training averages 8-10 sessions and includes lessons in trip planning, travel safety on public
transportation, how to communicate with drivers and station managers, and with the ultimate goal of traveling
independently in the metro area without relying on para-transit.

Since March of 2010, Independence Now has assisted 19 consumers to travel to work, school, appointments, and the
mall. Most were young people, transitioning from high school into the world of work or college. Many were taking their
first steps to independent living.

Travel Training has meant a great deal to not only the consumers but also to their families. Parents who were at first
reluctant, now feel more confident in watching their sons or daughters “leave the nest” with greater independent living
skills! One young man, after learning to go to school and work, explained that now he felt so comfortable he could
probably use his travel training skills at the airport when flying to visit his aunt in Texas.

Trish Foley, Project Director            Damian Gregory, Travel Trainer                     Georgia Smith, Travel Trainer
Independence Now, Inc. Statements of Financial Position as of September 30, 2010


                                  2010                     2009
Assets                            $                        $

Cash and cash equivalents
                                            76,362         50,716
Investments                                457,722         514,500
Grants and contracts receivable   197,493                  226,724
Prepaid expenses and other
                                            25,631         39,144
Property and equipment, net       14,024                   22,368
   Total assets                   771,232                  853,452

Accounts and other payables       14,946                   36,065
Deferred revenue                  28,260                   5,951
Deferred rent                     14,070                   6,956
Capital leases                    11,810                   17,530
    Total liabilities             69,086                   66,502
    Net assets
Unrestricted                      651,895                  686,193

Temporarily restricted            50,251                   100,757

 Total Net Assets                 702,146                  786,950

Independence Now, Inc.
Statements of Support, Revenue and Expenses and Changes in Net Assets Balances
As of September 30, 2010

                                                     2010            2009
    Support and Revenue                              $               $
    Support                                          1,062,572       1,089,370
    Revenue                                          54,975            97,099
    Total support and revenue                        1,117,547       1,167,303

    Program services                                 951,774           923,289
    General and administrative                       200,071           148,787
    Loss from misappropriations                      -                  43,895
    Total expenses                                   1,151,845       1,115,971
       Changes in Net Assets                         (34,298)           70,488
Independent Living Services
During July 2010 to June 2011 Independence Now provided independent living (IL) services to 533 consumers from
Montgomery and Prince George's Counties. Consumers received IL Core services and other services to assist with
achieving self-directed goals. Addition to the provision of IL core services, consumer participated in the following
monthly events:

         Women Group                                                Transportation Action Group (TAP)
         Men Group, Creative                                        Getting Your Act Together (a series on legislative
         Housing Seminars                                            laws)
         Movie Advocate’s Theater                                   Creative Cooking Class (a 6-week course)

A thirty year old male with an orthopedic impairment living in Prince George’s County obtained housing in spite of a
misdemeanor record. After becoming a person with a disability, he was living at home with his mother. He was denied
public housing in Anne Arundel County because of his criminal record. He requested Independent Living Services to
assist with acquiring affordable housing and an advocate to assist with a hearing on his housing. Through peer
counseling, information and referral, housing counseling, independent living skills training and advocacy he was able to
have the denial overturned and obtained housing with Anne Arundel County in 8 months. He officially moved into his
own apartment in May 2011.

A Montgomery County resident received repairs for her two lifts that provide accessibility to her duplex home. She had
the lifts installed after having a stroke. The lifts had not been operating for over three months. Her son had been
physically lifting her and bringing her downstairs or she remained upstairs all day. She obtained the repair about 2
weeks before her 85th birthday and was thankful to Independence Now because she was able to attend her 85th birthday
celebration without a worry of how she would get out of the home.

In conclusion, Independence Now has had a thriving year with plans to continue providing quality service to individuals
with disabilities, increasing outreach, networking with other community services agencies and providing opportunities
for staff development.

Deborah Jackson, Director                                        Kelvin Hawkins, Independent Living Specialist
Rochelle Harrod, Independent Living Specialist                   Lesia Veloz, Independent Living Specialist

                                                                                     Independence Now Funders
                                                                 Aid Association for the Blind of the District of Columbia
                                                                                    Maryland Department of Disabilities
                                                                               Maryland State Department of Education
                                             Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Rehabilitation Services
                                                        Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
                                           Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development
                                                              Southern Maryland Center for Independent Living/DHMH
        Recent Graduate of Cooking Class            US Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration
                                                                                       US Social Security Administration
                                                                       Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
                                                                                   And of course, private contributions!
Money Follows the Person
The State of Maryland was chosen by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services to participate in the Money
Follows the Person (MFP) Rebalancing demonstration, which is
an opportunity for states to rebalance long-term care systems.
Through MFP, Maryland has the opportunity to improve long-
term care by improving the availability and quality of
community-based services while providing people in
institutions information about the option to be served in the

The data from the project shows that MFP participants were
about equally likely to move to a home, apartment, or Assisted
Living Unit. About 28 percent moved into a home owned
either by the participant or by a family member, 30 percent
moved to an apartment and 29 percent into a group home of
                                                                            Money Follows the Person Staff Members
no more than four people.

Among the many people that Money Follow the Person has assisted was Montgomery County resident, Gail Carson. Gail
was a resident at a Nursing facility who was able to live back into the community with assistance of the MFP program.
She uses the Living at Home Medicaid Waiver that provides her great independence in her new apartment. Gail is very
active in many events that Independence Now offers to their consumers and encourages other people with disabilities
and older adult residents living in a nursing facility to become as independent as possible.

Under a grant from MFP, Independence Now employs six Peer Partners who are either senior citizens or persons with
disabilities. The peers go to the Nursing Facilities to do peer outreach and peer support to residents who wish to learn
more about community based options. We are also working to expand the program to peer mentoring before and after
the residents leave the nursing facilities. Jackie Littleford has been a peer partner since the MFP program started and
has the experience of living in the nursing facilities and coming home. She loves going back to the nursing facility to
inform residents about life after coming home. Jackie attends almost all the events that we offer at Independence Now
and is always looking to do more.

Staff: Melissa Snyder, Peer Outreach Coordinator                 Kim Anderson, Project Assistant

Independence Now’s Board of Directors:
Cindy Buddington, President, Montgomery County
Pat Laird, Vice-President, Anne Arundel County
Regina Lee, Secretary, Prince George’s County
Robert Watson, Treasurer, Prince George’s County
Carol Boyer, Prince George’s County
Michael Fitzpatrick, Montgomery County
Don Gilchrist, Montgomery County
Timothy Hairston, Prince George’s County
David Johnson, Montgomery County
Sandra Sermons, Montgomery County                                                     In Fond Memory of Bill Lee,
                                                                             Founding Board Member of Independence Now
Alex Vakalopoulos, Montgomery County
Youth Programs
It’s been an exciting time for the Youth Program at Independence Now, Inc. Our beginning steps have been successful
ones and we are looking forward to future endeavors.

In February we held a webinar Outreaching to Youth with Disabilities and Their Supports. Our aim was to provide an
interactive way for teachers, coordinators, counselors, parents and youth to gain a greater understanding of
independent living and the services we offer. We had lots participants which was thrilling. In March, we held an open
house event for Prince George’s and Montgomery County residents called Stations for Services. Students and parents
toured the office viewing displays that showcased our services. Staff members were available to introduce services and
answer questions about our organization.

April was a very exciting month for our youth program. We held a statewide Movie Advocacy Day during Spring Break.
Youth were invited to join us at the AFI Silver Theatre in downtown Silver Spring for the feature film, Darius Goes West.
We ended up with almost 50 people in attendance! Darius, the star of the movie chatted with us on Skype, allowing
students to ask questions, make comments and gain an understanding of real life challenges and accomplishments. It
was exciting for all of us to see such a positive reaction to the day!

Although, our week long Youth Leadership Forum program will not be held this summer, we are excited about the new
and fun activities Independence Now is putting together for youth with disabilities. For instance, this summer we are
hosting the Capital Food Bank’s Cooking Matters class which teaches teens about healthy eating and independent meal
preparation. This six week course will run through the summer, incorporating our Travel Training program and our
Independent Living Services. Youth Programs are continuing to expand and we are looking forward to everything the
next few years will bring. It is only the beginning!

Staff: Kim Wilhelm, Youth Program Coordinator

                                                         Assistive Technology
                                                         Independence Now receives funding from the Rehabilitation
                                                         Services Administration for modifications to the homes and
                                                         vehicles of eligible consumers with significant disabilities. The
                                                         home modifications are to improve access to the home, access
                                                         to the bathroom and access within the residence. In the past
                                                         year we have funded the installation of ramps, vertical
                                                         wheelchair lifts, stair lifts, railings on stairways, and safety
                                                         railings in bathrooms. We provide financial support to
                                                         consumers for the modifications to their vehicles so as to make
                                                         driving and transporting easier and safer.

                                                         One of our consumers lived in a house with steps down from
                                                         the house and up to the street. She was unable to get safely
from her house to the street. She contacted the county and had them make the entrance accessible on the street side of
her property. Independence Now assisted her in making her porch and stairs meet the work done by the county. We
were able to help her find a contractor who could do the work and enable her to pay for the modifications.

The grant also funds Assistive Technology. We have been able to fund hearing aids and augmentative communication
devices for consumers. In this way we have made communication less problematic. With our help, a young man,
transitioning from school to work, was able to obtain the augmentative communication device that he uses at school,
facilitating a smoother transition to adult life.

Staff: Trish Foley, Director of Community Programs

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