Monday, October 31, 2016

Accessing the Future

Mayor Strickland speaks at the MCIL Awards Lunch

Mayor Strickland and Savannah Morris
(MEMPHIS, Oct. 31, 2016) The Memphis Center for Independent Living honored the former MCIL Executive Director today at the annual Deborah Cunningham Access Awards Lunch. Mayor of the City of Memphis, Jim Strickland spoke at the event and highlighted the need for accessible neighborhoods.

Director of Fire Services, Gina Sweat also made and informational appeal to the crowd and detailed services to protect residents with disabilities. Andy Wise of WMC-TV 5 was the Master of Ceremonies for the lunch and quipped that Director Sweat should have thought twice about discussing budget problems in front of her boss, the Mayor.

“Firefighters are brave,” responded Director Sweat.

Lunch was served at Central Station to about seventy people starting at 11:00 am before the program. This years lunch was the second annual event and coincided with the thirty-first anniversary of the founding of MCIL. Following the Mayor’s address, Andy Wise presented the MCIL 2016 Achievement in Access to James Boehm for his work for access in rideshare transportation.
James Boehm recieves award from Sandi Klink.

James Boehm (a native Memphian) has taken a stand in August and September, on behalf of guide dog users, specifically, to spread awareness and educate communities regarding the need for Uber and other rideshare drivers to follow the law, as it pertains to service dogs. James has gone above and beyond to spend time with local law-enforcement and DA staff, in order to help them understand the impact to persons with service dogs when a Uber or rideshare driver does not allow them a ride.

James Boehm spoke briefly and was flattered by the award. He did not know Ms. Cunningham but was impressed by her bio and he mentioned Deborah and the Underground Railroad used by people with disabilities to get services in other states because Tennessee did not offer services to allow people with disabilities to move out of expensive institutions.

Mr. Wise also recognized the MCIL 2016 Essay Contest Winner: Savannah Morris who received $100 for her winning essay on the “Accessible Memphis I Want in My Future.”

“Let’s make this a better Memphis by working together with one another,” read Mr. Wise from Savannah Morris’ Essay. “Everyone has a dream, let’s make the dream come true for people with disabilities.”

Andy Wise also filled in when the Mayor forgot to present a Proclamation to MCIL recognizing October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Andy Wise read the proclamation and presented it to Sandi Klink the Executive Director of MCIL.

Finally, Ms. Klink surprised the board and staff of MCIL by asking them to come to the front of William Hudson Hall and gave them all gifts and bragged about them and the Center to the crowd. 
MCIL staff recognized.

View More photos from the MCIL event.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Demand your right to vote privately and independently!

It is Empowering to Vote

By Judy Neal
Judy Neal and two other women at the White House

I just got back from early voting and it reminded me so much about the connections between advocacy, consumer control and empowerment. The poll was staffed with very helpful people who knew little or nothing about disability.  Upon seeing the white cane that I use because of my visual impairment, I was asked if I needed to "sit down." When I got to the table for checking my registration I was asked, "Did you bring someone with you to help?"  My response was that I expected to vote independently on an accessible voting machine.  Completely ignoring what I had to say, the worker said, "then, we'll get someone to assist you. Sign this form for assistance."

Another worker heard me laughing and came over to take me to the machine with the headphones. I was able to talk to her about my expectations to vote privately and independently. Even so, she asked, "Do you want me to stand here and help you?"

When I was finished, I pulled the card out of the machine and handed it to the poll worker. In her most earnest voice, she suggested that I leave by the “handicapped door.”

I know we still have a long way to go before we're recognized as independent and equal. The more people with disabilities that show up at the polls, the easier it will become for all of us.  So, after years of advocacy, testimony, and voter machine testing, I was able to silently and independently vote for the candidate of my choice. Knowing that I worked hard for the right to vote independently and standing up for that right was definitely empowering.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Transportation Survey

Transportation Access and Experiences

The ADA Participation Action Research Consortium would like to invite you to participate in a national survey titled, Transportation Access and Experiences, which is designed to improve understanding of accessibility of public transportation for people with disabilities. This survey ADA-PARC, a collaborative research project of ADA Regional Centers (PIs: Lex Frieden and Joy Hammel). This project focuses on community living, community participation, work and economic participation disparities of people with disabilities (For more information, visit the website: We would like to improve our understanding on transportation access of people with disabilities and use this information to make improvements at regional and national levels.

We are very interested in receiving as many responses as possible from people with disabilities based on their personal experiences with public transportation. The results will serve as crucial evidence to support improvements to accessible transportation.

Please use the link below to access and complete the survey. The online survey can be completed in English or Spanish. This is the second round of data collection for this survey, so if you have already completed it, please do not complete the survey again.

Survey Link:

If you would like to complete the survey by phone in English, please contact the research team at 312-996-9655. If you would like to complete the survey by phone in Spanish, please contact Ancel Montenelli at 312-413-1439. Please mention that you are calling about the ADA transportation survey.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this survey, please contact Jill Bezyak from the Rocky Mountain ADA Center at

Thank-you for taking the time to assist us with this survey.


Nos gustaría invitarle a participar en una encuesta nacional titulada, Acceso y Experiencia de Transporte, el cual está diseñada para mejorar la comprensión de la accesibilidad del transporte público para personas con discapacidad. Esta encuesta está siendo realizada por el Consorcio de la Investigación sobre la Acción para la Participación de la ADA (siglas en inglés ADA-PARC), un proyecto colaborativo de investigación que colabora con siete Centros Regionales de la Ley para americanos con Discapacidades (ADA)  (Investigadores Principales: Lex Frieden y Joy Hammel). Este proyecto el cual se enfocan en la vida en la  comunidad, la participación comunitaria, el trabajo y desigualdades de participación económica de las personas con discapacidad (Para obtener más información, visite el sitio web: Nos gustaría mejorar nuestro entendimiento sobre el acceso al transporte de personas con discapacidad y utilizar esta información para hacer mejoras a nivel regional y nacional.

Estamos muy interesados en recibir tantas respuestas como sea posible de las personas con discapacidad en base a sus experiencias personales con el transporte público. Siéntase en libertad de  compartir la encuesta con entidades potencialmente interesadas. Los resultados servirán como evidencia clave para mejoras al transporte accesible. Utilice el siguiente enlace para acceder y completar la encuesta. Si usted tiene alguna pregunta o comentario acerca de esta encuesta, por favor, póngase en contacto con Joy Hammel a su correo electrónico

Agregue el enlace de la encuesta aquí:

También deseamos informarle que estamos en la disposición de ayudarle a participar en la encuesta vía  teléfono si así lo prefiere, especialmente si el acceso a Internet es un problema para usted o usted prefiere completar la encuesta verbalmente. Puede llamar a nuestro equipo de investigación al 312-996-9655 si desea realizar la encuesta por teléfono. Si desea completar la encuesta por teléfono en español, por favor póngase en contacto con el Sr. Ancel Montenelli al 312-413-1439. Y Por favor, haga mención que usted está llamando acerca de la encuesta de transporte ADA.

Gracias por tomarse el tiempo para ayudarnos con esta encuesta.

Parent Summit

MCIL focus on Transportation

By Allison Donald
Alison Donald
The Parent Summit and Transition Fair that was held on October 22, 2016 at the Colonial Middle School. The Fair is a one stop shop for information and resources for parents of children and young adults with disabilities that caters to parents who are looking for post-secondary education options.   

There are many choices for parents in areas ranging from education and employment to educating themselves and their children on the different modes of transportation.  Parents have the opportunity to speak with as many vendors as they like about their respective programs and how the programs can assist their child or young adult.  

“I am very pleased that our visitors, community members and vendors are willing to connect parents and guardians with resources and services today,” said Celia Moore, the Director of Shelby County Schools Exceptional Children and Health Services. “I’m grateful to each of you and thank you for your support and for your participation.”

During the breakout sessions which last no more than thirty minutes the vendors present on a particular subject that pertains to the transition of young people and their parents from a school setting to community living.

The Memphis Center for Independent Living breakout session for this year’s summit was centered on transportation options for people with disabilities in Memphis.  Our presentation was primarily focused on letting the parents know that transportation is a vital part of independence for people with disabilities.  

Also, Christina Clift and I wanted to introduce these parents to other modes of transportation aside from them transporting their child everywhere they needed to go.   The most important piece of information I think we wanted to leave them with is independence is a process that can start by teaching your child how to travel independently.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Success Happens Here!

Finding affordable, accessible, integrated housing is difficult in Memphis

By Tim Redd
It’s no secret that our community, people with disabilities face many challenges. In September I met a woman with a disability who was looking for housing. I provided her with several resources to get started in her housing search. I followed up with her on a weekly basis, offering more information as it was needed.

On October 12th I received the news from the woman that she had found housing would be moving on the 24th of this month. She thanked me for all my help. I am happy to help people and I celebrate her success. MCIL is a place of action and we encourage self-advocacy. I am happy to help empower my community, success happens here!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Build Your Own Transportation Toolbox

MCIL Workshop on Transportation Options

By Christina Clift
MATAplus operator and bus
On Thursday, September 15, 2016 members of the community were given the opportunity to build their own Transportation Toolbox by attending a workshop on Transportation Options at the Memphis Center for Independent Living.  During the two hour workshop attendees were reacquainted to familiar transportation options and introduced to new ones.  MCIL knows that access to affordable, reliable, and accessible transportation is a barrier for the disability community and by holding this workshop we hope to provide information to assist you in getting where you want to go.

Over the past two years the transportation landscape in Memphis has gradually started to change.  It now consists of traditional options such as Memphis Area Rideshare, Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA), MIFA, and taxi cabs, but now includes new providers such as Uber and Lyft, Point A 2 Point B Transportation Inc., Midsouth Express Shuttle, Prosperity Transportation, and Strong One Transportation.  These new providers are providing low-cost transportation options to people with disabilities and going into areas that our current public transportation does not.  While not all of these new providers have wheelchair accessible vehicles in their fleet, they all indicated that it is a priority for their company to purchase one as soon as possible. 

Veronica MacKinney says, “Having  wheelchair accessible vehicles will truly broaden the transportation options for all people with disabilities and will begin to challenge MATA in providing better service.”  While the Memphis Area Transit Authority was invited and agreed to attend during this workshop, they did not show up.  So our attendees were not able to examine the new vehicles or find out about the changes MATA’s done over the past year to improve service.

Below you will find brief information about each of the providers that attended:

Memphis Area Rideshare: Sonya Owens
Phone: (901) 222-9000

Offers emergency rides home for persons whose primary transportation to and from work is by bus or carpool.  You can apply online by visiting  Wheelchair accessible vehicles are currently available for wheelchair users who use this program. 
Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA): LaBarbara Houston
Phone: (901) 722-7138

Operates fixed route buses, paratransit (MATAplus), and trolley services seven days a week.  Fares range between .80-$5.10 one-way depending on the mode of transportation you use.  
Memphis Express Shuttle and Touring Service
Phone: (901) 356-1719
Fares begin at $7.00 one-way.  They have a wheelchair accessible vehicle.  Reservations should be made at least one day in advance.
MIFA: Monique BaldridgePhone: (901) 527-0208
Point A 2 Point B Transportation Inc.: Phylantyniese Stone
Phone: (901) 216-5437

Operates Monday through Saturday from 6:00 AM to 11:30 PM.  Reservations must be made three days in advance.  Rates are $5.00 one-way
Prosperity Trans1. Inc.:
Phone: (901) 833-3656

Fares range between $7.00-$20.00 one-way depending on where you are picked up or dropped off.

Strong One Transportation: Cassandra Strong

Phone: (901) 833-7152

Operates between 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM seven days a week.  Reservations must be made at least one-day in advance of your trip.  Rates range between $5.00-$9.00 per leg depending on the length of your trip.
Uber and Lyft are rideshare services that connect individuals to transportation through the use of smartphone apps.  Individuals must download and install the app on their smartphone device and register.  Both services provide same-day transportation but currently do not have any wheelchair accessible vehicles in the Memphis area.  Fares are based upon the miles and time your ride takes.

MCIL will continue to monitor the progress of these new transportation providers as well as traditional providers to ensure access for all.  Please contact us if you have any problems or for more information.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tennessee Set to Redetermine TennCare Eligibility

What You Need to Know About TennCare Redetermination Process  

Women busy with paperworkBy Tim Redd and Allison Donald
The TennCare Redetermination Process is tedious to say the least. The packet comes in two formats. The standard packet is 98 pages long and if you assert a disability you will fill out a total of 119 pages.

Several challenges have been revealed in the wake of this process like the extensive questioning.  Also the packets are not being mailed to the right address and each packet includes an individualized bar-code, so every page is related to an individual recipient. Explaining and communicating with diverse populations and some people are prevented from reapplying. Failure to complete the process in a timely fashion will leave many TennCare recipients with no health insurance.

The most important thing you need to do is call the Tennessee Health Connection 1-855-259-0701 to verify your address and inquire if you are scheduled to receive a redetermination packet. You have 90 days to submit your completed form. If you receive any mail that requires you to send in more information you have 10 days to respond.

The catch is, you really only have only 50 days to return the redetermination packet, which is based on the day the packet is mailed out. Please keep a copy of the information you receive.  You may produce a paper trail so nothing is lost by sending a fax to the Tennessee Health Connection is 1-855-315-0669.

“The most vital part of this entire equation,” said Michael Heinrich a volunteer with the Tennessee Health Care Campaign, “is to make sure your correct address is on file with the state of Tennessee, and ask if you are supposed to receive a redetermination packet.”

You should be able to get help with your packet from the Department of Health and Human Services and Tennessee Health Connection. Enrollees do not have a case worker that will fill out the redetermination packet, you must call the Department of Health and Human Services (901) 320-7200 to get assistance.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My First Visit to MCIL

MCIL is a unique environment with great people

By Douglass Hall
My name is Douglass Hall and I am going into my tenth year of being diagnosed as legally blind. At age 60, needless to say the last ten years has been nothing short of a real game changer. I was forced to leave a job and profession that I truly loved – Information Technology.

For my first eighteen months I wandered aimlessly stuck between denial and anger with the world. By happenstance I was at the Southern College of Optometry for an eye examination and was told about an agency located nearby that offered braille training. I decided why not go and check them out since I was already in the neighborhood.

My first visit was very memorable and continues to be one of my laughable moments since I started this journey. I entered the Memphis Center for Independent Living and a gentleman was sitting behind the front reception desk. I must have been standing there right in front of him for a good 45 seconds. He did not acknowledge me, yet answered the phone several times with me standing there in front of him. 

Underneath my breath I mused “what in the heck kind of organization is this? Was this the kind of service and respect I was going to face from here on out?”

Just as I was getting ready to let go with the massive attitude, someone else came in and the gentleman behind the desk asked: ”Can I help you?” Looking him directly in the face it became immediately obvious that he was responding to the sound of the automatic door opening. Boy, did I ever feel stupid, I then realized he was blind and could not see me.

Also, in that very same visit I had the opportunity to meet a very special person named Christina, an Independent Living Specialist.  I was impressed with her sense of personal connection. She was very friendly and helpful. Not by words, but example she has inspired me to re-think my attitude about what it means to live with blindness. She is an ocean of information, always willing to share her knowledge with others, and give the best example of what it means to be an advocate. 
Thanks to her and many others I have been able to start my own assistive technology training company with the dream of hiring as many blind persons as possible.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

#HowEyeSeeIt is short-sighted

The Foundation Fighting Blindness fundraising is not supportive of the community

By Christina Clift
Christina Clift
#Howeyeseeit is a fundraising campaign launched this summer by the Foundation Fighting Blindness that challenges sighted individuals to blindfold themselves and perform everyday tasks like tying their shoes, taking their children to the park, cooking and counting money.  According to the Foundation’s website the campaign raised $100,000.00 which will be used to continue to search and develop a cure for retinal diseases such as Retinitis Pigmentosa.  However, I believe that the good done by raising this money was outweighed by the long term damage and harm done to the Blind community.  

The fundraising campaign has also outraged thousands of individuals who are blind across the United States.  In Fact, the National Federation of the Blind launched its counter-campaign by having its members post videos doing everyday tasks and thus demonstrating their skills and competence as  individuals who are blind to live their own lives.

Blind student training in long-cane technique with an eyeshade

So what was wrong with the Foundation Fighting Blindness #Howeyeseeit campaign?  This campaign reinforced beliefs by many that being blind is something to fear, that people who are blind lives would be full of misery, frustration and that individuals who are blind require assistance to perform menial everyday tasks like fixing meals.  The resulting videos starring blindfolded individuals played to the long held stereotypes which exist in society and the videos were often viewed with humor, derision and pity.  

The videos promote the misconceptions of the general public about being blind and lead to lower expectations of people who are blind.  On their website the Foundation states that more than 58 million people participated in the campaign and that is 58 million people who did not see individuals who are blind portrayed as intelligent, independent, or capable. 

Before coming to work at the Memphis Center for Independent Living (MCIL) and joining the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) I used to believe that activities like this were okay, but I now know what harm imitation can do.  There has been a lot of research done on these types of simulations. A blindfold simulation by a sighted person will never be accurate.  Arielle Silverman conducted blindness simulations as part of her research for her Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado. Several individuals were blindfolded, while several were not. The individuals that were blindfolded left the activity with the perception that
individuals who are blind are less able to hold down basic professional jobs and were less able to live independently. This simulation did absolutely no good for those with visual impairments.

“Blindfolding yourself is not much like living with blindness,” Ms. Silverman said. “When people develop permanent blindness, they get used to it. Research shows that most people who develop disabilities eventually adjust. The fear, frustration and distress go away over time. It is just part of the human condition to adapt to any new circumstance. Further, when people become blind, they learn techniques and adopt tools, such as the white cane, that give them independence.” 

Simulation does not help sighted individuals adjust to a real disability. I will say that there are a few occasions, that disability can be productively simulated, but they require lots of thought and planning to carry out appropriately.

Some people might also want to compare the #Howeyeseeit  videos to the Ice Bucket challenge that was done to raise money for individuals with ALS.  The distinct difference between these two social media campaigns is that individuals participating in the ice bucket challenge were not acting like they had ALS. Furthermore, it did not demean the capabilities of people with ALS or create a sense of fear about living with the disease.

"The  National Federation of the Blind is deeply concerned that the #HowEyeSeeIt challenge, as currently structured, will do lasting harm to the ability of millions of Blind Americans to live the lives we want,” said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind in September.  “In encouraging people who are not blind to don blindfolds and make videos of themselves attempting everyday tasks, this campaign perpetuates the fears, misconceptions, and low expectations that society has about blindness by giving those who take the challenge or view the videos an inaccurate understanding of the lived experience of Blind people."

"In particular," continues Mr. Riccobono, "suggesting that it is difficult or impossible for blind parents to care for their children is false and irresponsible. As a blind father of three children who also happens to be married to a blind person, I can say unequivocally that, with non-visual techniques, we can, and do, capably parent thriving children every day. Yet children have been removed from the custody of blind parents solely because of misconceptions about their ability to care for them, without any actual proof of abuse or neglect, and the #HowEyeSeeIt campaign threatens to worsen this already grave problem. This is only one example of how this campaign will harm the chances of Blind people, including board members and supporters of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, to live productive and happy lives.”

Christina Clift
"To be clear, we have no quarrel with the Foundation Fighting Blindness or the medical research that it seeks to fund," said Mark Riccobono. "However, we believe that this particular method of gathering support will harm the very people whom the Foundation Fighting Blindness and the National Federation of the Blind, in different but complementary ways, seek to help. I and other members of the National Federation of the Blind have told the Foundation Fighting Blindness that the perpetuation of misconceptions about, and by extension discrimination against, the Blind is unacceptable, but so far we have been ignored. We therefore demand that the Foundation Fighting Blindness stop filling its coffers by spreading misconceptions  and jeopardizing the dreams and aspirations of Blind people."

I believe that the Foundation Fighting Blindness should highlight the strengths, abilities, showcase stories of successful Blind individuals, and discuss the required training and non-visual techniques used in everyday life.  People who are blind use assistive technology like money identifiers to count their money, they use non visual techniques to cook meals, and use adaptive techniques like putting bells on the shoes of their children to help track where they are.  They learn to use a white cane for independent mobility, braille to read and write with, screen reading software to access their e-mail and computer, and are able to safely raise healthy, happy children.  This method would not use fear of being blind to raise money and would educate the public simultaneously.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness placed on their website the following statement:

We acknowledge and are sensitive to the concerns expressed by the  National Federation of the Blind that the challenge activity may have reinforced unfounded and negative stereotypes about blind people. The purpose of the blindfold experience was to increase participants’ appreciation for two things: the gift of sight and the skills and strengths of their family members, co-workers, friends and neighbors who live  their lives productively with low or no vision.

I do not view my sight as a gift.  You can either see or not.  You don’t receive sight for Christmas or birthday, you don’t lose it for bad behavior, and it’s not the characteristic that defines me or my future, it’s merely a characteristic of who I am.  To call it a gift implies that being able to see is something special.  Yes, I appreciate the remaining vision that I have, but I will be okay if I lose it.

On October 15, 2016 the Foundation Fighting Blindness will hold its annual Vision Walk in Memphis.  It is my hope that people who are blind, their families, community organizations, and sighted peers will turn out and tell them to stop this campaign.  Other ways you can help is by posting a video countering these negative stereotypes, donating to organizations like MCIL or the NFB, and by educating yourself by talking to a person who is blind in your community.

The Memphis Center for Independent Living believes the in using “people first” language. Often you will note in this article “the Blind” and "Blind people" are used in an apparent contradiction to the strict person-first ideal. MCIL recognizes cultural exceptions to the people first guide. You may be familiar with "Deaf" with a capital D used by most people who are deaf. The capital “D” denotes a cultural identity surrounding a signed language and a set of cultural norms separate from the mainstream local culture. People who are deaf who capitalize the D see their deafness as more than just a physiological state, also as an identity. The same applies for people who are deaf-blind and for some people who are blind who, while sharing a language in common with the mainstream, may feel necessary assert a specific community identity.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

An Independent Life

 MCIL works with an individual for independence

By Allison Donald

Allison Donald speaks at a rally in Memphis
This year I worked with a twenty- two year old woman who had a traumatic brain injury when she was just twelve years old.  When she and her mother walked into my office for information and referral services they had just moved to Memphis from California.  After speaking with the young woman, she made it clear that she wanted to be more independent.   I went to work with her on identifying the barriers that were keeping her from being independent.

The consumer’s goals were very clear: she wanted to be more social, she wanted to attend college, and she wanted her own apartment.  My first suggestion was to join L.I.F.E (Living Independently For Everyone), which a social peer-group for young adults 18-35. L.I.F.E. meets every Thursday at the Memphis Center for Independent Living.  Her interaction with the group has allowed her to open up about misconceptions and fears. She is able to talk without judgement about being a person with a disability to other members of the L.I.F.E. 

The MCIL peer-group has also pushed her to be more social outside of the center.  The consumer is also a part of a youth bible study group at her church and she was just nominated as the feature poet for a piece she wrote about her journey as a person with a disability.  She also wants to participate in sports again, because she loves to be outside and active.  She took the initiative to sign up for the Special Olympics and began training this summer with a coach provided by the Special Olympics program in Tennessee.  She hopes to compete in some swimming and track events in the near future.  

The consumer has proven to be a social butterfly, but she also has some educational goals as well. Choosing the right educational path has probably been the most challenging goal for her to meet, because she couldn’t make up her mind what she wanted to do.  She was set on attending college, so we began the process of applying for admission to Southwest Tennessee Community College. 

The consumer came back in my office about three weeks later and told me she had been accepted.  I was happy for her, because she needed assistance filling out that application and she felt comfortable enough to ask me instead of depending on her mother.  I knew she was happy, because that was a weight off of her, but I also knew that she wasn’t one hundred percent behind the idea of college. 
I was surprised that the consumer came to my office after about a month and told her mother and I that she didn’t want to go to college anymore.  All was not lost, because I gave her some resources about the Vocational Rehabilitation program in Smyrna, TN.  The consumer and her mother visited the campus and absolutely loved it.  

Allison Donald with ADAPT
The young woman will be a member of the next class in Smyrna.  She will be in the office administrative program; a program that is also a good test for her.  She will get an opportunity to experiment how it feels to be independent. The program will reinforce those independent living skills everyone needs to manage their life. 

I am impressed by the motivation of the consumer and the time in Smyrna will be the first step to her big goal, which is to get her own apartment.  

“MCIL is a helpful, peaceful, and welcoming place for information,” she said.  

I think that is the feeling we hope all our consumers have.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Finding CHOICES in the community.

MCIL helps individuals remain in the community

By Bobbie Fields, Transition Coordinator
One consumer MCIL served this year is a fifty-six year old gentleman who was hospitalized due to a stroke in February of 2015. MCIL became involved when the hospital refused to continue treating him after his condition improved. In fact, they were threatening to release him out in the streets if his sister couldn't find a place for him to go.

The hospital wanted to send him to a nursing home and had not told him that he had the option to remain in the community. MCIL helped him apply for CHOICES, a program of  TENNCare Medicaid to help people live in their own home and not expensive institutions.

We met with the individual and his sister about his options as far as housing, healthcare, and the hospital responsibilities.  We also had a meeting with the hospital social worker and the administrative representative about their responsibilities and discharging him into an unsafe environment.

The consumer was given resources to help him begin the process of getting insurance, finding housing, and medical care. He eventually received home and community based services through the CHOICES Program and he was also able to find affordable, accessible, integrated housing from the list we provided.

Today, the MCIL consumer calls me periodically about his progress and to thank us for all of our help and support. He is thankful for MCIL helping him to remain independent in his community. He is excited about the start of basketball season and tells me he can't wait to catch a live game.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Is MATA Listening to Customers?

Ask the customers

By Johnnie Mosley
I’m sure Ron Garrison believes what he wrote in his Sept. 25 guest column, “MATA CEO: ‘We are listening’ to customers.” As chairman of Citizens For Better Service, I say if you really want to find out whether MATA is listening to its users, just ask them.

Ask the senior citizens who are forced to go numerous blocks to catch a bus to Downtown Memphis. Ask the working people who have to leave home two to three hours early to get to work on time. Ask the restaurant managers who cannot hire or keep good employees because there is no night service in various parts of Memphis. Ask the parents who had to quit their jobs because the bus they used to catch no longer exists.

The so-called plan that called for $500,000 of bus service improvements is the same old consolidations and service cuts disguised as improvements.

Ron Garrison of MATA