On the evening of Wednesday, July 19th 2017, ACI attended Plays in the Park to see their production of West Side Story. All that attended enjoyed some aspect of the evening, whether it was the music, singing, dancing or just a night out with friends and good conversation. If you haven’t experienced a Plays in the Park production yet, put it on your list of things to do during the summer!
On July 18, dozens of disability advocates and voting rights experts will mark the annual National Disability Voter Registration week with a kickoff event at the NJ Statehouse Annex on 131 West State Street in Trenton. Time is set for 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. This event is open to the public.
In addition to recognizing National Disability Voter Registration week, the purpose of the day is to underscore the importance of the disability vote in this year’s gubernatorial election. “With nearly 10% of the state’s population identifying themselves as having a disability, we need to show the candidates that our issues need to be addressed,” says Carole Tonks, Executive Director of Alliance Center for Independence.
NJ Senate President Stephen M. Sweeny (D-3) will be the featured speaker.
ACI would like to thank MaryAnne Kokidis of Amerigroup NJ for her terrific workshop on stress management. MaryAnne discussed how too much stress can affect your physical health and shared tips on how to reduce stress in our daily lives. Thank you MaryAnne and Amerigroup NJ!
On the evening of June 15th, ACI had a blast at the Somerset Patriots game against the Long Island Ducks. Although the Patriots suffered a 3 to 1 loss, the ACI participants had fun cheering on their favorite team. The Patriots were celebrating their 20th season by giving away commemorative baseball hats, each participant went home with one. Even Sparkee and Slider, the Patriots mascots, came to say hello in the 7th inning.
On March 15th 2017, President Trump submitted his first Federal budget to the 115th Congress. It features cuts of $54 billion to federal agencies, an increase of $52 billion in military spending, and tax cuts.
The budget will have a negative impact on people with disabilities, low income individuals, seniors and children. Members of the US Senate and Congress need to know that this is unacceptable!
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the 2018 budget proposal:
- Cuts SNAP (food stamps) by more than $193 billion over the next ten years.
- Cuts $72 billion over ten years from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income - which provide income benefits to individuals with disabilities.
- Cuts, by $22 billion over ten years, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant and Contingency Fund, which provide funds to states for short-term income assistance, work programs, and other crucial supports for poor families with children.
- Eliminates the Social Services Block Grant, a $1.7 billion program that provides states with flexible funding for services such as adult day programs for seniors and people with disabilities, child care, and help for children who are at risk of abuse and neglect, among others.
- Large cuts in rental assistance that would eliminate housing vouchers for more than 250,000 lower-income households, costing these households aid that helps them pay the rent and avoid homelessness.
In addition, the budget would cut health assistance to low and moderate income people by $1.85 trillion over ten years. $1.25 trillion of which will come from the proposal to from the House bill to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and $610 billion of additional Medicaid cuts. New Jersey stands to lose $31 billion in Federal funding of Medicaid over 10 years, as a result.
What can you do to prevent this budget from passing?
Call your US Senators!
Senator Menendez (973-645-3030) and Senator Booker (973- 639-8700).
Call your US Representative!
You can be connected to your representative by contacting the House switchboard at (202) 224-3121. If you wish to speak specifically about Medicaid or other healthcare issues in the budget, ask to speak with the Representative's Heathcare Staffer.
Tell them to vote "NO" on the President Trump's proposed budget. Indicate that the budget proposal will put the lives of people with disabilities at risk!
For more information:
ACI recently hosted a workshop on Social Security Work Incentives. 20 attendees heard Elisa Cohen of the NJ Work Incentive Network Support (NJWINS), discuss how those receiving SSI and SSDI can get back to or start paid work through incentive set up by the Social Security Administration. NJWINS is a program of the Family Resource Network. Thank you Elisa for the informative presentation!
On May 22nd, friends of ACI gathered at the PeopleCare Center for Nonprofits in Bridgewater to share their creative writing endeavors. Poets, Short Story writers, Essayists, Novelists, and novice writers spent the evening sharing and giving feedback on their work. Participants took part in prompt writing exercises to practice spontaneous writing. Discussions spanned from writing styles, reasons people write, important writing topics, and issues related to sharing your work with the public. Thank you to all that attended for making it a fantastic evening and big thank you to PeopleCare Center for Nonprofits for opening your doors to our group!