Fiscal Year 2011-2012
People with disabilities who live in extreme poverty (less than $9,000year) are one of the most vulnerable segments of our population. The combination of disability and poverty puts them at risk of their conditions worsening if left untreated and homelessness when unable to live on fixed incomes. Access To Independence is the program through which our services help decrease suffering and hardship by improving the well-being of people with disabilities so that they can access the resources that are essential for their survival.
The American Community Survey for 2008-2010 projections state there are nearly 26,400people with one or more disabilities living in Larimer County. Of that figure, nearly 4,000(15%) are living below the poverty level, a percentage high than that for the state (14%).
CASE MANAGEMENT SERVICES
DRS helped 1,337 people connect with programs and services to stabilize their crises, enabling them to live with dignity, more independently and in safety. One person benefiting from our help was 55 year old Mr. N., disabled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after repeated abuse during childhood. He was unaware of the extent to the abuse was impairing him. For 10 years, before coming to DRS, he had been mostly living under bridges. Referred to DRS by his therapist, our staff helped him. He is no longer living on the streets, is able to obtain necessary medications therapy, achieved more stability and can at last focus on healing from his past abuse.
DRS’ housing assistance services were used by 925 people. DRS helped people obtain rent deposits of $50 to $250, prevented evictions, and coordinated modifications and repairs for improved accessibility. People with compromised health who have disabilities need stable housing. Consider the situation of CW, who suffered from Bruegger’s Disease and Peripheral Artery Disease that resulted in having had both legs and part of her arm amputated by the time she came to DRS. With help from DRS she and her son (who also has disabilities) were able to move into a new apartment where they lived together until she later died due to complications from surgical amputation of her remaining arm.
Staff helped 415 people access needed medical services. People have improved health or they are able to better manage their disabling conditions. For example, an elderly man with arthritis and orthopedic problems needed a car hitch to support an exterior platform for his wife’s motorized wheelchair. It was not a safe solution for car or wife. He reluctantly agreed to try an alternative solution and for $100, DRS purchased a lightweight, companion wheelchair. After two days of using it he was transporting his wife in a way that was much more pleasant for her and much more manageable for him.
Our agency helped 773 people access their community and safety net services. DRS purchased bus passes, scheduled personal drivers, and issued gas vouchers. Sometimes access to transportation meant the difference between life and death. Consider the homeless man with multiple disabilities and severe pain who was living on the streets. Income of $200month from Aid to the Needy Disabled prevented him from purchasing a disabled bus pass. He received one from DRS which enabled him to get to multiple medical appointments and safety net services. After his situation and health condition deteriorated due to cold weather and worsening Alzheimer’s, DRS helped him acquire a bus ticket to Kentucky to live with family members. Without this bus ticket, he would not have survived the cold winter living on the streets.
DRS provided help to 227 people with emergency utility needs. Intervention included preventing utility shutoffs, paying deposits, making repairs and providing fuel. Individuals had heat and running water, a safer living environment and improved health because health risks were reduced.
LOW VISIONBLINDNESS SUPPORT
We provided assistance to 669 seniors by helping them get the technical assistance and emotional support needed to cope with vision loss and isolation. They are able to live with greater independence and remain active in community life.
Intensive assistance was provided to 12 people seeking employment which included preparing resumes, learning interview skills and helping them obtain special accommodations such as job coaching or assistive technology. Given the high unemployment rate among people with disabilities, this continues to be challenging. Nevertheless, 2 people succeeded in securing employment. Moreover, part time, at-home, contract work processing mailers provides a modest source of money for individuals as they improve their job skills for work after acquiring a disability.
Our volunteer coordinator recruited volunteers who helped over 100 disabled people with tasks they could not do themselves and could not afford to hire someone to do. This included providing transportation to medical appointments, home maintenance, yard work, car repairs and moving households.
Completed Service Projects
- 1987-2009 Supported Youth Employment job skills training program for high school students with disabilities in Fort Collins and Loveland.
- 2005-2010 Independence At Home Housecleaning services provided to people at risk of nursing home placement.
Ongoing Service Projects
- 1978 Medical Equipment Loan Closet of durable medical equipment. Fees charged take into consideration ability to pay.
- 1978 Home Modifications removes barriers that prevent individuals with disabilities from getting into and around in their homes (e.g. widen doorways, install grab bars, etc.).
- 1982 Adult Employment Assistance helps individuals find work.
- 1992 Volunteer Coordination assists individuals needing a variety of specific help such as yard work, home repairs, car repair, trips to medical appointments, and other services.
- 1997 Disability-Specific Support Groups for peer support.
- 1995 Management of Housing Vouchers (Section 8) that provide affordable housing.
- 2001 Community Transitions moves people out of nursing homes to living independently in their community.
- 2006 Social Security Advocacy assists individuals with complicated application process. In some cases taking more than two years for individuals to get approved.
- 2006 Medical Transportation helps individuals get to medical appointments.
- 2006 Jackson County Outreach serves people who live in underserved, rural areas.
- 2009 Utility Assistance helps individuals facing shut offs.
- 2009 Medical Assistance provides financial assistance for medical care when there is no insurance.