by Melanie Brunson
As many of you know, the ACB offices receive inquiries on a fairly regular basis from people looking for help with legal or access issues. Some of the most frequent issues include:
- Problems related to Social Security, SSI, or SSDI benefits;
- Questions about technology, and assistive technology;
- Medicare and Medicaid issues;
- Housing issues, such as discrimination against guide dog users in rental housing, accessibility issues, availability of rent subsidies, Section 8 vouchers;
- Transportation and paratransit eligibility;
- Employment discrimination and reasonable accommodations; and
- ADA provisions and/or protections.
Sometimes, we're able to help, but sometimes people who call us would benefit from assistance from someone closer to home who could personally work with them to resolve an issue, attend a hearing, or provide other direct advocacy, counsel, or training. Increasingly, we find that such help is either very limited, or not available through local organizations.
We are interested in tapping the talent of ACB's own membership to see if ACB can make up this shortage of advocates. Some fine folks have already volunteered to make their expertise available to people who need assistance, but we could use more volunteers. Therefore, we are reaching out to you, the readers of "The Braille Forum," who either have expertise in any of the issue areas listed above or may know someone who does. If you, or someone you know, would be willing to provide advocacy assistance to individuals who need help, we would like to hear from you.
If you are interested in joining this network of advocates, please send an e-mail to Eric Bridges at [email protected]. Let him know the issue areas you can help with and include as much specific information as possible about any advocacy work you have done that demonstrates your qualification to provide assistance in this subject area. We will contact you with any follow-up questions. It is our hope to find people throughout the country who can share their expertise with other ACB members, and members of the public who need advocacy assistance, and thereby enhance the reach of our organization. If you can help, please contact Eric Bridges at [email protected], or send your information to the Arlington office. Thank you in advance for your assistance.