We were able to participate in two events in January that were important in giving our consumers and advocates the opportunity to voice our needs and concerns.  The Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities Reception at the Capitol on January 26th was designed to be an occasion to speak with our Legislators about the services they have received from the Center and how their lives have been impacted by these services.  We would like to express a very big Thank You to Representative Keven Stratton of the 43rd District.  He visited our table at the reception and spent time and a great deal of interest in speaking with consumers.  Our consumers were able to tell him about the services they have received Ability 1st Utah and how their lives have been improved.  We were grateful for his presence and involvement.

We also attended the Utah State Independent Living Council’s advocacy training session on January 12th.  It was very instructive to be taught about legislative concerns and considerations.  There was time for consumers to ask questions, tell about their experiences and express their ideas and concerns.

We have a building block of $475,000 that will be divided among the six independent living centers in our state.  The distribution will be determined by a funding formula.  We are requesting from our Legislators that this building block be designated as ongoing as opposed to a one time disbursement.  The reason we are making this request is that the needs these funds address are ongoing.  The funds are used to support and expand life skills training, education, peer support, nursing home and youth transition services.  There is also a one time building block for Assistive Technology in the amount of $700,000 which is for the six centers.  It will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis.

We are very grateful for our consumers and our advocates and for the active role they play in the legislative process to gain in the achievement of greater independence and integration as abilities are strengthened and lives are enriched.