Help links to information on various topics related to voting in Minnesota.
Archives for October 2020
Please know that it is no longer an option to mail in your ballot and expect that it will be delivered on time to count based on the ruling by the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday. Ballots received after 8PM on Election Day will be segregated and a determination of whether those ballots will be counted may be made later.
In case you missed the Rev UP MN Voting Rights and Accessibility for People with Disabilities Forum on October 27, below is the video from this event. Thanks to Justin Page of the Minnesota Disability Law Center for sharing his expertise on the laws related to voting affecting the disability community!
This is the Thanks to the ADA Campaign introductory video created by the Great Lakes ADA Center.
Our mission at Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) is removing barriers, promoting choices. The Centers for Independent Living came about as a result of the struggle and pain of the civil rights era and the newly established civil rights laws from the 1960’s through the 1980’s. We are deeply anguished and troubled by the death of George Floyd by law enforcement in Minneapolis Minnesota.
Our hearts are filled with prayers for Mr. Floyd and his family. We acknowledge the current and historical injustices experienced by the African American community, by all diverse communities, by people with disabilities and all whose rights have been denied. We join our hope and our work, with the hope and work of all who seek that as a society, we become a more just, equitable and civil society.
Throughout my career I have worked on advancing the quality of life of marginalized people, social justice, equity, educational advancement and economic development for diverse communities, recruitment of diverse and women candidates for Minnesota’s Judicial Selection Commission, independent living for people with disabilities and ultimately the ability of people to care for one another.
We live in a time in which affirm these truths to be self-evident, that we all are made in the image and likeness of a Supreme Being and we are therefore endowed with the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We remain committed to fully realize our mission of MCIL and that our work, our hope and our concerns may also contribute to the greater good in advancing freedom, safety and fairness for all as a civil society, so that ultimately we contribute to advancing the ability of people to care for one another.
In this moment we affirm the need for healing, of care for all and of hope in realizing a better future for all.
Jesse Bethke Gomez, MMA
Metropolitan Center for Independent Living
530 Robert Street North, St. Paul, MN 55101
Urgent action needed as people with disabilities are left out of State’s COVID-19 plans
March 18, 2020 (ST. PAUL, Minn.) The emergency package approved by the legislature earlier this week addressed hospitals, clinics and nursing facilities, but did nothing to address the needs of people with disabilities and the frail elderly who live at home. Many cannot get out of bed by themselves and need help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom, eating and taking medications. Some rely on ventilators or other medical equipment, which in-home providers help them use and maintain.
Even if they do not get the virus, people with disabilities continue to need in-home services to get up every day, stay healthy and avoid costly complications that can cause them to need hospital or nursing facility care. Such care is much more expensive than in-home care and is practically unavailable due to COVID-19. For many people with disabilities, in-home services are necessary for their very survival!
The in-home care system was already facing severe workforce shortages due to low wages and low reimbursement of providers. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed further strain on critically needed in- home care services.
Disruptions that are already happening:
- Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) who are willing to work extra hours to fill staffing gaps cannot do so because of overtime limits and lack of funding for overtime.
- PCAs who have passed a background check with one provider agency, cannot go to work for another without passing a second, time-consuming background check.
- Lack of funding for supplies, such as gloves, gowns and masks for PCAs who are concerned about being unwitting carriers of the virus.
- Apartment managers fearful of COVID-19 denying access to PCAs needed by people with disabilities who live in their buildings.
- Scaling back of accessible transportation services people need in order to buy groceries, pick up medications and to get to procedures like dialysis and chemotherapy.
The Legislature must reconvene this week to include PCA and other services for people with disabilities, and the frail elderly living at home, in emergency response plans. Legislation is needed to provide regulatory flexibility and funding for overtime pay, extra staffing, protective equipment, and to ensure that unforeseen issues can be addressed as they arise.
Quick action by the legislature is critical to ensuring that people with disabilities are not abandoned as the COVID-19 crisis deepens with each passing day. Many lives depend on swift action to close this gap in emergency response laws.
Metropolitan Center for Independent Living COVID-19 Preparedness
March 19 2020
Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) continues to operate all programs and services. We assist a vulnerable population and have an important role to play in mitigating emotional isolation and expect to continue to be of service to our clients and community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are also deeply committed to the safety and security of our Employees, and Direct Support Professionals and we are therefore making a necessary change to a remote work environment with essential personnel working out of the MCIL Offices until further notice.
Though our St Paul Offices will be closed to the public effective Wednesday March 18th, our main telephone number remains as a point of contact 651-646-8342. Disability Hub MN can be reached at 1-866-333-2466.
We encourage you to contact your healthcare provider should you have an urgent need, or 911. COVID-19 concerns please note the following:
Minnesota Department of Health, Community mitigation (schools, child care, business) questions: 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-35047 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Minnesota Department of Health, Health-related questions: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657- 3903 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Consistent with the Minnesota Department of Health Strategies to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota and CDC guidelines, MCIL encourages proper hygiene, personally and for your surrounding spaces, through increased hand washing, not touching your face, and frequent disinfecting of your spaces (phones, keyboards, door handles, etc.) and following other CDC and MN Dept. of Health recommendations as the best way to prevent the spread of illness such as social distancing.
MCIL takes these necessary social distance measures out of an abundance of caution to reduce the spread of disease, so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system, to protect all, our elderly, people with disabilities, and to protect high-risk individuals.
Jesse Bethke Gomez, MMA Executive Director
Metropolitan Center for Independent Living
Metropolitan Center for Independent Living
Receives Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant
Funds will enable organization to shed light, bring solutions to severe PCA workforce shortage statewide
SAINT PAUL, Minn., (November 26, 2019) — Daring to “think big” to address factors behind a critical statewide shortage of Personal Care Assistants (PCA), the Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) applied for and received, a significant Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation. The $208,000 award enables MCIL to deeply explore issues confronting the direct care workforce shortage and to build upon Minnesota’s work thus far in advancing solutions to solve the PCA worker shortage crisis.
“MCIL is committed to removing barriers and promoting choices to help people with disabilities live their most independent lives,” said MCIL Executive Director Bethke Gomez, MMA. “We are at the forefront of engagement with the PCA workforce. Throughout Minnesota, those of us concerned about this issue witness daily the impact of the shortage on consumers and are mindful of the broader long-term implications on an aging statewide population. Our efforts will examine the importance of a third tier for Minnesota’s PCAs, a PCA Certification built on a credit-based curriculum that leads to a livable wage and a way forward that not only addresses the PCA worker shortage crisis, but also creates a pathway to prosperity for people who are PCAs. With the population of Minnesotans age 65 or above doubling to 1,262,000 by 2030, we must take this opportunity to work together toward a statewide solution that will address the increasing need and provide more Minnesotans a living wage in providing that vital support.” Bethke Gomez continued, “Answers will be found through engaging constituents, identifying needed changes in public policy, advocacy, education, partnerships, innovation and building upon work already underway. The Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant encourages testing new solutions in addressing community challenges, devising thoughtful, realistic plans and making a significant, sustainable difference. It encourages participants to ‘Think bigger. Think differently.’ We embrace the challenge and are immensely grateful for the Bush Foundation’s trust in our work.”
In March 2018, the Cross-Agency Direct Care and Support Workforce Working Group hosted jointly by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development submitted to the Olmstead Subcabinet a report that laid out a strategic vision for tackling the crisis in the direct care support workforce. A member of the Working Group, and a technical writer for the 2018 Report, Bethke Gomez provided insight into crucial issues, considerations behind the direct care workforce shortage, and the impact on individuals with disabilities.
With support from the Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant, MCIL will provide leadership in addressing two key recommendations from the report: 1) assess credit-based education and the value of additional credentialing as part of the program that would enrich basic skills for direct care and support professionals and lead to improved pay or career advancement, 2) provide tiered credential options and career ladders for direct care and support professionals.
MCIL Board Chair, Jeff Bangsberg, who also served as a member of the Working Group, shared: “The Working Group’s report to the Olmstead Subcabinet brought a much-needed spotlight to the direct care crisis across our state. From rural communities to urban settings, the need is great, and the barriers to success are high. With the generous grant from the Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant, as well as MCIL’s leadership and collaboration with our partners and policymakers, we’re determined to bring credible solutions.” Bangsberg continued, “Addressing wage disparity, along with education, enticement to join the direct care workforce, and retention efforts are paramount. We look forward to working on these difficult matters over the next two years and creating a more promising future for members of the disability community and those who provide direct care services.”
“Now more than ever there is a sense of urgency to address Minnesota’s PCA crisis and MCIL’s efforts to specifically solve this problem with its community and partners appears creative and forward-thinking,” said Awale Osman, Bush Foundation Community Innovation Associate.
About MCIL: The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) is a Twin Cities metro-based, nonprofit 501.c.3 consumer-directed organization founded in 1981. MCIL is dedicated to the full promotion of the Independent Living (IL) philosophy by supporting individuals with disabilities in their personal efforts to pursue self-directed lives. Being “consumer-directed” means that the majority of decision-making employees and members of our board of directors are individuals with disabilities. MCIL is committed to promoting this IL philosophy through innovative projects and direct services that meet the needs of MCIL consumers. MCIL is also one of eight Centers for Independent Living in Minnesota and is a member agency of the Minnesota Association of Centers for Independent Living. Visit mcil—mn.org
Metropolitan Center for Independent Living Awarded Grant
from the F. R. Bigelow Foundation for Philanthropic Feasibility Study
Funds will provide support for study to identify opportunities to expand MCIL facilities and service
SAINT PAUL, Minn., (Aug. 20, 2019) —The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) was recently awarded a $25,000 grant from the F. R. Bigelow Foundation. This generous grant will provide financial resources to support an extensive study to create a path to address MCIL’s outgrown facilities, affirmatively position the organization for growth, and advance MCIL’s mission of “Removing barriers, promoting choices.” The three-part study will be done in cooperation with consultants Crowley White and Associates. Outcomes will include a comprehensive facilities plan, an assessment of the funding potential from the philanthropic community, and provide MCIL a capital campaign strategy and comprehensive plan to move forward. Work will be done in close collaboration with MCIL Executive Director Jesse Bethke Gomez, MMA, and the agency’s board of directors, key stakeholders, staff and constituents.
As one of more than 405 Centers for Independent Living in the United States, MCIL offers an extensive range of programs and services for members of the disability community, their families, and partner organizations. Programs include housing referral services, transition plans for young adults with disabilities, consumer-directed Personal Attendant Services, ramp and home modifications, and relocation from nursing home institutional settings. With more than 70 staff members and 200 Personal Care Assistants (PCAs), MCIL serves thousands of participants, consumers and clients annually across the Twin Cities metro area. Thirty-seven years after its founding, the agency has outgrown its current facility and is poised for considerable transformation toward expanding services and an addressing increased need.
“This comprehensive feasibility study is an outgrowth of a 2017 rigorous strategic planning effort,” said MCIL’s Executive Director Jesse Bethke Gomez, MMA. “Our board of directors, agency employees, external stakeholders, and notably people served by MCIL, all had input. That work elevated the necessity to build greater capacity and prepared a way forward to address our currently inadequate facilities. We are inspired by the F. R. Bigelow Foundation’s long-standing commitment to enhancing the quality of life, bringing pursuit of equity for residents in greater Saint Paul. We are honored to have their support. The funds they have provided allow us to take our planning to the next level and meet the needs of our clients, employees and the community for the foreseeable future.”
“We are pleased to support this study, and assist MCIL in positioning itself for long-term, sustainable growth,” said Sharon DeMark, program officer for the F.R. Bigelow Foundation. “MCIL’s work is critical to strengthening our community. We look forward to the outcome of this important study and the exciting possibilities it will bring.”
About MCIL: The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living (MCIL) is a Twin Cities metro-based, nonprofit
501.c.3 consumer-directed organization founded in 1981. MCIL is dedicated to the full promotion of the Independent Living (IL) philosophy by supporting individuals with disabilities in their personal efforts to pursue self-directed lives. Being “consumer-directed” means that the majority of decision-making employees and members of our board of directors are individuals with disabilities. MCIL is committed to promoting this IL philosophy through innovative projects and direct services that meet the needs of MCIL consumers. MCIL is also one of eight Centers for Independent Living in Minnesota and is a member agency of the Minnesota Association of Centers for Independent Living. Visit mcil—mn.org