Reclaimed! Finally got the four blogs back into my google accounts and separated from a flickr blog account. Phew!
Katrina: Opportunity for Universal Design
There is a time when there is no more poignant reminder that people who have disabilities are far more "handicapped" than one would normally think of. In the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, there were people who died because they could not evacuate the cities they were in! Not only were the standard problems of poverty, medical needs, assistive technology required and accommodations thrown to extreme importance, literally just getting out of their homes was an issue. Thinking of all those trapped in nursing homes, hospitals, hospice care, group home care, even jails - what a horrifying dilema so many people faced. The following article was prepared by Scott Rains, a well-known advocate of "universal design" principles and an expert in the needs of the disabled community for travel accessibility. Now that there is to be re-building, there has never been a better opportunity for a focus on universal design to improve our world. Not just in the Gulf states, but a focus of attention that can spark progress literally worldwide.
Hope from an Unexpected Quarter in Post-Katrina Reconstruction:
Thought Leadership from the Disability CommunitySanta Cruz, CA September 23, 2005
Contact: Scott Rains firstname.lastname@example.org
Leadership out of the chaos caused by Hurricane Katrina is emerging from one community hard hit by the disaster – the disability community. Responses range from the issue of safety to the practicalities of economic redevelopment.
On the topic of safety Marcie Roth, CEO of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association notes,
"It is nothing short of a crime that people like wheelchair user Benilda Caixeta were trapped in their homes, unable to escape," said. "We must build every new home with basic features that let people get in and out."
Contact: 301-717-7447, email@example.com
Lodging and accessibility are key to economic recovery as well
"In 2003 tourism to New Orleans alone brought 8.5 million people, and $4.5 billion into the local economy," explains Dr. Scott Rains, travel researcher and publisher of the Rolling Rains Report. "What Katrina has done, amid great tragedy, is faced us with a stark choice. In rebuilding will we literally exclude some people by design?"
An increasing number of experts familiar with the concept of Universal Design want that answer to be a resounding "No!"
Universal Design is a set of seven principles outlining an approach to the design of all products and environments. The outcome is to make them as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation. Increasingly common in the home construction and remodeling industry, Universal Design has spawned a new trend in the hotel industry among innovators such as the Dunas Canteras Hotel in the Canary Islands, the Devil’s Playground in Tasmania, Eria Resort in Crete, and Estate Concordia in the US Virgin Islands. People with disabilities have become a sought after market.
Solid business reasons exist for this approach argues Eric Lipp one of the sponsors of the Universal Access in Travel Symposium & Exposition scheduled for Baltimore, MD December 12-14, 2005. Lipp’s 2002 study on the travel behavior of the then 46 million Americans with disabilities revealed that they spent $13.6 billion on travel annually. With the Baby Boomer generation aging and the general population living longer these numbers are due to rise.
But the adoption of Universal Design is not a foregone conclusion in reconstruction following Katrina. Universal Design in new homes and home remodel projects is common in many parts of the US and the experts point to the human costs of failure to apply it to hurricane reconstruction.
"Current housing stock is woefully deficient in meeting the needs of people with mobility impairments," says architect Dr. Edward Steinfeld, Director of the IDEA Center at the State University of New York at Buffalo (716-829-3485, x329, firstname.lastname@example.org).
"Inaccessible houses keep us from entering or leaving on our own," says Eleanor Smith of Concrete Change. "It's illogical to scramble to retrofit existing homes for access and then build new homes with new barriers after the hurricane." (404-378-7455.)
There is an approach to economic development and disaster reconstruction that addresses these issues in areas where tourism is important," continues Rains. "It is known as ‘Inclusive Destination Development."
The World Bank promotes "Inclusive Development" as economic and regional development that allows for full social participation of people with disabilities. "Destination Development" is the phrase used by the tourism industry to describe the strategic application of planning, development, and marketing resources to enhance a location as a desired destination for travelers.
"Inclusive Destination Development" means "allowing for the full social participation of people, including those with disabilities" Inclusive Destination Development is "the systematic and strategic application of resources to render a location a destination of choice for persons with disabilities.
Numerous organizations ranging from the Paralyzed Veterans of America, The IDEA Center at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Concrete Change, the National Council on Disability, ADAPT, and the National Spinal Cord Injury Association have publicly urged officials to integrate Universal Design into post-Katrina planning and reconstruction even as they continue to apply their own resources to the task of recovery.
Contact: Scott Rains
The Rolling Rains Report
1748 Dalton Place San Jose, CA 95132
Background and Further Resources
Katrina as a Tipping Point for Universal Design Acceptance in the US
Will FEMA-funded Post-Katrina Homes be Universally Designed? Visitable?
Carnival Cruise Lines & Hurricane Katrina Relief
More on Katrina
Welcome to California, Katrina Evacuees!
Will We Learn From Our Mistakes?
Post-Katrina the Paralyzed Veterans of America Call for Inclusive Reconstruction
National Council on Disability Advises Bush:
Mandate Universal Design
Universal Access in Travel Symposium & Exposition
Experts on Disaster Recovery Focus on Long Term Recovery
Anne Finger Reflects on Hurricane Katrina
What is Sustainable in Destination Development?
Inclusive Tourism: Some Definitions
Getting the Design Right - Inclusive Destination Development
The Rolling Rains Report
Controversy on flickr.com: Katrina Relief
Controversy on flickr.com:
Katrina Relief Unacceptably Slow
My current photo is a political statement through art about the insanity of this devastation and the deficit and morally reprehensible federal government response to these horrors and tragedies. The image is now drawing considerable attention and angry comments in the photo stream by some flickr.com members. However, more members seem to appreciate the artwork and my messages. In fact, the image is now #1 for Monday, Labor Day, in the flickr.com "Interestingness" feature of the Explore pages. This means that of the 1.2 million members uploading photos, this image has now generated the most "interest" today.
It seems that there is quite a bit of blame now extending towards victims and defense by reports that these victims perhaps don't deserve aid for the reports of gunfire and looting. I base this one what I read, see and hear in mainstream US media. Wild rumors feed the blame to judge the homeless and evacuees. This defense of federal government response that is far short of meeting critical needs is despicable. This blame of the victims must stop. This rejection of non-jingoistic rhetoric must stop! Stop the insanity never was more apropos than now.
I myself may have been one of those who was NOT ABLE TO EVACUATE for my income is low and I have a disabled adult son. To have the income for a full tank of gas at the ready and a reliable car, let alone the money to head off into uncertainty, well that may have not been my fate at the first warnings of the scale of this disaster.
Many many middle-class and wealthy white folks have been evacuated and are homeless, having lost everything. However, many of these people have contacts and resources from without and will likely survive much better. Overall, the criticism of the relief response is a damning comment on the politics of poverty.
Never before in our American history has there been such a clear example of the degradation of the less fortunate in our own society.
Katrina Relief Auction on flickr.com
Please consider looking at this image in my photo stream, which has links directly into the Katrina Relief Auction group pool. There are over 300 artworks donated so far and accepting bids. All money raised will be directly contributed to the American Red Cross. We are accepting bids to September 15, 2005. This effort is solely on the part of the members of flickr and not sponsored by flickr.
If you are a blogger or know a blogger, please let them know what we are doing online to contribute what we can. You are welcome to look at one of my blogs for a suggestion of what to post online. You're also welcome to post the image I put up in a blog for the purpose of calling attention to this relief effort.
If you support what we are doing, please pass along the word to bloggers, one of our best shots at calling attention to our quest.
Remember the Prescription Drug Bush Policy?
Here are more details to supplement what my earlier post discussed. Everyone will make money, bu the consumers will suffer. It's NOT ONLY "seniors" that are going to have a problem, all those who are already receiving Medicaid Part A and B are automatically being SWITCHED or ASSIGNED to a prescription drug provider. When I called to set up an appointment to review best plans for my son, I was told, "Oh, he is automatically assigned". NO, I do not want that, I want to review and select. It seems that the government program staff are not attuned to what changes are coming and why people will want to review their options! The following is a quoted information piece, forwarded to me today by email from a member of ABIL, A Bridge to Independent Living.
Jumping the gun on Medicare
Health plan-retailer teams brief seniors on new drug benefit
By Bruce Japsen
Tribune staff reporter
Published August 1, 2005
The nation's largest health plans are teaming with chains like Walgreens and Wal-Mart to launch in-store educational campaigns about the Medicare
drug benefit as early as this week--10 weeks earlier than government rules allow them to start marketing their plans.
Critics contend new in-store campaigns targeting seniors are largely promotional, using an "educational" moniker to skirt the rules,
allowing major insurers to get a leg up on Medicare's new $720 billion drug benefit.
Drugstore chains and major health plans like Humana Inc. and UnitedHealth Group deny they are violating Medicare's rules on
marketing drug benefits to seniors because they are not revealing product- or plan-specific benefits, which cannot be discussed or marketed with
seniors until October.
In fact, they say they were encouraged by the Bush administration to brand materials and provide education amid confusion and lack of
awareness about the drug benefit being added in January 2006 to Medicare, the federal health insurance program for 41 million elderly
and disabled in the United States.
The drug benefit, estimated to cost $720 billion over 10 years, is expected to provide seniors on average $1,300 in annual drug benefits
at a projected monthly premium of $37.
Medicare Part D = Oh Oh, Here it Comes!
After attending a recent conference all day this week about the changes that are coming from the introduction of "Part D" in Medicare, I am left with the impression that these are NOT good for the consumers yet all good for the medical profession, large corporations, and pharmacies. There is an introduction of "privatization" turning into practice for this large government program. If such is going on now (having been enacted to law in 2003) and the required changes go into effect for ALL who receive it on January 1, 2006, there is a sad harbinger of future events to come. Learning as much as you can about this, and spreading the word is essential to advocacy that must grow to influence some of the destructive elements of this politically-inspired "reform".
Two examples of this system change will demonstrate just a bit of this reform that does not bode well for the benefit of the consumer. The law was written to accommodate big business and powerful lobbies. See below:
1. ALL Medicare recipients will be required to enroll in one of many "plans" for their prescription coverage. If existing consumers do not make an informed choice, they may be rolled over into any random company's plan. This appears to be similar to the phone companies whose "long distance carriers" may be switched without you knowing. For those who are in the categories that will be able to make a choice, it is IMPERATIVE that the choice to enroll be in the "Initial" enrollment. After the Initial enrollments, there will come more and more penalties month by month that are heavy, for those that choose a plan later on. Essentially one must enroll in a plan without having enough knowledge about what each plan covers!
2. An example given to explain how the new reimbursement system works for the businesses and the insurance industry:
- private insurance may now "insure you" for prescriptions only, not for anything else in health and medical coverage. This benefits those who formerly could not get insurance privately at all.
- private insurers and pharmacies are now paid very substantially to provide your prescription. The government will reimburse them at a huge rate, described as "they give you a pill, they get $100 each time you fill your prescription". Private insurers will now "court" Medicare recipients. AND, did you know that the co-pay, co-insurance and actual formularies each company offers may change at will, without notice to you? The cost may change WEEKLY even, written right into the new reform law! Thus one could sign up for what seems like the best company for you (as determined by what they offer for covered brands of medications) and then they can decide to withdraw your particular medication from their coverage!
There are so many elements of the effects on both Medicaid and Medicare recipients that this will take some time to sort out. Next post will detail some more hidden information that the public will want to know to make informed choices. Stay tuned.
flickr and furl great helps to advocacy
Membership in the photo sharing community flickr
and then in furl
will give disability advocates wonderful ways to connect to articles, forums, blogs, news articles, and images that will be helpful and fascinating. I cannot recommend these hosts enough!