After a long career of service, Jim Meehan has announced his retirement.
His approaching retirement was recently celebrated with SDHP staff and guests at a luncheon. Jim was honored for his work and accomplishments as an RHC serving eight Northern Pennsylvania counties. Jim shared with the group that deciding to retire was a very difficult decision to make. He said his positive relationships with everyone at SDHP and his work as an RHC made it difficult to leave. Among his accomplishments, Jim said his work surrounding the Marcellus Shale housing crisis was something he is most proud of. Gail Hoffman, Executive Director of SDHP, said she always appreciated Jim’s professionalism and gestures of support.
Travel, spending more time with his grandchildren, and enjoying the outdoors were all things Jim looks forward to enjoying in his retirement. Jim will be missed by the staff at SDHP and those he worked with in his region.
photo 2: Jim and Ann Meehan
photo credit, Jeff Fields
PA Treasury Unveils New Website on PA ABLE Savings Account Program
Individuals with disabilities can learn about the upcoming program, determine eligibility and register to receive updates
HARRISBURG — The PA Treasury has launched a new Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Savings Program website (www.paable.gov) that provides quick and easy access to essential information on the upcoming program to give individuals with qualified disabilities a tax-free way to save for future disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The site also has a short quiz to help determine eligibility, a comprehensive Frequently Asked Question section and allows users to sign up to receive updates on the program, including when accounts open for enrollment.
Having a criminal record can make accessing decent rental housing a herculean task. Many properties have blanket bans that prevent acceptance to housing due to having any misdemeanor or felony history at any point in one’s lifetime. This is the case despite research that has shown that over time the chance that a person with a criminal record has of re-offending decreases to the point that it nearly approximates someone who has never committed an offense.
However, the federal government is starting to realize that such policies can have a disparate impact on protected classes under the Fair Housing Act. This is because the implementation of various laws has systemically targeted racial minority groups (called protected classes under the Fair Housing Act).
In 1994 SDHP began as a project to increase housing options for people with disabilities in Pennsylvania. Four years later we realized to move our mission forward we needed to become a 501c3 non-profit and grow our activities.
There have been improvements to the systems that support people with disabilities to live independently in the twenty years since SDHP began, but there is still much work to be done. Overwhelmingly, people with disabilities have their housing choices limited by the lack of accessible, affordable housing and insufficient access to the information needed to make informed choices. SDHP has always worked to ensure people with disabilities have the tools needed to make informed decisions about where and with who they want to live. “My Home, My Choice” was the name of an early SDHP publication. While no longer in print, the theme of “My Home, My Choice” is still very relevant today. At SDHP, we believe everyone has the right to have choice and control about where they live. That belief continues to drive SDHP’s efforts every day. Please explore our website to find out how.
The Housing Alliance of PA has launched a new housing web-resource.
HomeHUB© is a free, online, mobile, interactive information clearinghouse for homeownership professionals in Pennsylvania – lenders, realtors, governmental officials, builders, and housing counselors – to learn about and share resources in order to help rebuild homeownership in PA.
At SDHP, one of our goals is to educate housing and social service providers about Fair Housing, so that disability discrimination becomes a thing of the past. Jeff Fields, Region 10 RHC, recently provided a training for Nursing Home Transition Coordinators covering the Southeast region of the state (See picture). Nursing Home Transition (NHT) is an innovative state program that helps individuals move out of Nursing Homes and into community settings with support. The NHT Coordinators learned about the protected rights of people with disabilities in housing and how to advocate for those rights through reasonable accommodation and modification requests.
As a cross disability agency, SDHP wants to recognize and celebrate the importance of the ADA.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.