Ramp Up Idaho expands partner network

The Ramp Up Idaho project started as a conversation among community and economic development professionals last year who noted that barriers to access = barriers to commerce. Many rural communities lack a unified approach to accessibility; although many resources are available to fund improvements, few businesses or local governments know where to start.

Ramp Up Idaho aims to change this through outreach, building partnerships and connecting businesses, chambers and communities with available resources and accurate information. By getting various stakeholders to talk about planned downtown projects early enough to leverage investments and existing capacity to remove barriers in more cost effective ways.

“A simple conversation can lead to cost-saving partnerships and tools business owners never knew existed…not to mention expanding access for everyone.”

In just the past few weeks, more partners have expressed interest in joining the discussion. Many see this as a way to expand the discussion about access to new audiences with different perspectives. Whenever people start thinking about access to essential services, it’s easier to make the leap to a broader conversation about more inclusive communities in general.

For more information, visit www.rampupidaho.org or ‘like’ the project at www.facebook.com/RampUpIdaho

The role of housing in implementing Olmstead, and why it matters to everyone

The 1999 Olmstead decision clarified the court’s intent to afford persons with disabilities the opportunity to live independently in and as part of the larger community, which in turn means access to opportunities available to all persons.

To quote from the ruling, the goal is to seek “the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities” or “a setting that enables individuals with disabilities to interact with non-disabled persons to the fullest extent possible.”

Housing is key to community integration, as where we live determines our access to a host of essential community services. HUD’s message on this is also clear:”Individuals with disabilities, like individuals without disabilities, should have choice and self determination in housing and in the health care and related support services they receive. For this reason, HUD is committed to offering individuals with disabilities housing options that enable them to make meaningful choices about housing, health care, and long-term services and supports so they can participate fully in community life.”

There are many efforts underway in Idaho to achieve the aims of Olmstead, and will take communication and coordination among all partners to create a diverse mix of housing choices throughout the state’s many regions. Housing alone doesn’t make a community accessible, but it’s a really good place to start.

Read more here: Olmstead and housing

2011 Campaign still reaching audiences

More than two years out, this positive Fair Housing message is still featured on Treasure Valley bus benches and posters statewide. Many thanks to the City of Boise Fair Housing Task Force for creating this campaign, and to the many Fair Housing Forum partners who continue to offer direct and in-kind support.

Bus benches continue to support fair housing..and sitters!
Treasure Valley Fair Housing Bus Poster

In early 2011, the City of Boise’s Fair Housing Task Force spearheaded the Good Neighbors + Fair Housing = Strong Communities campaign. The campaign extended to include the cities of Nampa and Meridian, and was supported by a host of local sponsors, led by Idaho Housing and Finance Association and including Idaho Department of Commerce. Additional support was provided by:

US Bank • Idacorp Financial • Northwest Real Estate Capital Corporation • Mountain West Bank • ValleyRide • Title One • Living Independence Network Corporation • Wells Fargo Bank • North by Northwest Productions • Peak Broadcasting • Boise State Radio • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Street Law Clinics at Boise Public Library: Second Mondays

 Have a legal question, but can’t afford a lawyer?

 The Idaho Trial Lawyers Association is econd onday of each month, beginning  February 11, 2013. The clinic will run from 4:00pm to 6:00pm and be held at the Boise Public Library (Downtown Branch).

For more information, see the poster (below), call 208.345.1890 with questions or visit www.itla.org

Street Law Poster