National Disability Institute (NDI), the leading nonprofit organization advancing a better economic future for individuals with disabilities and their families, today unveiled recommendations to realize the unmet promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) “to advance economic self-sufficiency” at a special event at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, D.C. featuring disability advocates and recording artists, 4WheelCity.
The recommendations seek to accomplish two overarching goals by 2025: (1) to reduce the poverty rate for working-age adults with disabilities by 50 percent; and (2) increase access to and the use of traditional financial services and products by 50 percent and move from unbanked to banked status.
4WheelCity debuted their new song, “Mainstream,” which is about the challenges of poverty and disability and the struggle to achieve the American Dream, to a standing-room only crowd at the event. “Mainstream” will be used by NDI to begin, in January 2016, a year-long conversation to engage diverse cultural communities, financial institutions, community nonprofits and government to examine more deeply the challenges of disability, economic instability and limited pathways to financial inclusion.
“To reduce the incidence of poverty, achieve financial inclusion and advance economic self-sufficiency for the 22 million working-age adults with disabilities, will require focus, commitment and collective action,” Michael Morris, NDI Executive Director, said. “There is no single agency or organization in the public or private sector that can marshal the resources needed to achieve these important objectives alone. However, starting today, and with the collaboration of 4WheelCity, NDI will work to build a post-ADA@25 collective action agenda, a new frontier where no working-age adults with disabilities are left behind.”
In the quarter century since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law, our nation has reached new levels of access and inclusion as physical and communication barriers have been reduced and eliminated. Yet, little economic progress has been made for the 22 million working-age adults with disabilities. In fact, nearly one in three persons with disabilities lives in poverty in the United States – nearly double the rate for those without disabilities. Further, recent FDIC data indicates that 46.5 percent of households headed by an individual with a disability are unbanked or underbanked.
This past summer, NDI convened a first of its kind Economic Advancement and Financial Inclusion Summit to focus attention on the enduring challenges of poverty that continue to overwhelm the daily experience of working-age adults with disabilities. With input culled during roundtable discussions at the July 22nd Summit, and with continued feedback from leaders in government and the financial and disability communities, NDI created the ADA@25 Priority Recommendations to Advance Economic Self-Sufficiency.
A panel discussion at today’s event included four thought leaders representing a diverse cross-section of the disability community: Anil Lewis, Executive Director, Jernigan Institute at the National Federation of the Blind; Allison Wohl, Executive Director, Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst (APSE); Shazia Siddiqi, Executive Director, Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN); and Oscar Jimenez-Solomon, Research Scientist, New York State Psychiatric Institute Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence.
“Mainstream” can be purchased for download on iTunes.
To learn more about the ADA@25 Priority Recommendations to Advance Economic Self-Sufficiency, please visit the NDI website.