Friday, July 8, 2011

Good News Friday!

A little over a month ago, I mentioned that some members of Imagine!’s executive team were traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with some of Colorado’s legislators and to discuss issues surrounding the funding and delivery of services for individuals with one or more developmental disabilities.

While there, the Imagine! team met with staffers for: Representatives Jared Polis, Diana DeGette, Mike Coffman, Ed Perlmutter, Cory Gardner, and Scott Tipton, and Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet.

Although I wasn’t entirely sure of what the result of these visits would be, I have already been pleasantly surprised by the positive outcomes we have seen due to our visits.

For example, on Monday, June 27, Representative Polis toured Imagine!’s Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder to see first hand how technology is offering new and efficient ways to deliver services to some of our most vulnerable citizens. Representative Polis asked some very insightful questions during the tour, and we appreciate his time and thoughtful engagement. In the picture to the right, SmartHome resident John (right) greets Representative Polis (center) and one of his staff members. You can see more pictures from the visit here.

Another positive result from our visit is demonstrated by the letters we were able to obtain in support of Imagine!’s application for a HUD Section 811 grant. If we are fortunate enough to receive this grant, it will help us build a new home in Broomfield that will serve people whose needs change as they age and who have one or more developmental disabilities. This is a rapidly growing population, and the need to have homes designed to meet their unique needs is becoming ever more pressing. We asked for, and received, letters of support from Representatives Gardner and Polis (who serve the two districts where Imagine!’s services are also concentrated) as well as letters from Senators Bennet and Udall. You can see a copy of Representative Gardner’s letter below.

This example of bipartisan support clearly demonstrates that the issues surrounding the needs of those with one or more developmental disabilities resonate at the highest levels, irrespective of party affiliation. It also demonstrates the importance of establishing relationships and lines of communication with our national leaders to ensure those issues aren’t forgotten or ignored.

Many thanks to all the staff members we met with while out in D.C., and to Colorado’s national legislators on both sides of the aisle who recognize the importance of looking out for all of Colorado’s citizens.

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