NorCal SCI's dynamic duo of Nick and Franklin traveled up to San Mateo to meet with the staff of the Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities and came away with a greater appreciation of what the center offers to individuals with disabilities.
We met with Donna Reed, Executive Director, and Alex Manieri, Program Manager, for the Center. It's part of NorCal SCI's goal to meet with every Independent Living Center (ILC) in Northern California not only to introduce ourselves and share what our goals and objectives are in serving the SCI community but to also have better and deeper understanding of each ILC's programs and services. This effort underscores our goal of supporting those organizations offering critical services to the disabled community.
All ILCs offer a set of similar range of programs and services and then each office, offers some core programs that may be unique to them. In discussing the issue of affordable and accessible housing, the Center offers a Housing Workshop on the second Tuesday from 1-2:30 p.m. in San Mateo and fourth Wednesday from 10-11:30 a.m. in San Bruno each month that provides information and resources within San Mateo County.
One of the unique programs that this Center offers is the Work Incentive Planning & Assistance (WIPA) Program that they manage across 12 counties in Northern California. WIPA helps individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits understand how they can return to work and keep their benefits or at least understand how returning to work would affect such benefits so they can make more informed decisions.
Another fascinating program this Center offers is the Housing Accessibility Modification (HAM) Program, one of three such programs in the State. Within San Mateo County, six cities have contracted with the Center with a total of about $110,000 available to those individuals that are income-eligible to apply for grants to do modifications to their homes such as stair lifts, ramps, grab bars, and more.
Donna and Alex also alerted of us of another grant available to ILCs and that's the Nursing Care Transition program whereby an individual getting discharged from a nursing facility can potentially become eligible for upwards of $4,500 in grants when they go back home and need financial assistance to modify their home. This grant is in addition to the HAM program that one can become eligible for but the pool of money is limited.
The Center is also very engaged with other ILCs to address the chronic shortage of qualified and affordable caregivers as well as offering an Assistive Technology program where the Center has a storage room full of medical equipment and accessories such as wheelchairs that get refurbished and provided to those in need.
We were very grateful to both Donna and Alex for their time and the introduction of their services to us as well as a tour of their office and meeting their staff members. Truly, if you live in San Mateo County, you should get to know the wide array of programs they offer and see how they can best meet your needs. They can be reached by phone at (650) 645-1780 and can direct you to the appropriate individual to assist you.