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DSLC Services

DSLC offers a wide array of Services & Advocacy Programs for the betterment of your independence in the community. Learn more about all of our services and programs:

Advocacy

There are two approaches to advocacy; Individual and Systems. At DSLC, we use both methods of advocacy to empower and inform our consumers and the disability community. Our organization believes that individuals with disabilities should have equal access to a fulfilling independent life, and we use our advocacy programs to achieve this end.

Individual Advocacy

Often referred to as Personal Advocacy, we perform this core service in almost every aspect of our work. Given the right support system, individuals are able to overcome barriers and hardships which they encounter. Our staff are skilled in supporting consumers by aiding in communication, researching rules and regulations, and if needed, providing legal services. We believe in the power collaboration, and our advocacy is based to the specific needs of the consumer.

Systems Advocacy

Too often, people with disabilities are at a disadvantage in regards to policy and resource allocation decisions. We acknowledge that there are existing barriers within the community and we support the right of our consumers to organize for change. Also known as Systems Change, which is the way that the disability community makes decisions about policies, programs and the allocations of its resources. Our current Systems Advocacy is focused on housing, transportation, voting, and emergency and evacuation planning.

Assistive Technology (AT)

Assistive Technology is any adaptive aid used by a person with a disability to function as independently as possible both in the workplace and at home.

The DSLC's Assistive Technology Program is dedicated to expanding the accessibility of tools, resources and technology that help increase independence, improve personal productivity and enhance the quality of life for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. Assistive Technology (AT) is characterized as any device, piece of equipment or product system that allows an individual to increase learning, mobility or communication to improve one's life while achieving, maintaining, or enhancing function. At DSLC, we provide information on where people can obtain assistive technology, daily living assistive devices, wheelchair accessible vehicles, hearing aids, eyeglasses, Braille printers, wheelchairs, assistive computer software, service animals, and other resources to help improve their lives.

Some examples of AT include:

  • Modified vehicles
  • Eyeglasses
  • Alternative communication
  • Wheelchairs
  • Service animals
  • Hearing aids
  • Text to speech computer software
  • Computer enhancement software
  • Braille printers

DSLC provides:

  • Information and referral for AT sources and funding
  • Consultation
  • Funding options
  • Outreach

For more information and resources on Assistive Technology, please visit the Ability Tools website (https://abilitytools.org).

Benefits Counseling/Health Systems

DSLC can counsel and assist with disability benefit options that are available through local, state and federal programs. As a Center for Independent Living, we focus on Self-Advocacy and Self-Empowerment for consumers who identify as disabled, as well as their own advocates, family and friends. In support of the Independent Living Philosophy, DSLC cannot provide case management, but we assist with following issues:

  • Initial Application for Social Security Disability (SSDI)
  • Social Security Disability continuing disability review/medical re-determination
  • SSI/SSDI Overpayments or reduction of monthly repayment amounts
  • Return to work counseling for SSI/SSDI recipients
  • Applications for State Security Disability Insurance (SDI)
  • Appeals for State Security Disability Insurance (SDI)
  • Issues with Medi-Cal
  • Issues with IHSS
  • Issues with Medicare
  • Issues with unemployment insurance

Disability Peer Support Group

Disability Services & Legal Center re-opens its Disability Peer Support Group. It's for children, adults, seniors with disabilities and their families, regardless of what disability they have. This will be a welcoming and safe place to share, encourage each other and provide available resources for the support.

DSLC Disability Peer Support Group is held on Zoom every Friday for one hour. The last Friday of the month we meet for a socially distanced hike somewhere in the county.

Please note, it's a scent-free environment. We look forward to seeing you!

Disaster/Emergency Preparedness

Disability Disaster Access & Resource (DDAR)

Through PG&E funding, the Disability Disaster Access and Resource Center (DDARC) program ensures that individuals with assistive and medical technology needs have access to electricity during a planned power outage. The electrical device given is a Yeti backup generator, or hotel and transportation vouchers when necessary.

The Yeti system is a backup battery capable of powering multiple devices at once for up to 72 hours, depending on the devices. For more information and specs on the yeti please visit the following link.

To enroll, complete the online application and all answers will be forwarded to our DDARC coordinator. Applicants will be chosen based on their medical and power needs and go through an internal DDAR board who will update them on their application progress.

Applicants must be on PG&E's Medical Baseline Program and either have an emergency plan or be willing to work with staff on crafting one. For more information and to begin the application process visit the following link to the statewide application.

Emergency Preparedness (LISTOS CA)

Californians are all too familiar with the harsh reality of wildfire and other natural disasters, and now the effects of a global pandemic. Too often we see the people and communities hit hardest by these disasters or public health emergencies are those least equipped to survive them.

Listos helps communities to become better prepared for disasters and better understand how to stay safe during COVID-19 by collaborating with community allies to provide simple tips and resources in languages and cultures that represent the great diversity of California. Through this process, DSLC will help build a community that will make individuals and families more resilient.

Emergencies can strike without warning. Don't wait to until the next disaster to talk to your friends, family & neighbors about your emergency plans. Unsure of how to begin? Give us a call! We'll help you develop a personalized preparedness strategy that considers your specific needs. Let's get ready and stay prepared for emergency situations together!

For more information on disaster preparedness click here.

Home Access Modifications (HAM)

If you are an individual with a disability, or one that is becoming disabled, the DSLC Home Access Modification Program will install ramps, lifts, grab-bars, and other devices to provide access to your home at no cost to you.

HAM IS ONLY AVAILABLE TO SONOMA COUNTY RESIDENTS AT THIS TIME.

If you qualify, the HAM Program will conduct the necessary assessments and make needed modifications to your home.

"It's great to know you can get out and go – no stairs to climb"
– Edith Bell, DSLC consumer

The DSLC's Housing Access Modification (HAM) Program is locally funded, helps seniors, veterans and people with disabilities gain, maintain or extend access to their homes that would otherwise be lost due to the hardship associated with a disability.

This program provides accessible modifications to consumers' homes, such as installing wheelchair elevator lifts, building interior and exterior ramps, installing grab bars, roll-in showers, and other adaptable bathroom equipment, widening doorways, installing adaptable hardware on sinks and doors, and installing flashing light warning systems for the hearing impaired.

All work is done to code and is completed by licensed contractors contracted by DSLC. This program received an award in 2000 from the National Organization on Disability for improving access in Sonoma County for people with disabilities.

Who is eligible?

  • The HAM Program is available to persons with disabilities who reside in Sonoma County. At times, there are waiting lists.

What does it cost?

  • The HAM Program is FREE to Sonoma County residents with disabilities that meet income and other qualifications. The Program is funded by grants from Sonoma County, the City of Petaluma, the City of Santa Rosa, and the City of Napa.

Are there income restrictions?

  • One-person household = $65,550 per year
  • Two-person household = $76,050 per year

What kind of modifications are available?

  • Building interior and exterior ramps and porch lifts.
  • Installing grab bars and other adaptable bathroom equipment such as hand- held shower-heads, roll-in showers, raised toilet seats, tub benches, etc.
  • Widening doorways.
  • Installing appliance control adapters and lever activated handles on faucets and doors.
  • Adjusting the height of light switches, outlets, cupboards, counters, etc.
  • Installing flashing light warning systems for the doorbell, telephone, smoke detector, etc.
  • Providing tactile labeling and color coding on appliances and walking surfaces.

Housing

The DSLC's Housing Program helps disabled homeless, at-risk individuals and their families secure permanent, accessible and affordable housing. 96% of the individuals and families housed over the past 10 years have remained so, with no return to the streets, area shelters or transitional housing programs.

The Housing Search Assistance Program's focus is to provide housing search information, training, and referral to people with disabilities seeking accessible and affordable housing.

The current housing market has made it increasingly difficult for people with disabilities to secure adequate housing.

The Santa Rosa branch office maintains current listings of property management agencies, and rental complexes locally.

Our housing coordinator also has access to crisis resources for qualified individuals facing rental deposits, late rent and other critical family needs. These resources include the HCA and Season of Sharing funds, among others.

At DSLC, we examine many aspects of housing, such as:

  • Advocating for your needs.
  • Roommates and shared housing.
  • Selling yourself to landlords.
  • Working with bad credit history or prior evictions.
  • Subsidized housing.
  • Community resources for rental move-in cost assistance.
  • Tips for keeping your rental and stretching your dollars.

DSLC's housing coordinator is actively involved in advocacy efforts directed at systems change on local, state and national levels. Our team works closely with the Sonoma County Housing Authority, City of Santa Rosa, Continuum of Care, Task Force on the Homeless and other municipalities, housing agencies and groups working towards the development of affordable, accessible housing.

Transitions & Diversions

Institutional Diversion

Are you or someone you know exiting a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, mental health hospital or other institutional setting. Do you need to support to return to community living? DSLC provides comprehensive person-centered planning, short-term service coordination, and on occasion provide needed equipment or supplies.

If you would like your place back the community DSLC can support you in many ways.

Transitions may be used to assist with a consumer's transition from a more restricted setting, such as an emergency shelter, temporary housing, or hospitals, into the community setting of their choice.

Examples of more restrictive settings include:

  • Licensed skilled nursing facility
  • Intermediate care facility for the developmentally disabled
  • State Hospital for the Mentally Ill
  • Developmental Center
  • Rehabilitation hospital
  • California Veterans Home
  • Group home
  • Acute Care Hospital

Youth Transition may be used to transition youth from parent's home, foster care into a community setting of their own choice.

Diversion services are when an individual is at-risk of going into an institutional setting and needs assistance with activities of daily living.

Examples of diversion situations:

  • Has been hospitalized
  • Has been displaced by a disaster
  • Is in an emergency shelter
  • Is in temporary housing
  • Is living in a homeless shelter
  • Is homeless
  • Is at imminent risk of entering an institution

Sonoma County Aging & Disability Resource Hub (ADRH)

In partnership with Sonoma County's Area Agency on Aging Division and other Community Based Organizations, the goal of the Aging & Disability Resource Hub is that older adults and people with disabilities of any age in Sonoma County will have access to the knowledge and option to assist them to live longer, live safely and live well in the environment of their choice.

ADRH Services:

  • Enhanced Information and Referral Services
  • Options Counseling
  • Short-Term Service Coordination
  • Transition Services

For more information on the Sonoma County ADRH, please visit www.socoadrh.org or call (707) 565-INFO (4636) from 8am-5pm.