Monday, November 22, 2010

New Health Survey

Your input is needed. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are grossly underserved in our current healthcare system. The Arc and other local partners are working to create a new roadmap for better quality care.
At the same time, The University of Illinois at Chicago, in partnership with Special Olympics, is conducting a longitudinal study about health needs for people with I/DD. The study will gather knowledge regarding behavior and outcomes of persons with I/DD over a 5-year period. The results will provide more insight and knowledge to help healthcare providers and policy makers better serve this population.
Family members, caregivers, service workers, and adults with I/DD are invited to enroll. Participants will receive a $5 Subway gift card. To register and learn more,

Thank you for your valuable contribution! Together, we can change the healthcare system for the benefit of people with disabilities.

Tim Hornbecker

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Your Comments are Needed

The Arc of San Francisco, in collaboration with The Arc of the United States and UCP, supports the proposed Social Security Administration Mental Disorders regulations.
SSA has published the proposed regulations and the criteria used to help determine whether an individual with intellectual disability, mental illness, autism, Alzheimer's, traumatic injury or other cognitive or mental disorders is disabled for purposes of the SSI (Social Security Income) program or the Social Security disability programs.


Thank you for your support!

Tim Hornbecker

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Senator Yee Honored

What Senator Leland Yee says, he means! He emphatically told us that the State Budget should not be balanced on the backs of people with disabilities. He would not vote for a budget that added another 1.25% cut to the rates of services for people with developmental disabilities, as well as a cut of 3.6% in hours to people receiving In Home Support Services (IHSS).
Because of his unpopular vote that clashed with the majority of the State Senate, Senator Yee lost his Senate leadership position as assistant president pro tempore. For his bold support of people with developmental disabilities, The Arc of California is honoring him with the Profile in Courage Award at their public policy conference in March 2011.

Thank you, Senator Yee, for your integrity and your courage to go against your fellow politicians who told us the same, but voted for the cuts to the elderly and people with disabilities.


Tim Hornbecker, CEO

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Work, Sweat and Dignity

Close to fifty clients of The Arc converged on McKinley Square Park today in response to a call for help to clean, clear, weed and restore the small but beautiful park that sits at the top of Potrero Hill.
Billy was among the group and I was curious to see how he'd respond to this new experience. Billy is a young man with severe autism. His speech is limited and when I see him at The Arc's offices, he's often pacing around the lunchroom or sitting in a corner rocking back and forth. He sometimes hits himself repetitively.
But today was different.
At first, he stood apart from the group studying the other Arc clients who were raking dead branches on the park hillside.
It was clear he wanted to get involved, but didn't know how.
Eventually, one of the park gardeners took him aside and helped him put on some gloves. He then patiently showed Billy how to pick up a few fallen branches and bring them to the big pile of slash at the top of the hill. Billy listened quietly and then started gathering branches for the pile. Not just any branch would do--he was selective. But when he had an armful, up the hill he went, joining the line of other guys as the big slash pile grew and grew.
Over and over again, Billy made the trek up the hill with his small pile of carefully chosen branches. He stayed on task, going up and down in the hot sun without complaint. Occasionally, his friends would give him a shout of encouragement; their spirit of camaraderie and support was infectious.
A small smile crept over his face and stayed there--all morning.
I see Billy every day at The Arc. But I have never seen him as quiet, as focused or involved in anything as he was today.
It's great that the folks at McKinley Park welcomed The Arc volunteers. It's good for our clients, our community and the parks we love.
But what our clients' enthusiasm says to me more than anything is: "We want to work."
People with developmental disabilities don't want handouts or charity. Or pity. Like everyone else, they want a job that makes them feel useful, doing something that really matters and earning a decent wage in the process.
Sure, not everyone on the hillside today was working at the same level of productivity. It was hot; it was heavy lifting. But even those sidelined by limitations had responsibilities; handing out water bottles or watching the backpacks--everyone had a job to do.
Billy and other people with Down syndrome, autism or cerebral palsy can learn--that's clear. And then they need a place to apply their abilities.
When people are denied the opportunity to work, they are denied respect and acknowledgment of their worth. Conversely, people who work have the means to express their individuality and realize their potential as human beings.
Teaching Billy new tasks takes a little more time and effort, but isn't it worth it?
Let's think about how we can put more Arc clients to work. 4 hours a day or 4 hours a week, I can promise you that you'll find no more dedicated, loyal--and grateful--employees than clients from The Arc.
To help someone become a real adult in the real working world--it's giving back at a level that's truly transformational. To change someone's entire life through no more than a simple part-time job is an accomplishment we can all be proud of.
If quality of life in San Francisco really means something to us, we've got to put more people with developmental disabilities where they belong: in our workforce.
Meredith Manning
Community Relations

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bill to Restore Services Passes

At the request of The Arc and Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro, the state has agreed to send notices to all regional centers advising them that people with developmental disabilites still have the right to participate in planning their own services.
This is a huge step for people whose services were reduced, eliminated or changed in any way without Individual Program Plan (IPP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) team meetings, and for anyone who faces that disturbing possibility in the future.
Thank you sincerely to the hundreds of you who responded to The Arc's action alerts this year and sent emails supporting our bill to assure that our community keeps the right to IPP/IFSP meetings. It was Assembly Bill 2702, sponsored by The Arc and introduced for us by Assembly Member Chesbro.
Greg deGiere, The Arc of California

Monday, July 26, 2010

No Limits!

I was really inspired today at the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at City Hall.
Two decades ago, barriers such as high sidewalks, inaccessible busses, unreadable signage and ramp-less buildings barred millions from leading fuller, more productive lives.
Then came the lawsuits.
As Mayor Newsom said at today's celebration, it took legal action to ensure that all San Franciscan's have equal access to transportation, public services, employment and telecommunications.
The Arc of San Francisco, along with a coalition of other activists, worked hard to make sure we keep Golden Gate Park accessible.
Today, I stood with Supervisor Bevan Dufty who acknowledged the many battles won, but also the work ahead as LGBTQ people with disabilities challenge everyone to look at our assumptions about inclusion and equal access.
Viewing the Disability Pride quilt with all of our clients attending this event, I was proud to be a part of a movement that has transformed the lives of so many.
Let's see what the next 20 years will bring! No limits!
Tim Hornbecker
Photo: John at City Hall with the Disability Pride quilt.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tony's Hookups and Karaoke

One of our more successful microenterprises is packing the house these days: Tony's Hookups.

Tony hosted a social and karaoke party last week--within minutes of opening doors to the event, there was standing room only for all the clients who came to sing, dance and hang out with friends.

Tony put a business plan together with help from his instructor months ago, and all his hard work is paying off. He charges $2/month to be a member of the social club; parties are another $2.oo and include refreshments and snacks.

Impresario Tony runs the show from his 'chair, surrounded by his assistants, "Tony's Angels."

Stay tuned for more news from our growing client microenterprises!


Tim Hornbecker, CEO

Monday, June 7, 2010

Big Healthy Salad

Hi. I'm Helen and I want to share my recipe for a big healthy salad. You can make it for you and your friends like I did.

2 avocados
2 head of lettuce
1 cabbage
2 carrots
2 cucumbers
2 cloves garlic
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 lb. chicken breasts
2 teaspoons hot and spicy bake mix
2 eggs

Boil eggs and slice afterwards. Wash and drain lettuce. Shred. Slice avocados, cucumbers, garlic and carrots. Wash garlic and chicken breasts then cut into small pieces. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil and wait for it to get hot. Add garlic, chicken, hot and spicy bake mix and salt. Heat rest of olive oil and wait for it to get hot. Then turn off heat and wait for cool down. Combine with rice vingar, beat well or mix well. Serve and smile!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Budget Justice Now!

The Arc of San Francisco sent nine advocates to the Disability Capitol Action Day in Sacramento recently. Along with celebrating 20 years of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), over 2,000 people from around the state asked for "No More Cuts" to people with disabilities. The Governor's budget proposes a cut in services for people with developmental disabilities of 25 million dollars (this is actually a 50 million cut in services due to the loss of Federal matching funds) on top of the 500 million dollar cut last year.
The Arc of California was just one of the 11 organizations sponsoring the event. Our own Senator Leland Yee emphatically told the crowd, "We do not balance the budget on the backs of people with disabilities. I will not vote for the cuts. These services are a lifeline. All of you have dignity--don't ever let any one of us tell you different. No more cuts!"
I urge you all to contact Senator Mark Leno who, contrary to his staunch stand on no cuts to our services, just voted in favor of the 1.25% (25 million dollar) cuts in the Senate Budget Conference Commitee. Please call him now: (415) 557-1300 or (916) 651-4003.
Thank you for speaking up!
Tim Hornbecker, CEO, The Arc of San Francisco
Photo: State Capitol, Sacramento-(back) Jackie Kenley, Michelle Giacopazzi, Rob Repke, Tim Hornbecker, Kiyoko Shiosaki; (front) Laura Kenley, Spencer De Bella, Tatyana Boyko, Joe Flanagan.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Budget Battle Update

Last week, I was in Washington D.C. with other advocates at The Arc's National Disability Policy Conference where we reviewed the President's 2011 budget request to Congress. The budget level-funds most disability related programs, provides small increases for some priorities and cuts or consolidates others. Members of The Arc, UCP and other leading advocacy organizations have responded with our own recommendations affecting housing, health care and education for our constituency.
The attached FACT SHEET provides our summary. Work on the FY 2011 Budget Resolution begins in mid-April, so we'll keep you posted.

On the state front, the Schwarzenegger administration asked the Legislature on 4/26 to cut another 1.25% from the amount the state pays to community service providers, and the same percentage from the regional centers' operating budgets. That's on top of the 3% cuts last year.

Together with the loss of adult education and other funds, that would cut some service providers by 10%.

Please take this opportunity to let legislators know cuts to services for people with developmental disabilities is not the fix that's needed. Our Legislator, Senator Mark Leno, needs to hear from clients, service providers and family members regarding the impact further cuts to services will have on people with developmental disabilities, from the continued erosion of basic services and supports to the possible closure of some service resources. Contact Senator Leno today.

Keep advocating!
CEO, The Arc of San Francisco

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

CEO Advocacy Update

Over 500 advocates attended The Arc's National Disability Policy Conference last week, including our own self-advocate Mark Marshall, parents Pat Napoliello and Jackie Kenley, and myself. We heard presentations and national budget recommendations on Health Care Reform, Employment, Housing, Education and Legislation in need of reauthorization. We then visited our legislators on Capitol Hill, urging their support. We were able to personally meet with Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer, and Congresswoman Jackie Speier (who worked with our clients earlier in her career). We were even able to get into the offices of Senator Pelosi and speak with two of her top aides on Education and Health Care.
Our Governor has requested more funding and an extension of the enhanced federal share of MediCaid spending (FMAP) for California, or he will eliminate our In Home Support Services, CalWorks, and Healthy Families. These services severely impact our clients, including current cuts in MediCal. We asked for their support. We advocated for the passage of the Direct Support Professional Training Act, which would offer increased training and salaries to Direct Support Professionals. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) needs adequate funding for programs like the former No Child Left Behind. Over 40,000 uncertified teachers are currently teaching in Special Education throughout the country.
We gave examples of the serious housing needs in the Bay Area, and informed legislators of the new 53,000 Section 8 Housing Vouchers for which our state should be applying! Mark Marshall shared how important his job coach is to him, and that both the Vocational Rehab Act and Work Initiative Act (WIA) should be reauthorized. Finally, the CLASS Act (Community Living Asistance Services and Supports) is currently part of the new Health Care Reform. It creates a new national long-term care insurance program for people to pay into; so that they can remain independent, employed, and engaged in their community if they develop a functional impairment, thus not having to declare bankruptcy, which is the current situation. We asked our representatives not to vote this out of the new Health Care Reform Act.
I will sharing more on the issues that we emphasized, and I hope that you too will take this opportunity to contact our legislators.

Keep advocating!
Tim Hornbecker, CEO

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dish It Up!

This week we have an entry from Helen Yu who loves to cook and share good food with her friends.

Seredipity's Recipes

Hi everyone, I'm Helen. This is my first recipe for The Arc's BlogTalk with many more to come!
When I first tasted this recipe from my instructor Howard, I asked him, "Can you give this recipe to me please?" After I tried it, I felt like this is my favorite recipe and I really love it. It is also very easy to make and healthy to eat. When it was my birthday, I made this recipe and at the same time Howard left me a message saying 'Happy Birthday' and it was serendipity.

Howard's Recipe
7 1/2 lb. salmon, skin removed (or 4 pre-packaged salmon patties)
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dill
1 egg lightly beaten
1 teaspoon reduced fat mayonaisse
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 onion
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil cooking spray

Mix all ingredients except the cooking spray in a medium size bowl. Form into 4 equal-size patties. Coat a medium nonstick pan with the cooking spray, heat over medium high heat. Cook the salmon patties on both sides until golden brown. Serve. Serendipity!

Dish It Up!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March: Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

More Alike Than Different
That's the title of a book by Lee Bussard, still available on
Lee was an ardent advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. But he was also a motivational speaker and comedian with cerebral palsy who spoke at conventions and to Fortune 500 companies worldwide.
His goal was to take the "D" out of D-isabled. Labels like "disabled" or "handicapped" emphasize what people with disabilities (note the people first language; not 'disabled people') cannot do, instead of what they can do.
Lee would say that all of us are more alike than different, with the same hopes, dreams and desires for self-determination, dignity and quality of life.
In March, Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, we invite you to join The Arc in celebrating our similarities rather than our differences.
The Vision of The Arc of San Francisco
A community where disability is a distinction without a difference.
Tim Hornbecker, CEO

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

End the "R-Word" Now

The Arc is just one of thousands of organizations joining the "Spread the Word to End the Word" campaign. Tim Shriver and the Special Olympics have collaborated with The Arc to meet with the White House staff in seeking a public apology from Rahm Emanuel's use of the words "f----- retarded" in a closed door rant against some liberal activists' idea to run ads against conservative Democrats.
Then we have Rush Limbaugh almost 'rushing' to Emanuel's defense, and objecting to Sarah Palin's condemnation of the use of the "r-word" by saying on the air, "Our politically correct society is acting like some giant insult's taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards." (See story.)
Last year, The Arc sponsored a Rally for Respect in reaction to the use of the r-word in the movie Tropical Thunder. I marched outside the Lowe's Theatre with Ray, one of our clients. He told a news reporter and me how hurtful it was to be called "Retard Ray" in grammar and high school. There are thousands like Ray, and enough is enough. Can we finally put an end to the use of such demeaning, damaging terms, equal to using the n-word?
Please do your part. So far, 55,000 people have pledged to "change the conversation" by logging on to, the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. We're hoping to obtain at 100,000 plus signatures. Help us get there and make your pledge today!

Tim Hornbecker, CEO

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Create a Job, Get a Tax Break

While Mayor Newsom's State of the City address cited San Francisco's 10% unemployment rate, the city's most vulnerable citizens have taken the toughest hits from our faltering economy.
The unemployment rate for people with developmental disabilities is over 70%--a dire statistic with huge consequences for the clients we serve already living at poverty levels.
For most of our job-seeking clients, even getting an interview has been next to impossible. Business have tightened their belts and fear hiring new employees in such an uncertain economy.

Payroll tax waiver can make a difference
That's why the Mayor's proposal to waive payroll taxes on all new hires for two years makes sense. This waiver would incentivize employers to hire new staff, provide significant savings, and inspire businesses to invest in the human resources needed to expand now. The exemption is also a huge incentive for businesses to relocate to San Francisco.
The Mayor has proposed three different tax proposals to address the budget shortfall: the payroll tax waiver, a $2,000 tax credit for small businesses mandated to provide health coverage, and tax incentives for biotech companies moving to our City.
I think our Supervisors should give serious consideration to all three proposals--especially the tax waiver for new hires.
The true force behind a healthy economy is its workers. People with developmental disabilities who work are more self-sufficient, they're less of a drain on social services, and they funnel more money into the economy through their spending and by paying taxes.
Let your Supervisor know that you want the San Francisco Board to give serious consideration to Mayor Newsom's tax proposals.
Tim Hornbecker, CEO

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Call to Prevent Harm to Children

We need your support in calling your representative today to support a bill protecting children with developmental disabilities. HR 4247, S 2860 is the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act that will establish minimum safety standards in schools.
A disproportionate number of children with autism, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities are victims of these harmful methods used in classrooms.
Call your representative today to ensure their support for this important piece of legislation.
Thank you for your support,
Tim Hornbecker, CEO The Arc of San Francisco

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Job Services get a Critical Lift from Wells Fargo

I am pleased to announce that The Arc of San Francisco has been awarded a total of $30,000 from the Wells Fargo Foundation. The funds will be put toward our Employment Services and couldn't come at a better time.
With unemployment at over 10% nationwide, people with developmental disabilities are struggling with a 70% unemployment rate. Our clients have suffered job losses and cutbacks that severely impact their ability to live independently.
Most of our clients are living on the edge of poverty, and a part-time job provides the critical supplemental funds needed to rent a room in a shared house or apartment.
Losing that income is the tipping point that forces a person to either move back in to a restrictive group home, or become homeless.
Our job developers are working doubly hard to find employment for over 150 Arc clients seeking work. We are grateful to the Wells Fargo Foundation for providing the vital resources we need to keep our clients solvent.
--Tim Hornbecker, CEO
(Photo: Joseph Mah and Ron Atwal from the Wells Fargo Foundation with The Arc's Timothy Hornbecker.)