Affordable Housing, Transportation are Vital, Student Tells Lawmakers
I invited one of the young self-advocates whom I met during Disability Day on the Hill to share his views about his first Day on the Hill. He graciously agreed to write today’s post.
By Jason Rogers
Before the Disability Day on the Hill, I picked out my outfit. I looked forward to going to this event. I feel like I walked in there prepared. People with disabilities need to meet their elected representatives, and I was excited to talk about affordable housing and public transportation for all people with disabilities. When I talk about representing people with disabilities, I am addressing the people with Down syndrome who need to find jobs so they can pay their rent, have enough money to buy groceries and pay for public transportation.
The reason we need public transportation is because all parents have jobs, and they don’t always have the time to take us anywhere we want to go. People with disabilities need to go to work at least five days a week, and they don’t always have transportation to get there. People with disabilities also need to go to church on Sundays.
About the Author
Jason Rogers is a student in the IDEAL program. The IDEAL program started in 2014 at Lipscomb University. IDEAL is a 2-year program, and students do internships in the community. An example of an internship where Jason is currently working is at the Tennessee Capitol building. Jason is working for Bill Haslam, who is the Governor of Tennessee. Jason looks over the governor’s schedule, scans papers, and shreds papers. Jason is very thankful for this internship, and for the IDEAL program setting him up with this internship. The IDEAL program is preparing Jason to live in affordable housing one day, teaching him life skills, and preparing him to learn the things he will need to live on his own. The IDEAL program has also surrounded Jason with new friends and many new opportunities.
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I talked to Rep. Marc Gravitt and Sen. Bo Watson about affordable housing and public transportation related to people with disabilities. They said to me that more people with disabilities came and talked to them about the same issue that I was talking to them about. Sen. Watson told me that they are having meetings about what it is going to cost them to make this happen in Chattanooga, TN, where I am from. But they did not give a specific time of when this would happen. Although this is something that people with disabilities care about, and it can help make some their dreams come true.
My favorite part of Disability Day on the Hill was talking to the two lawmakers, Sen. Watson and Rep. Gravitt. They were very nice to me and very appreciative with the things I had to say to them. Both Sen. Watson and Rep. Gravitt are from Chattanooga, where I would like to live again someday. The reason why I want to live in Chattanooga is because that is where I was born and raised 24 years ago. This is why we need to help solve this issue of dealing with people with affordable housing and public transportation because then they too can live in a beautiful city like Chattanooga someday.
Photo Caption: IDEAL students Jason Rogers and Caitlyn Ford meet Sen. Bo Watson