Author Archive: berkslancasterlebanonlink

Know a person age 60 and over or a person with a disability who wants to borrow an iPad, a computer & more? | Read this.

tech owl


TechOWL can assist with an iPad, computer, and more for older adults and people with disabilities in Pennsylvania. Please see the above flyer and this listing of TechOWL’s Assistive Technology Resource Centers and contact list.  If you know of anyone that can benefit from this technology, please refer them to the appropriate TechOwl Resource Center from the attached contact list.


The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council wants your help: “please take this survey”



Hello, Pennsylvanians! The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council (PADDC) is developing our Five Year Strategic Plan and we need your help. We want to know what you think are the most important issues facing people with disabilities in Pennsylvania. The survey may take you about 10-15 minutes to complete.

First, we ask you for some basic demographic information. Then we will ask for your feedback in specific areas. You can answer the survey anonymously or provide your name if you wish. Your input is very important to us. This is your chance to be a part of the DD Council’s planning for the next five years.

Please note that we are specifically seeking the input of individuals with a disability and their families. We ask that you complete the survey by October 21, 2020. Thank you for your help!

Click here to begin the survey:

“Advocacy Campaign Encourages People with Disabilities to Vote” – Abilities In Motion news release

AIM Billboard photo edited

Reading, PA — Abilities in Motion (AIM) is mobilizing its force of disability advocates to encourage voter registration and participation among people with disabilities ahead of the November general election.

Throughout the month of October, AIM will feature voting-focused social media content, billboards, and video PSAs aligned with the theme “Your Vote Your Voice on November 3rd.”

“We want to make sure all voters understand their voting rights, clarify any concerns they have about mailing their ballots, and help ensure that all polling places are physically accessible to all,” said Executive Director Stephanie Quigley.

People with disabilities make up about 25% of the American population, so their votes can have a significant impact on election outcomes. Voter participation remains a central advocacy focus in order to urge people with disabilities to vote on the issues that matter to them.

“Historically, people with disabilities have faced physical barriers when going to the polls to vote,” said Quigley. “Options such as mail-in ballots allow them to exercise their vote just like anyone else.”

Despite the potential for greater voting access through early and mail-in voting, the threat of voter suppression looms large over the 2020 general election.

“As disability advocates, we see the current climate of challenging the validity of mail-in ballots and slowing down mail processing as deliberate attempts to hinder voting by adding additional physical and psychological barriers,” said Quigley.

Examples of voter suppression include local polling sites being closed or moved, purging of registered voters from voting rolls if they have not voted in recent elections, gerrymandering of districts, microaggressions, and the controversial changes to mail processing and delivery through the United States Postal Service.

In light of potential threats to our communities due to social unrest, Abilities in Motion formed a Human Rights Team whose first call to action is preparing to respond to challenges our consumers and the community may face post-election.

The push to register voters with disabilities comes on the heels of a midterm election that demonstrated the power of the disability vote. A 2018 Rutgers election analysis found that if people with disabilities voted at the same rate as people without disabilities, 2.35 million more voters would be represented.

“In 2018 we saw a significant increase in the amount of people with disabilities who turned out to vote,” said Quigley. “If we use those midterm elections as an indicator, then we can expect an even greater disability vote in the 2020 general election.”

Visit to check voter registration status, apply for a mail-in ballot, and get important election reminders. October 19 is the deadline to register to vote in the general election.

Mail-in and absentee ballots must be requested by October 27 and returned to the county election office by 8 p.m. on November 3 or postmarked by November 3. Remember to place the completed ballot inside the secrecy envelope before placing it in the return envelope. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020.

October 09 – Hope, Healing & Recovery | A virtual Community Mental Health Summit Series

10-09 hope healing recovery

“CARES assistance programs for Pa. renters and homeowners are restarted: People have until Nov. 4 to submit their applications” – news release

HARRISBURG – Governor Tom Wolf today issued an emergency order suspending the statutory deadline provision in the COVID Relief-Mortgage and Rental Assistance Grant Program. The deadline under section 191-C(g)(3) of Act 24 of 2020 originally scheduled for Sept. 30 was stayed by the governor, effective today, for 30 days until Nov. 4, 2020, in order for the program to be able to continue accepting applications. The governor’s order is available at:

The CARES assistance programs for Pennsylvania renters and homeowners have been reopened and willbe accepting applications until Nov. 4. All eligibility requirements remain the same as they were when the programs ended on Sept. 30. Work will continue on applications submitted prior to Oct. 1, and new applications will be added to the pool of submissions undergoing review.

Renters and homeowners who were financially impacted by the economic slowdown related to thecoronavirus pandemic can immediately access applications for rent and mortgage relief via the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s website at They should look for the red CARES banner on the PHFA homepage. PHFA is administering both programs.

“We appreciate this extra time to help more Pennsylvanians receive rental and mortgage assistance and maintain their housing,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “Our agency prepared for this contingency, so we were able to immediately relaunch both programs once we received word about the governor’s emergency order.”

CARES Rent Relief Program

The eligibility requirements for renters remain the same as they were previously. For renters to be eligible for financial assistance under the CARES Rent Relief Program (RRP), they will need to document at least a
30% reduction in annual income since March 1 related to COVID-19, or they must have become unemployed after March 1. If unemployed, they must have filed for unemployment compensation with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Their household income cannot exceed the Area Median Income for their county of residence, adjusted for the number of people in their home.

Renters who qualify may receive assistance equal to 100% of their monthly rent up to $750 a month for a maximum of six months of assistance for the time period between March 1 and December 31, 2020.

Payments will be made to their landlord on their behalf. Renters or landlords can apply for rent relief for apartment tenants, but renters are responsible for submitting all the documents needed to ensure their

PHFA will continue to partner with the same organizations in all 67 counties that will process all rent relief applications. As before, people will submit their applications and supporting paperwork to these county organizations for review.

Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program

Homeowners who became unemployed after March 1 or who suffered at least a 30% reduction in annual income due to reduced work hours and wages related to COVID-19 may be eligible for financial assistance
to help with missed mortgage payments. To qualify for the Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program (PMAP), they must be an owner-occupant of their residence, the dwelling must consist of one or two separate units, and the homeowner’s annual household income must not exceed the Area Median Income for their county of residence, adjusted for the number of people in their home. Homeowners should note that their mortgage does not have to be 30 days delinquent for them to qualify for assistance.

The assistance available for homeowners can be up to $1,000 a month for a maximum period of six months. The time period eligible for assistance is for mortgage payments owed from March 2020 through December 2020. As it was handled previously, financial assistance payments through this program will be made directly to the mortgagee. Homeowners or their lenders can apply for mortgage relief, but homeowners are responsible for providing all the documents needed to determine their eligibility.

Helpful Resources

The agency’s call center is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist the public and help with questions about the programs. The toll-free number is 1-855-U-Are-Home (827-3466). Callers should listen for the prompt mentioning CARES assistance for renters and homeowners. The county organizations to which CARES applications are submitted have webpages offering useful information and can also be contacted with questions.

The Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed in March, provided $3.9 billion for Pennsylvania and is intended to help people hurt economically during the pandemic. In late May, the General Assembly directed $175 million of these CARES dollars to PHFA to provide assistance for struggling renters and homeowners. The portion for rent assistance is at least $150 million, and $25 million was set aside for mortgage assistance. The CARES funding for renters and homeowners must be completely distributed by Nov. 30, 2020.

SOURCE: news release, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency

“Elderly and Homeless: America’s Next Housing Crisis” – The New York Times

“Over the next decade, the number of elderly homeless Americans is projected to triple — and that was before Covid-19 hit. In Phoenix, the crisis has already arrived.”

elderly homelessnessCredit … Eduardo L. Rivera for The New York Times”


“Miles Oliver’s troubles began in April, when he had to choose between making his monthly car payment and paying his rent. He chose the car, based on a logical calculation: Without a car, he couldn’t drive to work, meaning no money for rent regardless. Oliver came to Arizona from Chicago more than 30 years ago as an Army recruit at Fort Huachuca, the storied military post wedged into shrublands in the southeastern part of the state, just a 15-mile hike from the Mexico border. He grew to love Arizona — the dry air, the seemingly endless sunshine, the sense of possibility for someone looking for a new start. He moved to Phoenix and built a life for himself there. Now it was all falling apart.

“His car, a navy blue 2007 Ford Fusion for which he paid $230 a month, was his lifeline. It took him to whatever day jobs he cobbled together each week, most of them in construction, and allowed him to bring in extra cash on weekends delivering pizza for Papa John’s. February was slow, and March was slower, so when his $830 April rent came due, Oliver was short. The apartment complex’s office had closed because of the pandemic, and he had no idea how to reach the manager to ask for extra time. What he received, by mail, was an ultimatum: Pay up or go to court.”

Read this article at The New York Times in its entirety, click here.

Register now for the virtual “Positive Change Conference”

compass mark positive change

Compass Mark is partnering with Millersville University to host the annual Positive Change Conference on October 28, 2020. This virtual conference is supported by the Lancaster County Drug & Alcohol Commission, and is open to social workers, educators, addiction and mental health counselors, probation officers, students, and community members. Continuing education credits are available for PCB, Social Work and Act 48.

This year’s conference theme, Collective Restoration, addresses major changes to the ways that helping professionals work with their clients and students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and other societal stressors. The opening keynote “Creating a Healthier Normal in the Time of COVID-19” will be delivered by Dr. Susan Tarasevich, Ed.D.

For workshop descriptions, registration, and more information please visit:

“Diabetes, disparities, and Covid-19: Three intertwined ‘epidemics’ raise risk of severe illness and death” – STAT

“It’s clear that if people with diabetes are infected with Covid-19, they have higher odds of worse outcomes: One study suggests that the mortality rate for people with diabetes may be as high as 30%. But it’s not yet figured out why that is — and finding an answer may be complicated. People with diabetes can have a mix of biological and socioeconomic factors that could be making them more vulnerable to Covid-19. Some, for example, might live in households with essential workers or in neighborhoods where it’s harder to be physically active while staying 6 feet away from others.

“And diabetes can damage the same organs that Covid-19 targets, making it ‘incredibly difficult to parse out the cause and effect of what’s going on in these patients,’ one expert says.”


by Elizabeth Cooney

“Some of Mary-Elizabeth Patti’s patients with diabetes are in a bind. Careful to practice social distancing, they tell her during telehealth visits they don’t feel safe exercising outdoors in their congested neighborhoods — though they know staying active and maintaining good blood sugar levels may be their best defense against severe Covid-19.

“’I’m always happy when patients say, yes, I’m not going out, I’m wearing a mask, I’m doing as much as I can. But it makes it harder for people to meet their fitness goal, which is such a critical element of overall health and metabolic health,’ said Patti, an adult endocrinologist at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. ‘It underscores the health inequity problem,’ she added: ‘Their exposures may be increased due to living in a densely populated neighborhood with multigenerational families [and] more essential workers who cannot work from home.’

“There are no easy answers to the coronavirus pandemic, but for people with diabetes, it’s dismayingly difficult to untangle the thicket of biological and socioeconomic factors that make them more likely to suffer severe illness and die should they catch the virus that causes Covid-19.”

Continue reading this article at STAT news, click here.

State Plan on Aging |

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) creates a State Plan on Aging every four years in order to provide a vision and direction for Pennsylvania’s network of aging services.

state aging plan

The just-released Four Year State Plan on Aging is now posted at the Department of Aging Website.

The 2020-2024 State Plan on Aging, effective on October 1, 2020, contains five state plan goals — designed to address all initiatives that the department has or will undertake to improve aging services in Pennsylvania. Those goals are:

    • Strengthen aging network’s capacity, promote innovation and best practices, and build efficiencies to respond to the growing and diversifying aging population.
    • Improve services for older adults and the ability to advocate for them by using evidence-informed planning, committing to data integrity and being accountable for results.
    • Establish and enhance efforts to support healthy living, active engagement and a sense of community for all older Pennsylvanians.
    • Emphasize a citizen-first culture that provides outreach, embraces diversity, and honors individual choice.
    • Advocate for the rights of older adults and ensure their safety and dignity by raising awareness of and responding effectively to incidences of abuse, injury, exploitation, violence and neglect. 

Do you know about Pennsylvania’s “COVID Alert PA App?”

covid alert PA

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released the COVID Alert PA exposure notification application. It is now live in the Google and Apple stores, and you can download it for free at:

Google play store:

Apple App Store:

COVID Alert PA is a free mobile app using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology and the Exposure Notification System developed by Apple and Google. The app offers:

• Interactive COVID-19 symptom checker

• Opt-in for alerts for potential exposures to the virus

• Updates on the latest public health data about COVID-19 in PA

• Advice for what to do if you have a potential exposure to COVID-19

COVID Alert PA protects both privacy and personal information. The app does not use GPS, location services, or any movement or geographical information. It will never collect, transmit, or store personal information. It is completely anonymous.

Existing traditional contact tracing processes rely on a positive individual to remember and name who they have been in contact with recently, and for how long. In many cases, positive COVID-19 individuals may not even know the people they were in close contact with, like if the contact happened on a bus or train, at a check-out line in a grocery store, a restaurant or some other public venue.

The app supplements traditional contact tracing processes by being able to identify strangers a positive app user came in contact with and help stop the rapid spread of COVID-19. If the app detects that you have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will receive a push notification on your phone. This is called an exposure alert and will be followed by what you should do to monitor your own health. You can learn more about the app and how it works here.

The Department of Human Services is committed to supporting this effort and helping protect the people we serve encouraging use of COVID Alert PA. This technology only works if others have downloaded the app, which is why we are asking all Pennsylvanians to unite against COVID and download the app. Will you add download and join us in the fight against COVID-19? 

The Department of Health also has an extensive catalog of marketing materials including posters, social media posts, press releases, and other customizable content if you are interested in helping us get the word out.

Thank you in advance for helping to get the word out to your colleagues, clients, family, friends, and neighbors. With your participation, I’m sure we’ll see strong download results. Thank you for your support!

Downloadable Resources

You, too, can join in the fight against COVID. We invite you to spread the word about the COVID Alert PA app with your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and employers. You can find downloadable posters about the app, as well as, stickers, postcards, and social media graphics on the Community Resources webpage.