Lisa Rose
It wasn't until a relative of Lisa Rose was diagnosed with a mental illness that Rose discovered her passion for advocating and helping people with disabilities.

Recovery Act Impact: Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann

  • Total funding: $112K

  • Hired community education outreach assistant

  • Expanded the All People Accessible Business project

  • Updated the Center's human resource systems, website, resource directory and housing independence tools

At the time Rose was working in sales but as she became more involved in helping people with disabilities navigate the system she realized it was time to make a career change. Two years ago Rose returned to school to get a Master's Degree in non profit management.

She began looking for a job and saw that the Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann was looking for a community education outreach assistant. "It was a perfect fit," said Rose.

It was and Rose received the job thanks to a stimulus grant of $112K that came to the Center through the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, which received $1.8 million in stimulus grants for its 11 Independent Living Centers across the state. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission also received $6 million in stimulus funds for vocational

Lisa Rose and colleagues
rehabilitation services and $243,000 for independent living services. The Center also used the stimulus funds to update its Human Resource systems, its Website, its resources and its Housing Independence tools.

"The philosophy of the Independent Living Centers really resonated with me," said Rose. "It took me some time to understand the importance of my family member having a voice, instead of everyone telling him what to do. I liked the idea of people having their own voice and skills to navigate and be a part of the community rather than being set aside."

As part of Rose's position, she helps guide people with disabilities to skills training, advocacy and counseling. She is also spearheading the All People Accessible Business (APAB) project, whose goal is to help make local businesses more accessible to people with disabilities. The Independent Living Center of the North Shore and Cape Ann had been working on the project for a number of years but when Rose came on

Lisa Rose and Jeffrey Simon
board, it essentially was comprised of a survey for restaurants and research. "They hadn't been able to find the time to dedicate to the project until I was hired," aid Rose.

The stimulus funds enabled the Center to finalize the project, expand it to include other businesses and help make businesses accessible not only for services but also for employment.

The APAB survey was also enhanced to include specific measurements for things like ramps, heights and widths of tables and doorway widths. "The project is to provide assistance to businesses who may or may not be aware of what they can do to be more accessible and also is a way of promoting those business who already are accessible," said Rose.

The project involves volunteers who conduct the accessibility surveys and recommend ways to improve that accessibility. Businesses that achieve at least 90 percent accessibility based on the APAB's standards receive a decal to put in their front window.

"Stimulus helped us expand our visibility within the community," said Rose. "It helped us accelerate the APAB project and allowed us to do a lot within the agency and keep us going."