2024 Barriers & Issue Areas

The issue areas we focus on for Advocacy Day for Access & Independence, 2024, are selected by people with disabilities, using the SC Statewide Independent Living Needs Assessment.

We need access to inclusive Community Living

Inclusive Community Living is key to our independence! Employment, Transportation, Housing, and ADA and Federal Compliance with the Law all affect our ability to be fully included in the community.

Our lawmakers have a role to play in how we access our communities. The state can improve our ability to live fully in the community by:

  • Removing barriers to Employment: Supporting Employment First
  • Removing barriers to Transportation: Developing a statewide transportation plan to support our rural communities
  • Removing barriers to Housing: Finding solutions to create more affordable, accessible housing
  • Following the law: Establishing a state office over Community Living Integration to provide ADA Coordinators and and Olmstead Plan 

We can imagine a future where these barriers are unlocked, and our lawmakers hold the keys!

2024 Issue Area Booklet For Lawmakers

  • The issue areas in the booklet linked above come directly from people with disabilities living in South Carolina.
    • A recent South Carolina Statewide Independent Living Council survey found that community living was the top issue area for people with disabilities in our state.
    • People with disabilities want employment, transportation, housing, and compliance with the law to be taken as the top priorities that impact our ability to live fully integrated in the community.
  • These priorities present barriers.
  • Our lawmakers hold the keys to unlocking each of these barriers. Read the full booklet to learn about how our lawmakers can unlock these barriers.

What do we do with the booklet?

  • We present the booklet to our lawmakers before Advocacy Day.
    • The booklets each have a small locked padlock attached to them.
    • After Advocacy Day, we provide lawmakers with postcards written by people with disabilities.
    • These postcards have keys attached to them. Those keys unlock the padlocks on their booklets
    • Lawmakers can then use the words written by people with disabilities on the postcards to symbolically unlock the barriers presented in the booklets
    • This powerful symbol shows our lawmakers how people with disabilities self advocacy is a powerful tool. As we say, “nothing about us, without us!”

Abbreviated Issue Areas for Advocacy Day for Access & Independence 2024:

Download the Abbreviated Booklet

Barriers to Employment

The Issue: People with disabilities are 2 times more likely to lack a job than nondisabled people. South Carolina is #9 in the nation for the highest unemployment for people with disabilities. 

Without access to jobs, we lack the chance to experience community living.
The state has created laws to make efforts and now must put in the work

Lawmakers can improve employment and create jobs for people with disabilities by:

  • Reminding the Governor to pick members of the Employment First Oversight Commission.
    • By signing the Employment First Initiative Act in 2022, the Governor promised to build this commission. It’s time he kept his promise.
  • Passing bill S. 862 to create more jobs for people with disabilities!
    • Right now, to work in childcare in our state, you must have a High School Diploma or GED.
    • The bill, s.862, would make it so that people with disabilities who have the SC High School Employability Credential or HS Certificate of Attendance could be hired to work in childcare.

Barriers to Transportation

“I have been blind for 20 years. [there is a] lack of public transportation… I have not tried to find a job because I know that I do not have any dependable transportation to get me to and from a job, and I do not want to be the type of employee that is not dependable. Lack of transportation is one [of our] biggest issues… [we can’t] access to jobs that pay well and being able to afford to live in the towns where the good jobs are.”

  • A Disabled South Carolinian

The Issue: Transportation is key to independence. Transportation allows us to be in the community. People with disabilities are twice as likely to not have good transportation.

Without transportation, it is hard to:

  • Find and keep jobs for independence
  • Take care of our health needs early
  • Build friendships, relationships, and family connections
  • Take part in community activities and the local economy

There are only 27 public transit authorities. They don’t serve all parts of South Carolina.

Lawmakers can unlock the barriers to transportation by:

  • Creating a statewide transportation plan that helps bring public transportation to rural places.

Barriers to Housing

“We cannot afford housing and are forced into a substandard housing situation. I was forced to move into a camper because I cannot afford rent. I was told by the county it’s illegal to live in a camper. I cannot get help from the county because I get too much SSDI… and my camper is considered a resource. What am I supposed to do – sell my home and live in the street?”

  • A Disabled South Carolinian

The Issue: Not having enough affordable, accessible housing leaves people with disabilities at risk of losing our independence, being forced into facilities, or becoming homeless.

Housing is key to independence. People with disabilities want to live in the community alongside non-disabled peers in housing that is affordable and built with disabilities in mind.

Accessible means something is usable by everyone.

Lawmakers can unlock the barriers to housing by:

  • Making it easier for builders to create affordable housing that uses Universal Design. Universal Design is a way to build that’s useable by everyone. Universal Design is accessible. Lawmakers can make it easier for builders by creating tax credits.
  • Moving funding to home and community based services (HCBS). HCBS allow people with disabilities to live in the community instead of in institutions like nursing homes or facilities.

Barriers to Our Rights

“No accountability by leaders that oversee the programs. The agencies that administer the programs literally do nothing to help so the program participants can have successful outcomes. Concerns are not addressed.”

  • A Disabled South Carolinian

The Issue: State agencies are not following the law. State agencies don’t have good ADA Coordinators or an Olmstead Plan.

South Carolina continues to ignore national laws. People with disabilities in SC are at risk because the state doesn’t completely follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA has been law for 34 years. Our state didn’t follow a Supreme Court ruling about our rights to live in the community. The ruling, called the Olmstead Decision, was made 25 years ago.

Lawmakers can protect our rights by:

  • Supporting the bill S.915. The bill would make a disability-focused department.
    • S.915, called the “Public Health/Agency Restructuring Bill,” would:
      • Make community living goals
      • Make sure state agencies are following the law
      • Create a committee that includes people with disabilities to offer advice to the department
      • Pick a state ADA Coordinator
    • S.915 would make sure our state is following the ADA and 1999 Olmstead Decision.

10th Anniversary Advocacy Day for Access & Independence: Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Click here to register!