Minutes — August 2017 Project Development Committee Meeting

2017 Council and Committee Meetings


Committee Members Present

  • Gladys Cortez, Chair
  • Kimberly Blackmon
  • Mateo Delgado
  • Rachel Jew, DSHS
  • Jennifer Kaut, TWC
  • Ron Roberts, TEA
  • Rick Tisch

Committee Members Absent

  • Scott McAvoy
  • Dana Perry
  • David Taylor

Guest Present

  • Stephanie Martinez
  • Brooke Hohfeld

Staff Present

  • Martha Cantu
  • Joanna Cordry
  • Danny Fikac
  • Fernando Rodriguez
  • Joshua Ryf

Call To Order

The Project Development Committee met on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at the Hilton Austin Airport Hotel, 9515 Hotel Drive, Austin, Texas 78719. Chair Gladys Cortez called the meeting to order at 2:00 PM. A quorum was present.

  1. Introductions
    Committee members, staff and guests were introduced.

  2. Public Comments
    No public comments were offered.

  3. Consideration of Minutes
    The Committee reviewed minutes of the May 4, 2017, Project Development Committee meeting. No additions or corrections were noted.

    MOTION: To approve the minutes of the May 4, 2017, Project Development Committee.
    MADE BY: Rick Tisch
    SECOND: Mateo Delgado
    The motion passed unanimously

  4. Chair’s Remarks
    Chair Cortez reported member absences of Scott McAvoy, Dana Perry, and David Taylor. Cortez discussed continuing education for mental health professionals related to trauma based counseling for people with disabilities who encounter sexual and other types of abuse.

  5. Member Updates
    Committee members discussed personal activities during the previous quarter. Rick Tish informed the committee that the Department of Homeland Security — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a disabilities and medical conditions screening at the security checkpoint for travelers and their family. This procedure is for individuals with disabilities and medical conditions and is designed to facilitate comprehensive and respectful screening. To access these services, an individual must be registered with TSA and needs to inform a TSA supervisor of their desire to use this screening while traveling in American airports. Planning Specialist Danny Fikac reported that he and Executive Director Beth Stalvey attended a presentation by a delegation of self-advocates from Japan and Taiwan. The delegates reported on their meetings with advocates and legislative officials in Washington D.C. regarding system development, delivery, changes and barriers faced by individuals in the United States and other nations. Additionally, TCDD will host a meeting with Disability Rights Texas and a member of the delegation to discuss other independent living issues.

  6. Disproportionalities and Disparities Discussion
    Planning Director Joanna Cordry facilitated the discussion on Disproportionalities and Disparities, which focused on addressing issues in the Lower Rio Grande Valley area. She noted this area has a 13.9% rate of disconnected youth and 7.2% rate of unemployment. The median income is $34,000. The Committee discussed barriers for employment and brainstormed ideas to reach marginalized communities. One suggested solution was to partner with religious/faith based groups. Other suggestions included efforts to reach marginalized youth through community healthcare providers. Youth Opportunities United in Corpus Christi was suggested as an additional resource. It was also noted that the Executive Committee approved funding for a Cultural Outreach Coordinator who could potentially have an impact in this area.

  7. Staff Reports:

    1. Status of New/Approved Projects
      Operations Assistant Fernando Rodriguez reported that three Youth Leadership Development projects started this quarter. He also provided staff updates to note that Radames Fuentes resigned his position as Grants Management Specialist and that applications are currently being accepted for the two vacant positions.

    2. Projected Available Funds
      Operations Director Martha Cantu reviewed the Summary of Funds for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 — FY 2017. $276,639 in FY 2016 funds must be obligated by September 30, 2017 and $178,749 remains for FY 2017. She discussed options to allocate money to specific projects that are expected to expend those funds by the necessary dates. Committee members asked about the potential federal budget cuts and how that could affect TCDD operations. Cantu noted that the impact would not be immediate but could be seen in 2019.

    3. Other Updates
      Planning Director Cordry discussed the National Association on Councils with Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) annual conference and the Information and Technical Assistance Center for Councils on Developmental Disabilities (ITACC) Technical Assistance Institute. She learned of an intensive training program that educates emergency personnel to better support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

      Cordry has also been working with The Arc of Texas on training in Austin for law enforcement, legal professionals, and victim services personnel on how to improve the interactions that people with disabilities have with the criminal justice system. The Pathway to Justice training is administrated through The Arc National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability with a goal to sponsor this training in at least 30 additional chapters. The Committee expressed support of TCDD staff collaboration with the Arc of Texas on these efforts.

      Cordry reported on two Requests for Proposals (RFP) that are open for applications including “Local Leadership & Advocacy Training by Self-Advocates” and “Peer Supports Training Program.” The second RFP focuses on connecting persons with developmental disabilities who are receiving Home and Community-Based Services that require a person-centered service plan with well-informed peers who can support people with IDD to take control of their programs. The peers would be paid and would be able to support ten individuals with mentoring, coaching and training. The Health and Humans Service Commission has shown an interest in this model and could consider including it in the Medicaid program with managed care organizations providing this service.

  8. Future Activities For State Plan Implementation
    State Plan Projects List
    The Committee discussed the Fiscal Year 2017 — FY 2021 State Plan Projects List. Planning Director Cordry reviewed current projects and activities that address each state plan objective and further discussed ideas for future activities to ensure all objectives are met by the conclusion of the plan.

    Executive Summaries:

    1. Leadership Development and Advocacy Training Projects: Rural Areas
      Cordry presented the Rural Leadership Development and Advocacy Training Projects Executive Summary which would fund an organization to develop and provide leadership training in rural areas. Currently, TCDD funds three general leadership development grants and three projects focused on youth leadership development. This project would target leadership development in rural areas and would include:

      1. History and philosophy of the disability rights movement;

      2. Principles of self-determination;

      3. Strategies to find and access necessary services and supports;

      4. Activities to develop self-advocacy skills; and

      5. Activities to promote interaction between participants and peer support.

      The difference between the Rural Leadership and Development RFP and previous Leadership and Development RFPs is the increase in funding of $10K due to the cost of transportation. Fewer participants are expected for these projects due to the smaller population of rural areas in Texas. Committee members indicated a preference that the grantee organization is local to the area where training is conducted. Planning Specialist Fikac is reviewing data to determine a list of counties that are defined as rural, and members suggested a link to the census data that identifies rural communities be included in the RFP. Members also discussed management of new projects with limited staff resources.

      MOTION: To recommend Council approval of funding of up to $85,000 for up to five years, for up to three Leadership Development and Advocacy Training Projects: Rural Areas, to include additional funds up to $25,000 to provide reasonable accommodations to Project Directors or Project Coordinators who have a developmental disability if they are necessary and exceed the amount the group can afford. Preference will be given to organizations located in rural areas, and TCDD will provide information about what areas are considered rural.
      MADE BY: Mateo Delgado
      SECOND: Rick Tisch
      The motion passed unanimously.

    2. Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions
      Cordry presented the Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions Executive Summary. The objective is to aid people living in institutions to learn and develop skills to actively participate in the development of person-centered planning, explore opportunities and identify barriers to achieve their goals. It was noted that Texas Advocates previously worked on this issue and the Committee discussed the structure of this project.

      MOTION: To recommend Council approval of up to $125,000 per year, for up to 5 years for up to three projects, to provide Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions.
      MADE BY: Rick Tisch
      SECOND: Mateo Delgado
      The motion passed unanimously.

  9. Future Project Funding Priorities
    The Committee discussed the current list of projects that were approved for funding. The Future Funding Priorities list was updated and reorganized as:

    1. Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions;

    2. Leadership Development and Advocacy Training: Rural Areas;

    3. Support for Student Research-Related Expenses on Disability-Related Topics;

    4. Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision Making Developmental Disabilities Network Project.

    MOTION: To recommend Council approval of the Future Project Funding Priorities list with the addition of the projects in the following order: (1) Peer Support Specialists for Individuals Living in Institutions; (2) Leadership Development and Advocacy Training: Rural Areas; (3) Support for Student Research-Related Expenses on Disability-Related Topics; (4) Alternatives to Guardianship and Supported Decision Making Developmental Disabilities Network Project.
    MADE BY: Rick Tisch
    SECOND: Ron Roberts
    The motion passed unanimously.

  10. Other Discussion Items
    Planning Director Cordry discussed an Unsolicited Idea to address the needs of homeless people with disabilities in the Austin area. A pilot program is suggested to provide funds and other necessities for the homeless population. A second part of the program would offer temporary housing, training, and education. It was noted that the Executive Committee approved a Public Policy Fellow for Disability Rights Texas that will address housing issues. Planning Specialist Fikac reported on an existing program called Foundation Communities that is very like what is being proposed and offers housing, education, healthcare and social services. After discussion, the Committee chose not to move forward with this Unsolicited Idea.


There being no further business, Chair Cortez adjourned the meeting at 4:01 PM.

Beth Stalvey, Secretary to the Council