Architectureal Access Board Bill

What is the Architectural Access Board Bill?

This is a proposed change to the law that will get the Masachusetts building codes in line with the American with Disability Act when it comes to  renovating and new constructions.

A discrepancy between the ADA and Massachusetts building code creates barriers to access for people with disabilities in housing and employment.

You can learn more how this may affect your ability to get accessible housing and access at the work place by reading the fact sheet here

Please join us as we advocate for this  important issue on September 12 at the State House more information here

Disability Integration Act

Last week the Olmstead v. L.C. Supreme Court decision celebrated a 20 year anniversary. What does that mean?   This decision in a nutshell means that people with disabilities have the right to live in the community receiving appropriate community based services (Personal Care Assistance (PCA) services, Long Term Services and Supports. The decision at first was believed by the disability community to be an avenue to be able to live in their own community in any state. The disability community is still waiting 20 years later.

The Supreme Court decision intended for people with disabilities to have access to long-term home health services which would be provided in the least restrictive environment. Currently that’s not happening as Medicaid programs throughout the country exhibit an institutional bias. Although Medicaid funding is supposed to be supporting program such as the PCA Program (or similar programs) a majority of the Medicaid funding continues to support a larger proportion of Medicaid dollars towards nursing homes. In effect the lack of community services remains a huge obstacle for people to be discharged from nursing homes to go back into the community of their choice.

To solve this problem each state has been mandated to create an Olmstead Plan which provides clear directions indicating how services can be provided to people living in the community. For the most part, the states’ Olmstead Plans have not been established nor has any oversight. People with disabilities were hoping they could finally depend on their state to provide services keeping them in the home. That hasn’t happened.

Stavros, other independent living organizations, consumers and friends have an opportunity to expand the intentions of the Olmstead decision. It’s called the Disability Integration Act (DIA). The DIA would be a national law guaranteeing people with disabilities with disabilities would not have to depend on the states’ ineffective Olmstead plans.

Thankfully, our Congresional Delegation supports this legislation. If you know people outside of the state of Massachusetts ask them to contact their congressional representative asking them to support The Disability Integration Act. If you speak to our Congretional Delegation say thank you for supporting the rights of people with disabilities.


Joseph Tringali/Stavros Advocate

PS If you don't know whos is your Congressperson you can find out at the Secretary of State website

Hands Across the Ocean: Exchange Program at Stavros Brings Accessibility Planning to Morocco

Moroccan exchange Fellow Hanaa Adarrab and Stavros advocates
Moroccan exchange Fellow Hanaa Adarrab and Stavros advocates

Through a collaboration between Stavros, the Institute for Training and Development, and the State Department's Professional Fellows Program, an exchange Fellow from Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism is at Stavros in Amherst studying independent living models for people with disabilities, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and accessibility issues in public spaces. 


Hanaa Adarrab of Casablanca, Morocco has been working at The Ministry of Tourism as an auditor of control and monitoring for tourist establishments since the beginning of 2013. When a recent accident required her to temporarily use crutches, she faced a city lacking ramps, elevators, curb cut-outs, or adequate public transportation for people with mobility challenges. This, in conjunction with some background in disability rights and social justice work, inspired her to use this Fellowship opportunity to address some of the shortcomings in accessibility design in her industry in Morocco.


“I hope to convince the Ministry of Tourism to make some changes in their guest houses, and to work with my organization, the Regional Delegation of Tourism, on creating references for design, illustrations, measurements, etc.. We have unclear, ambiguous information about specifications for accessible rooms. I want to try to bring these standards to Morocco,” Adarrab says.


During the month of May, Ms. Adarrab will be engaging Stavros’ work on behalf of people with disabilities across several areas. She’ll be learning about the independent living model, which enables people with disabilities to live in an environment that encourages and supports their rights to achieve and maintain a sense of autonomy in their lives. She’ll also shadow advocates who are providing counseling, skills training, and support to people with disabilities. She’ll study the Americans with Disabilities Act, the history of the Civil Rights movement in the U.S. and how it has informed disability rights work, and learn about some of Stavros’ legislative efforts on behalf of people with disabilities. Finally, she’ll engage throughout the month with the Home Sweet Home Program, which provides accessibility ramps and home modifications to improve access and safety for people with disabilities.


Stavros advocates will stay in close contact with Ms. Adarrab when she returns to Casablanca, providing ongoing technical assistance about the best ways to provide outreach to the community, educate the current government, and engage the school systems about disability rights and accessibility issues.


Hanaa Adarrab will present her findings and action plan at Stavros’ Amherst headquarters on May 24, from 2:00—3:00pm.


Stavros has been providing advocacy and support towards independent living for people with disabilities since 1974. The Institute for Training and Development (ITD) is a private nonprofit organization based in Amherst, Massachusetts that has been conducting training and exchange programs for international professionals and students for over 32 years. The Professional Fellows Program (PFP) is sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This exchange brings together leaders from around the world to share cultures, exchange ideas, deepen understanding, and spread knowledge across the world with a focus on civic engagement, the legislative process and governance, NGO management, economic empowerment and entrepreneurship, and journalism.

Meet The Challenge !

Woman at a ramp smiling

Stavros was founded by Chris Palames and some of his friends in 1974.  Bill Martin was one of those friends. In the early 1970’s people with disabilities had little or no opportunities to live in the community. Bill Martin was working at Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission at the time and decided to take a leap of faith and help start an agency that would advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. He helped secure some of the initial funding and helped the process of helping people with disabilities live in the community.

Fast forward 44 years and he wants to help again. Bill loves to provide access to people with disabilities and would like to help build ramps for people that cannot afford it through our Home Sweet Home Program.

Bill has issued a challenge. He will match $1000 every month we raise a $1000 for 12 months, starting in May 2018.  WOW! That is amazing! This means that every month we raise a $1000 we can get another $1000. That will be $24,000 in a year. That’s a lot of ramps!  Can You HELP ?

We are looking for people who are willing to give one time or monthly donations to the Stavros Home Sweet Home Program. You can send your donation of ANY AMOUNT in the mail to: Stavros, PO Box 2130, Amherst, MA 01004 or give here

If you have questions or need more information please contact Angelina at or 413-781-5555 ext 315

We hope you can help people with disabilities live in the community by helping us achieve $1000 every month. Thanks!

Announcing The PCA Workforce Council’s New Mass PCA Referral Directory

The Workforce Council wants you to know that recruiting and hiring PCAs just got easier with the launching of their new PCA Referal Directory.

You Can find out more by downloading their FAQs for the PCA Workforce Council’s new Mass PCA Referral Directory here

or at their website at


Stavros is a Fragrance Free Place

For the safety of our visitors and employees we are requesting our visitors to help us stay a Fragrance Free Place.  Please do NOT use fragrances when you visit our offices or attend any of our events.

Fragrance refers to any scent that is perceptible by others. It includes but is not limited to personal care products such as perfume, cologne, aftershave products, health care products, soaps, lotions, powders, and deodorants; laundry products such as detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets; air “fresheners” that contain fragrance products; as well as any product that contains fragrance or scent. 

For more information on why being fragrance free helps everyone, visit this website:

Home Modification Loan Program

Looking to make your home more accessible? Are you a landlord with a tenant with a disability? Then the Home Modification Loan Program may be for you.

The Home Modification loan program allows you to borrow up to $30,000 at 0- 3% depending on household income to make home modifications related to disability. Modifications may include home security, stair lifts, bathroom, kitchen modifications and more. Eligible applicants may qualify for a deferred loan meaning it does not have to be repaid and does not accrue interest until the house is sold. More information at

Landlors with less than ten units and with tenants with disabilities qualify for this program. Please see  for eligibility criteria and application process

Housing Accomodations Fact Sheet

People with disabilities often need accommodations to make their living space accessible. Some examples of possible accommodations include: a doorbell with a light that flashes, a parking space closer to the doorway or a wider entry to accommodate a wheelchair. 

To help you know your rights and help you to request Housing Accomodations Stavros created this simple Housing Accomodation Fact Sheet  You may download it here