Justin, young man laughing, wearing red and black houndstooth plaid shirt, seated in power wheelchair, in front of One Minnesota 2023 Inaugural Celebration banner with yellow and blue pine trees
Accessibility (#A11y), Advocacy, travel, Writing

Hello 2023 – AWE

Welcome to 2023, everyone. Here’s my annual post about my 2023 goals. This year is going to be AWEsome as I Advocate, Write, and Explore. Advocate Affordable and accessible housing Watch the awesome video of the Minnesota Council on Disability Legislative Forum where I recently spoke with Minnesota State Representative Reyer about the dire need… Continue reading Hello 2023 – AWE

Young man in wheelchair in front of quote painted on wall by Soren Kierkegaard, 1849, "Once you label me you negate me."
Advocacy, Political, travel

Part 2: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Hi – here’s part 2 of my trip to Washington DC, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Oh, by the way, I just got denied for the Section 8 housing voucher for the 4th time so might be a little distracted. The barriers I’m running into is why my advocacy and opportunities to meet with my US Representative… Continue reading Part 2: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Advocacy, Political

Really?!?

Remember how I’ve been writing about the direct support staffing crisis? That we’re not paying caregivers enough so are having a really hard time trying to find or hire anyone? This story by Kirsten Swanson of KSTP, is more about the direct support crisis impact on group homes: From Group Home to Senior Living Staffing… Continue reading Really?!?

Accessibility (#A11y), Advocacy

ADA 32 & Me 24

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) turned 32 years old last Tuesday. And, I turn 24 years old on this Tuesday. My entire life has been post-ADA. The ADA addressed some of the concerns like employment discrimination, access to buildings and more. There’s a long way to go though. In Minnesota, I’m finding it all… Continue reading ADA 32 & Me 24

Justin and his dad in the crowd
Advocacy, Music, Writing

“Never let ‘em break you down”

Actually, independent living in and of itself, is cool. It’s the systems that I need for support that I’m finding incredibly frustrating. Going to keep up the good fight to live a self-directed life! “No matter how far I go, I always end up back here” Remember when I said I was getting a housing… Continue reading “Never let ‘em break you down”

Advocacy, Music, Writing

86k: what’s next?

I am currently at 86k words and nearing completion of the first draft of the sci-fi fantasy book I have been working on for the last year. My deadline is sometime in the first week of June. I’ll take a little time off before the rewrite process. What am I going to do before the… Continue reading 86k: what’s next?

Justin Smith and Mary Lucia smiling
Accessibility (#A11y), Advocacy, Writing

Independence Year Updates

Short blog today because I want to work on my other writing today. I’m continuing to make progress on putting the pieces together: Housing voucher is officially approved which means my apartment is officially affordable with my paying a percentage of my SSI income on rent. This is a huge thing – many people wait… Continue reading Independence Year Updates

Justin in MN Senate Hearing Room
Advocacy, Political

Bureaucracy + budget + staffing = nightmare

Enough with the waiting around for the “all about staffing” blog. I did have some health stuff I was dealing with and ended up in the emergency room a week ago. I’m doing fine now, but it seems like a good excuse for not getting this post done last week. Recap #1: The first hurdle… Continue reading Bureaucracy + budget + staffing = nightmare

Advocacy

$841 – $1332 = a math problem

I found an accessible apartment that works well enough for me and that was the first piece of the puzzle of living an independent life. Now, I have to figure out the rest of the puzzle... The math So, as some of you regulars who read my blog may know, my sole income is SSI.… Continue reading $841 – $1332 = a math problem

Colorful sunset, snowy ground, apartment & office building in distance
Accessibility (#A11y), Advocacy, Music, Political, Writing

It’s Time to Begin, isn’t it?

Welcome and do I have a big valley of news for you, starting with the legislation to make apartments more accessible in Minnesota. I will be testifying on Tuesday at a MN House hearing for this crucial piece of legislation (HF 2695 and SF 2603) that is also supported by the Arc Minnesota and the… Continue reading It’s Time to Begin, isn’t it?