Disabled man

The Kirkwood Human Rights Commission (KHRC) will hold a Symposium on Abilities at 9 a.m. Saturday, October 28 at the downtown Kirkwood Eliot Unitarian Chapel, 100 S. Taylor Avenue (63122). The symposium will bring together more than 16 organizations to discuss the needs identified in a 2015-2016 survey of citizens dealing with physical and cognitive challenges. The purpose of the survey was to determine actions the city could take to improve the life of residents with disabilities and their families.

Some of the needs identified in the report were greater transportation and mobility, housing, education and employment and support services. In the area of housing, for example, the survey called for more affordable and accessible housing and help with interior and exterior home chores. The survey also called for improvements to the City’s ADA & Support Services web page in order to use the page as a resource for some of those identified needs.

“The city immediately addressed the website,” said Denis Hart, chairman of the Kirkwood  Human Rights Commission. “We needed a place for people to go to post things that are available. What we are doing now is refining the web page to make it more inclusive and user-friendly.”

Additionally, the survey pointed to addressing needs of persons with disabilities as a priority in street, sidewalk and other transportation and mobility improvements.  

Hart said the symposium will make the public aware of the steps the city has taken, is taking and will take to address abilities issues.

Speakers include commission and city leadership. Representatives from the Starkloff Institute, St. Louis ARC, Paraquad and the Missouri Department of Vocational Rehabilitation are scheduled to lead discussions on how their organizations can help with housing, transportation and mobility, education, employment, safety and support.

Hart said, “They are going to address each one of those and make suggestions on what things can be done, be done better, and what things residents can do to help compliment what the city is doing to address those four areas”

Following a light lunch and beginning at 12:45 p.m. attendees can participate in one of three discussion group topics – housing, transportation, and education and employment, which will be facilitated by other service organizations – L’Arche St. Louis, Call-a-Ride, Sheperd’s Center, Sammy Soap and MERS Goodwill.

The general session will include discussion with the Kirkwood Human Rights Commission.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Onsite registration begins at 9 a.m. and the program begins at 9:45 a.m. For more information, please call 314-822-5806.

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