VSA members are excellent advocates for increasing support for services or policies that meet the needs of individuals who are blind or low vision. Whether your mission is focused on advocacy or primarily on providing services, you have an important role to play. You are valued leaders in your communities and therefore you immediately have the capacity to get the attention of policymakers such as local officials, legislators and members of Congress. You also have the power to collectively amplify the voice of individuals you serve in your communities to ensure their voice is heard on issues that affect their own lives at the local, state, and national levels.
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Please bookmark this page and we hope you will visit if often. Here we will provide information about key issues and actions you can take, generally at the national level. However, we hope you will also begin sharing your local or state successes with advocacy to help others learn from you.
National Policy Collaborative
In response to the dramatic changes in employment, education, and lifestyles, wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the VisionServe Alliance (VSA) has convened the national organizations engaged in work for and services to individuals with visual impairments. The CARES Act includes both valuable fundings as well as potential threats to the rights of our community. And, as Congress may enact yet another emergency response measure, it is imperative for our field to coordinate, in so far as possible, our responses and collaborate in our requests of Congress and federal agencies.
In addition to the effort to coordinate a response to the current challenges facing our field as a result of the COVID-19 situation, the NPC includes opportunities for each organization to share its immediate policy advocacy priorities so that we may determine how we can best assist each other in accomplishing those priorities.
Participating National Organizations
ACB, ACVREP, AER, AFB, APH, BVA, NAEPB, NFB, NIB, and Prevent Blindness.
Aging and Vision Loss National Coalition – AVLNC
VisionServe Alliance has assumed the role of coordinating the Aging and Vision Loss National Coalition to continue the work in the aging and vision loss area. The Aging and Vision Loss National Coalition (AVLNC) is a consortium of leaders comprised of national, state, local, private and public agencies with the goal of advocating for equal access and quality of life for older Americans with vision loss. Read more on the AVLNC.
VisionServe Alliance’s public policy committee is the governing body for advocacy initiatives. This committee is comprised of VSA members and co-chaired by Libby Murphy of LAB and Brian Patchett of North Central Sight Services. The focus of VisionServe at this time is to promote and influence public policy that supports nonprofits and their constituents during COVID-19, reframing aging and vision loss, and coordinating a national agenda on aging.
Public Policy Resources
More links will be posted periodically as resources and information become available.
- Aging and Vision Loss National Coalition Service Provider Toolkit
- Legislation in the works – Congress.gov
- Health & Human Services
- Administration for Community Living – ACL.gov
- Find your Representative
- Find your Senator
- The CARES Act explained
- Resources for COVID-19
VisionServe Alliance serves as the collective voice of the nonprofit sector providing services to people who are blind or visually impaired on policy and legislative issues. The following are the policy issues that VisionServe Alliance is currently advocating for on behalf of our members and the people they serve:
- CARES Act
- Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act
- Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2019 – H.R.4129
And here’s an excellent blog post with advocacy tips:
Eight Tips For Communicating Ideas to Busy Policymakers
To learn more or get help with legislative advocacy, email email@example.com or call (314) 961-8235.