ILRCSF’s approach to service delivery reflects the Independent Living (IL) philosophy. Implicit in our consumer driven services is an expectation of consumer ability. Our staff, over 90% of whom are people with disabilities, operate under the premise that persons with disabilities are experts on their own needs, and must therefore take the lead in collaborating with staff to identify needs, options and the strategies necessary to achieve the most beneficial outcome.
Bridgett Brown, Economic Empowerment Coordinator
The Economic Empowerment Coordinator helps consumers learn about their options with regards to disability and their finances – whether they are considering getting on or off benefits, going back to work, or going back to school. Via benefits workshops, monthly Economic Empowerment events, and one-to-one consultation, Bridgett provides consumers with information so that they will be equipped to make informed decisions about their own lives, with regards to finances. Bridgett also also helps people procure funds for back rent and security deposits via the Season of Sharing fund. Bridgett is a long-time mental health advocate, and has led workshops to train people in law enforcement in working with members of the public who have psych disabilities.
Marisol Ferrante, Community Activities Coordinator
Marisol plans and coordinates on-site social and recreational events and activities for adults with disabilities, as part of our Community Activities Program. A big part of her job is finding out what sort of activities our consumers are interested in. If you’ve attended a game night or movie screening at ILRCSF, chances are Marisol was the person who did all the planning, promoted the event online and via email list, and even made the popcorn. Marisol also provides support to both the Assistive Technology and Systems Change programs.
Fiona Hinze, Systems Change Coordinator/Community Organizer
As the Systems Change Coordinator, Fiona Hinze dedicates her time to the development of strategies around ILRCSF’s systems change and advocacy efforts by tracking key state and local advocacy issues and by attending community committee and task force meetings. She works to ensure consumers are aware of advocacy opportunities in the community, such as calls to action on various issues. She serves on the State Independent Living Council and is a member of the Disability Organizing Network.
Erica Li, Clerical Assistant/Receptionist
The Clerical Assistant/Receptionist is the first person consumers encounter when they come through the front door or call ILRCSF’s main phone number. Erica provides Information and Referral services, directs consumers to staff members who are best suited to their individual needs, and assists in signing consumers up for workshops and on-site events. In addition to English, Erica is fluent in several dialects of Chinese.
Jessie Lorenz, Executive Director
As the Executive Director of ILRCSF, Jessie Lorenz works to protect the rights of people with disabilities, as well as to expand and nurture opportunities for society to become ever more accessible to all people. She has served on local and state committees such as the San Francisco Long Term Care Coordinating Council and the State Independent Living Council. Jessie has also prioritized the development of relationships with various corporations to improve the accessibility of their services and products such as Yahoo, Facebook, and Google. One of her proudest accomplishments is the pioneering work she has done with the Schindler Elevator Corporation to use a community process for developing elevator accessibility code which has gone on to be adopted by the U. S. Department of Justice. Jessie Lorenz is a nationally recognized leader in the Independent Living Movement, a Paralympic Gold Medalist, and the mother of a rambunctious 3 year old girl.
Lana Nieves, Director of Programs and Development
As Director of Programs and Development, Lana supervises staff who provide direct services, develops new programs and projects, writes grant proposals and resources, manages ILRCSF’s IT, and maintains the agency’s presence on the Internet.
Maria De Lourdes Richardson, Latino Community Services Coordinator
The Latino Community Services Coordinator’s work often involves helping Spanish-speaking consumers navigate the various service delivery systems in San Francisco so that they are better able to obtain affordable housing, transportation, and benefits. Maria takes a special interest in working to reduce isolation and social stigma among consumers with disabilities by encouraging them to get involved in their communities. Maria is also a HICAP counselor, certified by the state of California, and counsels consumers on Medicare benefits.
Jessie Carver, Staff Attorney
I provide legal advice and support to consumers with disabilities who are between the ages of 18 and 59. While I am able to work on a wide variety of issues, my specialty is benefits and entitlements. Consumers who have had their applications for Disability Benefits denied meet with me to discuss the appeals process, and I accompany consumers to hearings pertaining to benefits.
Victoria Tedder, Housing Coordinator
The Housing Coordinator provides counseling and advocacy so that consumers can find accessible housing in San Francisco. In addition, if a consumer wishes to stay in his or her current residence but is experiencing difficulties that are preventing him or her from doing so, Victoria will work with him or her to maintain tenancy. Via weekly workshops, Victoria educates consumers about housing laws, as well as their rights and responsibilities as tenants. Part of her job is to keep abreast of local, state, and national issues related to low-income housing and housing rights, and she actively works to bring about policies that will increase access to low-income housing for people with disabilities
Willia Tong, Chinese Community Services Coordinator
The Chinese Community Services Coordinator works with the Chinese community and people from other Asian countries who speak Cantonese, Mandarin, or English. Willia provides information and referral services, support and advocacy to consumers regarding benefits and services, such as San Francisco Paratransit. Willia has regular out-station days at City COllege’s Chinatown campus, at the Chinese Newcomers’ Center, and in the Sunset district. Her outreach also includes facilitating workshops/presentations for people with disabilities and seniors in the community, as well as to partner agencies.
Erin Lauridsen, Assistive Technology Educator
The Assistive Technology Educator provides information and support to people who are interested in exploring the many types of Assistive Technology (AT) that can address some of their accessibility needs. Erin manages ILRCSF’s Device Lending Library, which provides short-term loans to people who want to try different types of AT before they commit to purchasing anything. The Device Lending Library is stocked with a wide rage of AT from low tech to high tech – items that can help people with disabilities work, study, travel, play, and just take part in everything community-based living has to offer. As an AT user, herself, Erin loves introducing people to AT, and supporting them as they try devices out and decide, for themselves, what their AT needs are.