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Knoxville Regional
Transportation Planning Organization

400 Main St, Suite 403
Knoxville, TN 37902

email: contact@planeasttn.org
phone: (865) 215-2500
fax: (865) 215-2068

Mayor's Council on Disability Issues and PlanET to Hold Public Forum

Posted 02/14/2013

It’s a fact that modern medical technology is helping us live longer. As we age, though, our bodies likely will experience natural wear that will slow us down or even limit our mobility. And for many of us, regardless of age, illness or injury may cause disability, often times a permanent condition. Are we prepared to live with a disability?

Today, there are between 54 and 56 million Americans (approximately 20 percent of our population) who report having some kind of disability. In addition, the Baby Boomer generation is growing older—10,000 people turn 65 years of age every single day, and that will continue for the next 18 years. Many of these older Americans report a disabling condition that has developed as they have grown older.  

When we consider people with disabilities and seniors in combination, they comprise a significant portion of our population, and they represent members of all races, ethnic groups and economic status. In addition to physical challenges, people with disabilities often are confronted with economic barriers. Of the nearly 150,000 people in the Knoxville region that identify themselves as having a disability, 19 percent live in poverty. And for the past 20 years, the unemployment rate of people with disabilities has hovered around 30 percent.

In light of the size of the population with disabilities, and the fact that numbers will only grow as our overall population ages, it’s important that we join together and discuss how we can better prepare for and accommodate this large and growing group. We all have a vested interest in planning for the future of our region’s citizens with disabilities—keep in mind that this population will include many of us. .

A perfect opportunity to share ideas and help plan for our future is an upcoming forum sponsored by the City of Knoxville’s Mayor's Council on Disability Issues (CODI) and Plan East Tennessee (PlanET). Forum participants can spend the morning with colleagues in dialogue about how members of the region’s disability community want to grow in the next thirty years and plan for increased accessibility—to our health care systems, built environment, transportation systems, housing stock, and employment opportunities.

CODI and PlanET welcome you to attend and participate in the forum, scheduled for Wednesday, February 20, 2013 from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the Jacob Building in Chilhowee Park.

Register today at www.planeasttn.org/codi or by calling 865.215.4396. But hurry!! Registration closes on February 17, 2013.

I sincerely hope that you will join us and share in the dialogue to ensure a welcome place for people with disabilities in our region’s future.

Written by: Stephanie Brewer Cook, ity of Knoxville ADA Coordinator
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