On disability studies

In the spring of 2013, there were approximately 17 million people attending college in the United States. Some go in knowing what it is they want to study, while others take longer to discover their calling. In recent years, though, a new field has made itself known: the field of disability studies.

Although it has been steadily gaining in popularity, the idea of disability studies has been around for a relatively short time. One of the major forces was the Society for Disability Studies (SDS), which was started in 1982 to promote the understanding of disabilities.

About 35 American colleges offer disability studies as a major or minor, including the City University of New York (CUNY). They talk about many different aspects of disabilities, both mental and physical. These include appropriate language, the many types of disabilities, and how society can accommodate them. Naturally, this major is common with people with disabilities and those with disabled friends or relatives. This major can also help with certain jobs, such as those in education or human services.


Chest Pains Not Enough to Diagnose Women with a Heart Attack

Chest pain alone is no longer being used to diagnose women of having a heart attack.

According to a recent report in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, doctors in the emergency room are now being urged to use test such as electrocardiograms (EKG),  to accurately diagnose a heart attack. 

While as many as nine out of ten patins diagnosed with a heart attack complain of chest pains and/or discomfort, there are many other conditions that can cause these pains. In addition to chest pains, women tend to experience pain in the back and jaw, nausea, and shortness of breath when experiencing a heart attack. 

Check out http://www.doctorslounge.com/index.php/news/hd/42675 for more information and further reporting.



Relieving the Homeless Off The Streets, One At A Time

An act of kindness brought a homeless man home to the Czech Republic after 10 years of living as a homeless man. As reported by the Huffington Post, the Whatever Youtube Channel was helping out with the Thread Society to hand out clothing to the needy. They befriended the homeless man, Jaroslav. He has been homeless for 10 years after being robbed while sitting at a bus station.

The Whatever team put out much effort to help Jaroslav to return to his home country. They took great care of him by providing clothing, a hotel room and took him to a barber shop for a shave. The final touch was an airplane ticket back to his country to see his son and daughter.

This article showed the change that people can provide for others. This story is remarkable and shows the help that others may need to bring them back on their feet.

Homeless Population Up 13% Since Last Year

Published in the NY Times, there has been a study of an increasing amount of homeless people in New York City since January. This poses an overwhelming threat to the city as well as the shelter system. More Americans will be left out in the cold this year as the difference between affordable housing and income increases.

The newly elected mayor, Bill de Blasio has a huge weight dropped on him since Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reign. During the Bloomberg administration, more promises were made than actions taken to help the homeless. Rent assistance programs were cut and even food donations were banned by Bloomberg. The hope to bring new changes lies with de Blasio to battle the increasing number of homeless people.

Broken Kitchen cabinets, walls in need of paint, rundown elevators, gas outages, dead electrical wires, infestation of mice and cockroaches, falling plaster, and persistent mold are only but a tidbit in the ongoing epidemic of negligence provided by NYCHA throughout the five boroughs.

On Monday night Nov. 18th, hundreds of Brooklyn NYCHA residents gathered at Our Lady if Mercy Church to present a long list of repair complaints to housing authority officials.

In “Brooklyn Tenants Get Vow of NYCHA  Fixes,” Residents of about 24 housing developments in Brooklyn were promised that repairs will be made by Christmas.

A big promise to uphold when other residents throughout the city are still waiting for repairs as well.

Providing a Safety Net for Former Inmates

About two years ago the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development started to press local public housing agencies to loosen their restrictions on admission policies for people released from prison who seek rehabilitation by reuniting them with their families. 

In the New York Times article “Ban on Former Inmates in Public Housing Is Eased,” the New York City Housing Authority will be first public housing agency to implement the pilot program starting next month; placing “150 former inmates in public housing and provide social services to help them find jobs and meet other requirements.”

The new program will not only hope to help with rehabilitation, but also combat homelessness in the city: “Officials with the city’s Department of Homeless Services, which will defray the program’s cost of about $700,000, says its shelters house 484 adults who were released from prison in the last 18 months.”

Public housing agencies will still have to fulfill with some of HUD important regulations:

Restrictions on HUD Housing for Convicted Felons

(Per HUDHRE.info Help Desk)



1)    HUD Supportive Housing Program (SHP) OR Shelter Plus Care (SPC)Not Applicable (No Restrictions): No conviction/felony excludes an individual from receiving HUD SHP or SPC Homeless Funds. Criteria for disallowing program participation are set at the local level.


2)    HUD Public Housing or Section 8

A)   Those owing back rent to any Public Housing Agency.

B)   Per a congressional mandate, the following convicted felons are BARRED from accessing HUD Public Housing and HUD Section 8 (Choice Voucher) Programs nationwide:

  • Megan’s Law Offenders
  • Those convicted of manufacturing methamphetamines on public housing grounds.

All other felonies/criminal convictions are not congressionally mandated and therefore policies can be developed at the local level.



Megan’s Law Offenders are subject to restrictions on where they may live in relation to schools, parks, daycares, etc.

Local Public Housing Agencies, Individual Supportive Housing Programs or Shelter Plus Care Programs may have additional restrictions. An example might be limitations on sex or violent offenders that apply to programs serving children. 

Road to reform solitary confinement at Rikers, report shows

tyc_cell_corsicana_350The Board of Corrections recently released a report outlining a new proposal to correct the severe overuse of solitary confinement as punishment at Rikers Island.

The Gotham Gazette interviewed Ismael Nazario, 25, a current case manager for at-risk youth at the Center for Community Alternatives in Brooklyn, but formerly, a 16-year-old detainee of Rikers Island.

“You have this deep rooted anger and frustration from being in the box,” Nazario admitted to the Gazette. “I just talked to myself, answering myself, pacing back and forth.”

According to studies done by ‘Solitary Watch,’ the 22 hours or more of no human contact in a confined space, can leave detainees “socially and emotionally unstable.”

This begins to take more than a toll on the subjected, especially when a substantial number of the prison’s population, 40 percent to be exact according to the Department of Correction, is mentally ill.

Chair of the Board of Correction’s committee on punitive segregation, Dr. Robert Cohen, said that the Board is “concerned about everybody in solitary confinement, and particularly those with serious mental illness and adolescents.”

The report proposes the implementation of “a slow-moving rule making process” that will work to replace solitary confinement, a plan that could take up to a year.