Picture of Esther: a woman in a wheelchair is in front of the Christmas tree at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.
It’s been a remarkable year. I’m making progress improving my pain and right foot. Disability Law Collective, my law practice, started earning more than its expenses with clients and I am finishing my reasonable housing accommodations and modifications guidebook collaboration with Access Living and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. My former Access Living supervising attorney asked me to work with them because I write well. Let’s hope they still think that!
It was also a momentous year for Able Community, my non-profit housing cooperative for people with and without disabilities. We officially received our 501(c)3 status, found a house to live in together, and moved in last month!
Group picture from Able Community’s housewarming party: some guests with and without disabilities gathered in Able Community’s living room.
I have a great housemate, Thomas. We met through a mutual friend, T.J., who I played boccia with when I was in high school. I discovered after we moved in together that Thomas knew of me for years. Apparently, T.J. talked me up regarding my boccia abilities. I could’ve been a contender, but instead, I chose to be studious so I could be an attorney. Thomas regrets not being able to compete against me while we were both in our primes. It’s funny how much we have in common, including having the same doctors… a CP connection.
Thomas and Esther’s first meal together at Able Community’s house! Fish and chicken tacos.
Despite all of these accomplishments, I can’t help feeling discouraged because I am still struggling to find personal care assistants. We had a number of applicants with disabilities needing personal care and planned to select another resident needing care after I established my own care, so we can share this care. This is why the delay in finding enough assistants is particularly hard for me.
We found a solution. We will renovate the basement so that it can attract personal care assistants to live there, or be rented out to offset our care costs. We are raising $16,000 to enlarge 2 basement windows as fire escapes.
Here’s my housewarming speech, in case you missed it:
We raised $2,799 from Giving Tuesday and our housewarming party, thanks to our generous friends! Able Community sure has come a long way from our first fundraiser for $800 for our website and incorporation expenses. Here’s a blast from the past fundraising video:
We definitely have a ways to go before we reach our $16,000 basement window repair goal, so we can provide exceptional housing for people needing and providing care. If you haven’t donated, please donate to Able Community on www.ablecommunitychicago.org/donate/! It’s not too late to make your tax deductible donation count towards your 2017 taxes!
I’m also continuing to look for personal care assistants. If you know anyone who might be interested, please send them my e-mail address below.
I first started my annual holiday updates during my first year of law school. That was a very challenging year for me having to establish my personal care in California during the pressures of 1L classes and being horribly homesick for Illinois. I guess I have come a long way, but I still have a long way to go. Please drop me a line. It always brightens my day to hear from you!
Esther S. Lee,
Attorney at Law
Disability Law Collective: affordable legal advocacy for people with disabilities’ everyday legal needs.