The UNLOCK! campaign advocates with Georgians with disabilities so we and our families can live full lives and contribute to Georgia communities and the Georgia economy. We believe Georgia must rebalance its system of long-term services and supports, so that fewer dollars are spent on institutional care and more dollars are invested into Home and Community Based supports.

UNLOCK! Principles

Individuals with disabilities should have the opportunity to live full, self-determined lives.

This means we want the chance:
  • in regular workplaces – not in settings with only other workers with disabilities
  • earning the same wages as people without disabilities
  • with access to supported or customized employment services
  • in apartments or houses in a community that we’ve chosen
  • with the opportunity to live in communities that are inclusive of residents with and without disabilities
  • with the opportunity for ownership or control of the lease
  • alone or with others that we’ve chosen
  • where we decide who visits and when
  • without the threat of losing that home if we don’t comply with a treatment plan
  • who understand and appreciate our gifts and contributions
  • with access to an array of educational and leisure pursuits
  • able to go to a full range of locations and activities that we’ve chosen
  • with adequate information so that we make informed choices from an array of meaningful options
  • with a schedule of daily activities based on our personal priorities, interests, and contributions
  • choosing when and what to eat, and how to spend our time
  • choosing where to live, who to marry, how to vote, and exercising all other legal rights as an adult
  • making own decisions regarding medical treatment
  • receiving assistance through Supported Decision Making –desired support and advice from family and friends – rather than having others make our decisions through guardianship because over-reliance on formal systems of substituted decision-making like guardianship can hinder or prevent inclusion, self- determination and community integration

UNLOCK! 2017 Legislative Priorities

Join the Employment First Coalition and support legislation that would reduce barriers and improve outcomes to employment as well as support Employment First.

Contact: Employment First Coalition – Elizabeth J. Appley, 404.523.3800,

The NOW/COMP waiver has the longest waiver list in Georgia of 8,698 individuals (as of 9/30/16). FY ASK: Fund at least 2470 new waivers for a state impact of $33,058,273.

Contact: Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) – Dawn Alford, 404.805.9741, , gcdd.org

Coalition of Advocates for Georgia’s Elderly (CO-AGE) supports the creation of a comprehensive abuser registry in Georgia. At least 19 other states have such a registry including Tennessee for over 20 years.

Contact: Georgia Council on Aging – Kathy Floyd, 404.657.5342, , gcoa.org

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the only resource available to most individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to pay for housing. A legislative study of residential care costs and exploration of funding to support I/DD organizations to bridge the gap between an individual’s SSI and the cost of housing is necessary.

Contact: Service Providers Association for Developmental Disabilities (SPADD) – Julianna McConnell, 770.713.1249, , spadd.org

Georgia is one of a few states that still uses language in policy that conveys negative or derogatory perceptions about people with disabilities. Appropriate substitute language is recommended along with the use of terminology that “puts the person before the disability.”

Contact: The Arc Georgia – Stacey Ramirez, 470.222.6088, , ga.thearc.org

The Georgia Accessible Transportation Coalition advocates for accessible transportation including sidewalks and public transportation across the state of Georgia.

Contact: American Wheelchair Society – Drew Walker, 404.919.6178, , https://sites.google.com/site/awsatlanta2013/