July 10, 2016
Approximately one million New Yorkers live with a disability; AccessibleNYC tells them how City government is addressing barriers to success & equity
Interagency report covers transportation, housing, employment, access & education
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, and Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Victor Calise today released the City’s first-ever report on the state of people with disabilities and interagency plans to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities across the five boroughs. Through collaboration with dozens of City agencies, Mayor de Blasio and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities are now cataloging current and forward-looking efforts to enhance accessibility and inclusion in transportation, education, employment and health, as well as City services, institutions and resources.
“This report addresses every aspect of life in New York City – how we live, work, learn, play, and raise our children. Understanding where we are today with issues of accessibility will allow us to set bold goals and propose innovative solutions,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “AccessibleNYC will help us to study ambitious and innovative ideas that have the potential to bring lasting improvements to the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities. When the city becomes fairer and more inclusive, we all benefit.”
“With this plan, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities is paving the way for the rest of the country, bringing together City agencies to prioritize accessibility to resources and services,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery. “I look forward to working with them all as we continue to fight for equal access for all New Yorkers.”
“Being a life-long New Yorker and a wheelchair user, I understand from experience the complexity that people with disabilities face on a daily basis – from navigating our streets to obtaining needed services. This is truly an unprecedented undertaking: never in the history of NYC government have so many City agencies worked together on a comprehensive report to advance the interests of New Yorkers with disabilities. I am confident that the progress we make will be unprecedented as well,” said Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.
By bringing together, in unprecedented collaboration, dozens of City agencies AccessibleNYC will confront the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in everything NYC has to offer. The agenda reflects obstacles faced by people with disabilities in the areas of transportation, education opportunities, employment, housing, access to government services, and access to the built environment.
Visit nyc.gov/MOPD to read the full plan. The range of programming, policies and initiatives include:
· Disability Service Facilitators in key City Agencies: The City has created additional full-time positions in key City Agencies that work closely with MOPD and act as liaisons to New Yorkers with disabilities, including the Department of Transportation, the Human Resources Administration, TLC, and the Department of Parks and Recreation.
· Business Development Council: MOPD’s Business Development Council provides strategic advice on best practices in outreach, recruitment, training, hiring and promotion of people with disabilities in the workforce, ensuring MOPD can most effectively provide services, resources, and advocate on behalf of students and workers with disabilities.
· Expanding employment opportunities: MOPD’s NYC: AT WORK initiative, with support from the Poses Family Foundation, will connect talent to businesses and provide access to employment opportunities for a minimum of 700 unemployed or underemployed people with disabilities. The DOE is also partnering with MOPD to build transition centers across the City to prepare students with disabilities for successful employment opportunities in the future.
· Upholding 55-a Civil Service Titles: MOPD and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services are collaborating to encourage agencies to utilize the 55-a Program – which permits applicants for non-competitive positions to bypass the Civil Service Exam – to employ qualified individuals with disabilities.
· More affordable accessible housing: MOPD will work with HPD and NYCHA to increase the pool of accessible and affordable apartments for people with disabilities by ensuring accessible units are allotted to New Yorkers with disabilities.
· Increasing public awareness for housing subsidies: MOPD will work with DOF to educate individuals on DOF’s Rent Freeze program, with the specific goal of increasing DRIE registration for eligible individuals.
· Creating more accessible housing for NYC: MOPD will host a housing day for builders and developers to ensure they understand the New York City Building Code requirements, the federal Fair Housing Act, and the implications of receiving City, State, and federal funds.
· Accessible vehicles for all, on call: By working with TLC, the City is expanding dispatch services for wheelchair users across the five boroughs so that residents can have an accessible taxi dispatched on-demand or by reservation.
· Supporting students with disabilities: MOPD is working in partnership with the Department of Education (DOE) to provide support to students with disabilities, families and educators to offer work-based learning opportunities and professional learning experiences to ensure that students graduate prepared for their post-secondary plans, including college, career and independent living.
· Increasing opportunities for young adults with disabilities: MOPD and the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) will work to expand opportunities for young adults with disabilities to participate in the City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).
· Removing physical barriers: MOPD will promote Project Open House (POH), which removes “small,” architectural barriers in the homes of qualified applicants with a permanent disability.
“HRA is committed to working to ensure that we provide people with disabilities equal access to all the services we provide. We are honored to join with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and Commissioner Calise in implementing this essential initiative to make New York City accessible to all. And we are proud to be one of the first City Agencies to have an ADA coordinator,” said Steven Banks, Commissioner of the Human Resources Administration.
“Accessibility is at the heart of Vision Zero. DOT is pleased to be working with Commissioner Calise and his team at MOPD to ensure that all of our Vision Zero programs are indeed helping us create a more sustainable and therefore inclusive and accessible New York City,” said Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner of the Department of Transportation.
"We are dedicated to serving all students, and ensuring that students with disabilities have access to educational opportunities to support their academic and social success,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. "The Disability Pride Parade is a great opportunity to promote the inclusion and visibility of students with disabilities. We remain focused on ensuring that the individual needs of each student are being met, and are continuing to expand programs, including Transition Career and College Access Centers to prepare students with disabilities for successful futures.”
“MOVA is honored to collaborate with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and our key stakeholders and community partners to ensure access to full career employment for all NYC veterans with disabilities. Veterans have strengths, including resilience, discipline, courage and teamwork, which contribute greatly to success in today’s workplace. MOVA looks forward to working with Commissioner Calise and his team on this important initiative,” said Loree Sutton, MD, Commissioner of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and former Brigadier General in the United States Army.
State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “The release of AccessibleNYC marks a huge step forward in improving quality of life for more than 850,000 New Yorkers living with disabilities. Twenty five years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated equal opportunities in employment, education, transportation, and public accommodation. Despite our progress, people with disabilities still too often face undue obstacles and burdens. Our fellow New Yorkers with disabilities strengthen the fabric of our communities, and we must continue to foster a culture that embraces and supports them in all spheres of city life. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Calise for their efforts on this report and for their work to strengthen the values written into law in the Americans with Disabilities Act."
State Senator Jesse Hamilton said, "AccessibleNYC presents welcome action to empower people with disabilities. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Victor Caliese for presenting these forward-looking measures. These are steps that will improve the quality of life of countless New Yorkers, open opportunities, and reduce obstacles to full participation in all our communities have to offer. We need to parallel the leadership of Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Calise in Albany and in our neighborhoods. As Ranking Member of the NYS Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, I will be a partner in helping support these measures on the state level and in informing the public in our neighborhoods. Acting in concert we can build a truly accessible New York."
Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz said, “People with disabilities must have the same opportunities to safely travel throughout our city without major obstacles. Easy access to travel is a critical component of any plan to assist the disabled, especially in Brooklyn where car services and busses serve so many people. We have made major advances since the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. This new program will help make New York City an even better place for people facing mobility challenges."
“When people with disabilities, advocates, and legislators all unite in the common goal of making our city a more inclusive, integrated and accessible place to live, great things can happen for New York’s disability community,” said Assembly Member David Weprin, Chair of the New York State Assembly Task Force for People with Disabilities. “AccessibleNYC will surely improve the quality of life for New Yorkers with disabilities, and I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Victor Calise for their continued commitment to making New York a better place to live for ALL New Yorkers.”
"Accessible NYC is an important step forward for people with disabilities," said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. "Whether it's through zoning and development plans, increased access to appropriate transportation, or an expansion of job options, we must ensure that New Yorkers with physical and developmental disabilities have full access to the services and opportunities they deserve."
Assembly Member Matthew Titone said, “There is no reason New York city shouldn’t be the city of inclusion. Making New York City more accessible and open to people with disabilities makes it more accessible and open to each of us.”
“AccessibleNYC will give us a better understanding of how we can enhance services for New Yorkers with disabilities, from transportation and education to employment and health. This is a major step forward as we fight for equal access for all, and I applaud and thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Calise for leading this effort," said Council Member Andrew Cohen.
"AccessibleNYC is a comprehensive look at how New York City serves people with disabilities and plans to expand on those services moving forward. We all want to see a more just city, and we will get closer to that goal when all New Yorkers with disabilities have the same access to City services as their able-bodied peers. I am proud to have worked with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Victor Calise on laws to do just that, and I look forward to continuing to make our city more fair for everyone," said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, prime sponsor of Local Law 27 of 2016, which requires a Disability Service Facilitator at every City agency, and Local Law 28 of 2016, which requires promotional materials for City-hosted events to include accessibility information.
"No New Yorker should be left behind or face discrepancies in key services," said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. "The City is stepping up to do more than ever before for New Yorkers with disabilities, a welcome step to continue improving civil rights in New York. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Calise and the many members of their team engaged in increasing equity in services throughout the five boroughs."
“The NYC Department of Small Business Services looks forward to working with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and other City and State partners to increase work force services and employment opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Jacqueline Mallon, Deputy Commissioner of the Workforce Department at the NYC Department of Small Business Services.
“CUNY is proud to collaborate with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and our valued community partners to create readiness for and pathways to good-paying jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities. Through the CUNY LEADS program, our University has demonstrated the transformative power of higher education for people with disabilities, as our graduates achieve competitive employment at a rate of 70 percent,” said Frank D. Sanchez, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at City University of New York (CUNY).
“The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act fosters collaborations that will create a more inclusive workforce for individuals with disabilities. The New York State Education Department, ACCES – VR is very pleased to be partnering with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities to connect with the business community to make new employment opportunities available in New York,” said Kevin G. Smith, Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Education Department Adult Career and Continuing Education Services.
“With the backing and support of Health and Hospitals Corporation and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, we have been working to remove barriers by teaching disability awareness and sensitivity to all staff at HHC’s women’s health facilities. We have conducted environmental surveys that identified obstacles that were removed making the facilities ADA compliant. We look forward to our collaboration with HHC and MOPD in building a more inclusive healthcare system for women with disabilities,” said Marilyn Saviola, Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Women’s Health at Independence Care Systems.
“New York City is already the first city in the United States to have induction loop technology and visual displays placed in taxicabs, and the goal of having them all accessible by 2025 will be of great benefit to New Yorkers with hearing loss. No longer will they need to worry about communicating with their driver and arriving at their destinations safely. Equal access in transportation will alleviate many challenges people with hearing loss and other disabilities face every day,” said Laurie Hanin, Ph.D., CCC-A, Executive Director of the Center for Hearing and Communication.
“In honor of the 26th anniversary of the ADA, it is extremely important that New York City prepared the Disability Agenda, addressing issues related to the disability community. We hope it will become an annual report that will easily allow us to spot trends and changes in services for people with disabilities,” said Edith Prentiss, Chair of the Taxis For All Campaign.
“In the past, the needs and rights of people with disabilities were considered by government on a piecemeal basis. The creation of a Disability Agenda for NYC should provide a blueprint for the future that insures integration, participation, social opportunity and employment for New Yorkers with disabilities,” said James Weisman, President & CEO of the United Spinal Association.