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People with Disabilities: NYC Failing Us

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Monday, August 8, 2016   

NEW YORK – The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 26 years old this summer, but advocates for people with disabilities say New York City is way behind the rest of the country in complying with the law.

There are almost 900,000 people with disabilities living in the city, but Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York, or CIDNY, says the city has a long way to go to make streets, schools, subways and other city services accessible.

"So everywhere we turn – seeking city services or attempting to use the city's infrastructure – we are blocked by barriers that should have been removed during the past 26 years," she states.

CIDNY and another group, Disability Rights Advocates, have released a new report on the city's record in complying with the ADA.

Dooha notes that other cities have done a lot better. In Boston, for example, where the infrastructure is just about as old, 74 percent of subway stations are wheelchair accessible.

"But 81 percent in New York are inaccessible,” she points out. “So, it's really shocking, how little has been done in New York."

And while at least 40 percent of the homeless in the city have disabilities, Dooha says only 32 of the 15,000 beds in homeless shelters are fully accessible.

On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is hosting a reception to celebrate the ADA's 26th anniversary. On that occasion, Dooha would like to hear the mayor report on the status of the city's residents with disabilities and the barriers they continue to face.

"And I would expect the mayor to announce that he is seeking the advice of the community on a comprehensive plan for remedies for these barriers, and that he's committed to make barrier removal a top priority," she says.

The full report, “ADA at 26 in New York City,” is online at CIDNY.org.





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