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Bills for People with Disabilities Need Action

Advocates want NYS to pass legislation encouraging new housing to have accessible first floor apartments. (CDC)
Advocates want NYS to pass legislation encouraging new housing to have accessible first floor apartments. (CDC)
June 18, 2018

NEW YORK – Time is running out for action on some state bills important for New Yorkers with disabilities.

The legislative session ends on Wednesday, but some bills that would help people with disabilities have yet to come up for a vote.

Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York, says housing issues are at the top of the list.

New York City has passed a law prohibiting source of income discrimination in housing. Now, Dooha says, it's time for the state to act.

"People with disabilities who have housing vouchers or housing subsidies find sometimes that a landlord is refusing to rent to them because of the kind of income they have," she states.

Bill A10610 has the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but it hasn't had a vote on the floor of the State Assembly and the State Senate has yet to take up the issue.

Dooha says another challenge will be getting a state law encouraging the development of new housing with first floor apartments that are affordable and accessible to people with disabilities.

"That could help make a terrific difference for people who have trouble both affording housing and finding housing that meets their needs," she points out.

Dooha says lack of accessible housing statewide has led to homelessness and the unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities who could be living independently.

Earlier this year the governor signed a law giving people with physical disabilities preference for available ground floor apartments in New York City Housing Authority buildings – something Dooha points out can be critical when elevators are broken or during emergencies.

"People with disabilities have been unable to evacuate from higher floors of NYCHA buildings, which has had terrible consequences for individuals," she relates.

Dooha adds that the experience with Super Storm Sandy showed just how critical accessibility can be for people of all ages who have physical disabilities.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY