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April 2016



Bills Will Help New Yorkers With Disabilities

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed bills into law March 14 focusing on accessibility for people with disabilities and those who speak other languages.

“New York City is an amalgamation of cultures, heritages and languages,” said de Blasio. “That is why we strive to increase inclusivity, especially when it comes to New Yorkers with disabilities. Whether it’s creating a more accessible City website, or ensuring that events hosted by City agencies have information regarding accessibility for people with disabilities, Intros. 673-A, 683-A,881-A and 883-A strengthen our efforts to be more inclusive.”

Intro. 673-A, requires that all City websites, wherever practicable, include a translation feature in languages other than English. Non-English speakers will now see an indication for translation services of City websites in their native scripts.

Intro. 683-A, requires the adoption of a protocol for website accessibility for people with disabilities to be based either on federal regulations, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines or any successor standards. If the City wants to differ from such standards, it must consult with experts in website design and reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities as well as hold a public hearing. Such differences must be documented in the protocol and posted online.

Intro. 881-A, requires that every City agency designate a disability service facilitator. Each agency will have a staff member who will serve as the primary contact within that agency for persons with disabilities requesting auxiliary services and ultimately help coordinate those services.

This person also will develop agency policies and procedures to ensure full programmatic and communication accessibility for persons with disabilities and conduct periodic training for agency staff on issues concerning disability access.

The facilitator will respond to inquiries from members of the public concerning accessibility and must be available to confer with and receive periodic training from the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

Intro. 883-A, requires that advertising and other materials pertaining to public events hosted by City agencies include information regarding accessibility for people with disabilities. This bill also requires information regarding who to contact for information regarding accessibility for people with disabilities at events hosted by City agencies. The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities will establish guidelines for how to best include this information in posters and advertisements produced by City agencies.

“The City Council is committed to making New York a more inclusive City for all people to work and live,” said Council Speaker [Melissa] Mark-Viverito (D-Dist. 8). “This package of legislation will increase language access across City websites and improve access to City services for all New Yorkers. I thank my Council colleagues and Mayor de Blasio for their on-going support of these critical issues.”

“We have worked with numerous agencies to hire accessibility coordinator positions and work closely with these individuals to ensure access to their programs and services,” said Victor Calise, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

“I would like to thank Councilmembers [Helen] Rosenthal (D-Dist. 6) and [Dan] Garodnick (D-Dist. 4) for introducing these bills and facilitating the Mayor’s Office for People withDisabilities’ efforts in including Americans with Disability Act coordinators in City agencies, holding accessible public meetings and providing accessible information on agency websites.”

“The de Blasio administration is committed to speaking the language of all New Yorkers. Intro. 673-A will create website protocols that make it easier for New Yorkers to search City agency websites in their language of choice. It is a step forward in eliminating language barriers for limited English proficient New Yorkers when they access City services,” said Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

“We need to do better in making public information accessible for people with disabilities,” said Garodnick, sponsor of Intro. 683- A. “No one should be denied access to information or services because of a disability. The City will now adopt uniform standards that are easy to use and easy to understand.”

“Making sure vital City information is accessible to all New Yorkers is a priority of the Council’s Committee on Technology,” said Council member James Vacca (D-Dist. 13), chair of the Committee on Technology.
The new campus replaces the current Bronx Psychiatric Center, which opened in 1963, and the Bronx Campus of the New York City Children’s Center, which opened in 1969 as Bronx Children’s Hospital. The inpatient buildings feature secure indoor and outdoor recreation areas, electronic monitoring technologies, educational settings and comfortable living quarters.

In addition to the inpatient buildings, the development also includes a new residential village, which expands the availability of supported, transitional and crisis housing for New York City residents with mental illness.

The campus features a new central services building to provide support services to both the inpatient buildings and the residential village. This building contains administrative offices, a centralized kitchen, maintenance shops and other services that were previously scattered throughout the campus.

The consolidated location of these services allows for more efficient operation of the new buildings and reduces duplicative systems throughout the campus. In its new location, the campus is more closely integrated with the immediate neighborhood and transforms what was a secluded campus into a connected part of the community. Adjacent to the facility is a recently constructed motel and restaurant, which provides visiting family members with nearby dining and lodging options.


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