De Blasio Expands NYC’s Access for People With Disabilities

One of the new laws requires advertising for public events hosted by the city agencies to include information on accessibility.

New York City is making sure all of its residents can gain access to the same amount of services and events throughout the five boroughs.

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed seven bills into law on Monday including a set that expands website, service and event accessibility for New Yorkers with disabilities.

“New York City is an amalgamation of cultures, heritages and languages,” de Blasio said. “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.”

The first of the set of bills requires the city to adopt 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 wishes to go away from those standards, then it must check with experts in website design and reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities while also holding a public hearing. Any difference must then be documented and posted online.

The second bill calls for every city agency to designate a disability service facilitator which will be a staff member who will be the primary contact within the particular agency for individuals with disabilities who request support services.

This facilitator will also develop agency policies and procedures to make sure there is complete programmatic and communication accessibility. Agency staff must also be trained on issues concerning disability access. This individual will also respond to any questions from the public surrounding accessibility and must be available to discuss and received training from the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.

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

Another bill entails that any advertising and other materials relating to public events hosted by city agencies incorporate information regarding accessibility for people with disabilities. This law also requires that information be provided regarding who the public can contact for information regarding accessibility at the events.

Included in the packages of bills improving access for New Yorkers with disabilities, was also a bill that requires all city website to include a translation feature in languages other than English. City websites will now include indications in different languages on translation services.

“The City Council is committed to making New York a more inclusive City for all people to work and live,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said. “This package of legislation will increase language access across City websites and improve access to City services for all New Yorkers.”

Angy Altamirano


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