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Commissioner's Message

Dear Constituents:

It is an honor and a privilege to be serving disabled residents of, and visitors to, New York City.  Welcome to our website where you can find out the latest on disability issues, news, laws, resources, programs and services.

Since I was appointed Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities (MOPD) by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in June of 2012, the staff at MOPD and I have been working hard to represent people with disabilities at every level of city government.  For example, we work with the Department of Parks & Recreation to make parks, playgrounds and beaches accessible; the Department of Transportation to find ways to make crossing the streets easier for those who are blind or have low vision; the Department of Housing Preservation & Development and the New York City Housing Authority to provide options for accessible housing; the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene to finding ways to identify wheelchair-friendly restaurants throughout the five boroughs; the Department of Cultural Affairs to increase accessibility in our city's cultural institutions; the Department of Buildings by acting as Chair of the Accessible portion of the New York City Building Code Revision process to ensure that the built environment is accessible to ALL; the NYC Commission on Human Rights to help ensure enforcement against those who discriminate; and the Taxi and Limousine Commission to improve accessibility in our city's taxi fleet.  These are just some of the ways that we are working with city agencies to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

MOPD feels strongly that educated constituents will be able to help themselves and others.  Without having access to information on important issues, it is difficult for anyone to make an informed decision.  With this in mind, MOPD organized its first Accessible Housing Symposium on April 1st, 2013 (available on this website) that brought together housing agency Commissioners, high level executives and experts in the housing field to discuss ways in which one can go about finding accessible housing. 

I am especially proud of our Disability Mentoring Day initiative, which helps disabled students and job-seekers explore possibilities for a rewarding career.  We have also worked with Borough Presidents to include people with disabilities and/or a representative from the disabled community in their local community boards.  Community Boards are the grass roots of city government; all city projects from parks to new buildings and stores are passed through the community boards before being built, and if a person with a disability or a representative from the disabled community is involved in the process from the beginning, accessibility can be ensured from the outset of the project.  I have heard too often that people with disabilities are left out of the process, which is why I strongly encourage people with disabilities to attend a community board meeting, get involved with their local independent living center, write a letter to a city agency, volunteer with disability rights groups and apply to become an intern/volunteer with a city agency.  With your help, MOPD will continue to help make New York City the most accessible city in the world.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you and I look forward to addressing disability issues across this beautiful city.

Sincerely;

Victor Calise
Commissioner






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