FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11th, 2021
AccessibleNYC provides a comprehensive roadmap to improve quality of life for New Yorkers with disabilities in transportation, employment, financial empowerment, housing, health and well-being, technology, education and access to City services.
NEW YORK—After the conclusion of a year like no other, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) has released the 2020 edition of the AccessibleNYC report. In addition to laying the foundation for future improvements for the disability community, this report focuses on the issues raised during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the City’s equitable response for people with disabilities. Throughout the pandemic, new technology was leveraged for employment, telehealth and cultural purposes, which provided more opportunities for New Yorkers and visitors with disabilities.
“In order to be the fairest big city in America, we must be constantly aware of the needs of all of our constituents," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "The 2020 edition of AccessibleNYC is a public testament to our commitment to accessibility and inclusion- even during our most difficult times. Today I am proud to announce this report and once again strengthen our resolve and commitment to the quality of life for the nearly 1 million New Yorkers with disabilities who call our great City home."
"The 2020 AccessibleNYC report underscores the de Blasio Administration's pledge to equity and transparency as we serve all New Yorkers, including individuals with disabilities, said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson. "As the report shows, the City's pandemic response put the disability community's needs at the forefront and we must likewise ensure that the recovery process leads with inclusivity to create an even more accessible society."
"After an extremely difficult year, we are proud to release the 2020 edition of AccessibleNYC," said Victor Calise, Commissioner of the NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. "Despite the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued moving forward with our initiatives to provide access and inclusion in all aspects of life in our City. All the while, we adapted to the changing COVID landscape and capitalized on new digital platforms to increase opportunities for people with disabilities."
Highlights from the 2020 edition of AccessibleNYC include:
Health and Well-being: Unique health and wellness needs arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and in-home services, such as food delivery and telemedicine. Once the PPE supply chain opened up, the de Blasio administration quickly distributed PPE to New Yorkers across the city. To ensure accessibility, MOPD created a PPE delivery system and helped to distribute over 175,000 face coverings to community providers, and 100,000 clear face coverings to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
Transportation: During the pandemic, transportation modes saw decreased ridership and increased cleaning protocols. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) took advantage of this decrease in ridership and pushed accessibility construction projects forward.
Employment: People’s employment statuses were strongly impacted by COVID-19 as many lost their jobs or were furloughed for extended periods of time. One positive result of the pandemic was the transition to remote working in many sectors, which showcased productivity for the disability community. In the past, requests to work remotely as a reasonable accommodation for one’s disability were often denied or met with skepticism. Now, we can examine the impact of the pandemic on employment and the potential for new opportunities to improve the experience for people with disabilities during the recovery process.
Financial Empowerment: Ensuring that people with disabilities understand financial opportunities and tools that are available to them has always been a critical issue. Throughout the pandemic, MOPD continued to work with City and community partners to spread awareness about financial empowerment resources, as well as emergency benefits and programs that were created as a result of the pandemic.
Housing: The City continues to work hard to increase opportunities for people with disabilities to gain accessible housing. During the pandemic, City agencies worked diligently to ensure that they were able to provide virtual access to programs and services for the disability community.
Technology: Technology is a key component to the well-being of the disability community as it provided connectivity, access to information and services, entertainment, education, and supply chain information. MOPD capitalized on these digital meeting spaces by creating standards for digital accessibility for the disability community. The pandemic also exacerbated existing challenges for the disability community with regards to access to technology. The de Blasio administration is actively working on solutions to combat the digital divide.
Access: As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the manner in which City services were provided changed completely. Many programs were either created or modified due to the pandemic, including Open Restaurants, Virtual Deaf Town Halls, and other virtual programs.
Education: Throughout the pandemic, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) ensured that students with disabilities and their families continued to receive services during the transition to remote learning and had access to technology through the distribution of iPads
For more information on these highlights and other work the City is doing to improve accessibility, the 2020 Edition of AccessibleNYC is available now at nyc.gov/accessiblenyc