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Disability Commission Annual Report for 2018 - 2019

The annual report for the Mayor's Commission for Persons Disabilities highlights the work that the commission has done to improve accessibility in Boston over the last year. 

1. Provided Programs and Services for Constituents:
  • Made outreach plan to re-launch our Accessibility Priority Survey in order to reach more diverse and underrepresented constituents
  • Continued operating the Accessible HP Parking Space Program in Boston Neighborhoods with BTD
  • Updated newly-created list of existing HP Accessible Spaces in Boston’s Commercial Areas for the public
  • Supported ASL at Emergency Announcements from Mayor Walsh
  • Planned first ever summit on financial empowerment for Deaf constituents, and convened Annual Tax Preparation for Deaf Constituents
  • Provided Summer Internships for Youth and Adults with disabilities
  • Broadcast Monthly Disability News & Views TV Show
  • Processed and Resolved ADA Title II Grievances Against the City of Boston
2. Architectural Access:
  • Continued working with internal departments in City Hall to give input on master plan design for Boston City Hall and City Hall Plaza
  • Continued Working on Sidewalk Reconstruction Priorities with Public Works Department
  • Collaborated with private developers of Winthrop Square project to redesign a major component of their design for increased accessibility
  • Coordinated with GSA to replace an existing stairway with a ramp that is adjacent to the Northern Ave Bridge redesign, thereby creating a continuous accessible route on that section of the HarborWalk
  • Began working with nation LEED program to create and implement pilot credits for architects who add increased accessibility to their projects, including the use of the Accessibility Checklist that we created
  • Updated the Accessibility Checklist for events on City Hall Plaza
  • Created an Accessibility Checklist & Best Practices Guide for City Departments to use when planning meetings and events
  • Continued Staff Appointment on the MA Architectural Access Board
  • Continued providing Input and Technical Assistance on BPDA Developments
  • Continued review of all PIC Projects in the Public Right of Way
  • Sent out letters to several businesses and restaurants in Boston that have accessibility barriers, notifying them that they are not in compliance with ADA Title. Although we don’t have jurisdiction over these retail establishments, our letter informs them of non-discrimination requirements for things such as service animals, architectural access, and effective communication.
3. Community Collaborations
  • Joined with other local Commissions of Disability to form an alliance called CODA
  • Supported AAB Legislation and Re-write of 521 CMR for substantial equivalency with the ADA
  • Continued collaborated in annual “Reel Abilities” Film Festival highlighting people with disabilities
4. Disability Housing Task Force
  • Continued Monthly Meetings of the Task Force
  • Implemented process to review FHE Lotter Applications for Reasonable Accommodations
  • Implemented increased ADA Built-out Units in City-funded Development from 5% to 10%
  • Continued work with MONUM and ISD on roll out of Auxiliary Dwelling Unit Pilot Program to increase Housing Options for Boston Residents with Disabilities
5. Hosted Annual Events for Residents, Including One New Event:
  • ADA Celebration Day
  • Disability Community Forum
  • Disability Mentoring Day
  • Architectural Access Training
  • Emergency Preparedness Training for Persons with Disabilities (new)
6. Disability Commission Advisory Board:
  • Held election of Board Officers to select Chairperson, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer
  • Developed subcommittees to focus more in depth on issues we don’t have time to thoroughly take on during monthly board meetings. Committees include transportation, architectural access, and executive committee
  • Maintained fully staffed board of 13 residents with disabilities, who provide a broad representation of the city’s diverse neighborhoods, disabilities, and ethnicities
  • Held Regular Monthly Meetings
  • Maintained protocol for meetings to include three elements every month: a presentation from a Developer outlining architectural access; a presentation by a City Department; and a presentation on a community agency or program relating to persons with disabilities
  • Wrote letters of support / concern on disability-related legislation
7. Internal Department Collaborations:
  • Collaborated with City Councilors and the disability community to host a City Council hearing on disability issues – this is the first such hearing held by the City Council specifically on disability issues
  • Collaborated with the Elections Department to add a disability self-identification to the annual City Census. The data set of questions is pulled from the American Community Survey (ACS), which will allow the City to have comparable data with the national census
  • Participated in “collective impact’’ planning with the HHS Cabinet, to identify a solitary issue all our departments can work on together to have a greater impact for Boston residents. The issue we chose was housing – so our department will be creating a screening tool to capture our work with disabled residents who call with housing questions
  • Continued participation in Language and Communication Access Working Group
8. Staffing:
  • Hired two new FTE employees to fill vacant positions, making our department fully staffed
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