Mayor Walsh, City of Boston Disability Commission release annual report
May 22, 2017
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the release of an annual report compiled by the City's Commission for Persons with Disabilities, which outlines the City's work over the past year to increase equity for residents with disabilities. The report was presented as part of the seventh annual Community Forum on Disability Issues, which was attended by over 100 individuals with disabilities, caregivers and professionals in the disability field. Of these attendees, at least a third had never been to an event hosted by the Commission before.
"It's important that City Hall and all spaces in the City of Boston are accessible and inclusive places for all residents and visitors," said Mayor Walsh. "I commend the Disability Commission, and all who contributed to the report, for their work to improve the lives of Bostonians."
"It's important to keep the public informed about our ongoing work toward improving accessibility and inclusion in Boston for people with disabilities," said Boston Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh. "This report outlines all the progress we've made, and outlines how Boston will continue to advocate for all."
Improvement highlights include:
- Accessibility Upgrades to City Hall
- The Disability Commission provided technical assistance and suggestions to renovations to City Hall Plaza;
- Upgrading restrooms for ADA compliance; redesigning the main lobby with an accessible coffee kiosk; and undergoing a complete renovation of the City Council Chamber for full accessibility;
- ADA Compliance for events on City Hall Plaza.
- Community Events
- Hosted ADA Celebration Day to mark the 26th anniversary of the signing of the ADA;
- Held 6th annual Disability Community Forum at Boston City Hall;
- Hosted Disability Mentoring Day;
- Held first-ever Civic Engagement Day to assist residents with disabilities to get connected with their local government in City Hall.
- Outreach and Engagement
- Through the help of a Harvard Rappaport Fellow the Commission will be creating an Accessibility Priority Survey. The survey will help the Disability Commission determine the needs of people with disabilities who live, work, and visit Boston.
- Communications Access
- Mayor Walsh signed the Communications Access Ordinance. This ordinance provides a structure for the City to provide language services regardless of language needs or disability.
- Deaf Task Force
- Tax Preparation for deaf constituents;
- The Deaf Task Force hosted a workshop for the Deaf Community on credit scores, the first workshop of its kind to be put on for this community in partnership with the City of Boston.
- Disability Commission Advisory Board
- Worked with state legislature and City Council to increase the number of seats on our Board from 9 to 13, to allow broader representation of neighborhoods, disabilities, and ethnicities.
- Voting Access
- Worked closely with the City's Election Commission to prioritize accessibility in the first Early Voting initiative in Boston's history.
- Participated in training organized by the Elections Commission to train poll workers to be "Accessibility Ambassadors" at their local precincts during elections.
- Web Access
- Provided technical assistance and user input to web team as they designed a new website. The new City of Boston website was designed with ADA access as a focal point, and is the first major overhaul of the City's website since it was created.
"Along with the other members of the Disability Advisory Commission I have enjoyed collaborating with Mayor Walsh and Commissioner McCosh. It was key to have the full support of the administration as we worked to improve the city's many programs, services and activities for people of all abilities," said Carl Richardson, Acting Board Chair. "We look forward to doing even more of this in the future, and I am personally very excited about our current projects, projects that will continue to provide access in Boston."