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Testimony on The NYC Budget for FY 2003-2004

Disability Budget & Policy Coalition Recommendations

March 19, 2003

Hello, and thank you for holding this hearing. I am Alexander Wood, and I represent the Disabilities Network of NYC (DNNYC).

The Disabilities Network of New York City (DNNYC) was launched a year ago to create “a physical disabilities impact network” representing people with motor & sensory disabilities & service providers to build a citywide coalition that unites to speak with one voice to public policymakers; finding creative solutions for problems affecting the disability community. DNNYC’s start-up has been fully funded by United Way of New York City.

For the past two years we have coordinated the production of a Disability Budget & Policy Coalition Agenda—a document which this year consists of over 20 position papers outlining problem areas and proposing solutions. Basically the issues can be divided into 4 or 5 overarching areas:

1) Employment
a) Summer Youth Employment Programs & Inclusion of Youth with Disabilities
b) Employment Mentoring of PWDs

2) Housing/Physical Access
a) Update Accessibility Requirements & Enhance Enforcement of NYC Building Codes
b) Right to Shelter for Disabled Homeless
c) Extending SCRIE to include eligible low-income PWDs under 62 yrs old
d) Develop a Citywide Registry of Affordable, Accessible Housing
e) Housing Services for New Yorkers with Mental Illness
f) Ensuring PWDs Can Live in the Most-Integrated Setting

3) Transportation/Mobility
a) Access-A-Ride
b) Accessible Ferries
c) Accessible Taxis and Liveries
d) Curb Cuts

4) Health Care
a) Expanding EPIC to include PWDs
b) EZPass to Health Coverage for PWDs
c) Improve Consumer Directed Personal Care Attendant Programs (CDPAP)
d) Mental Health & Hearing Loss
e) Medicare for All Disabilities
f) Improve Access in Senior Centers for People with Hearing Loss, Vision Loss and Mobility Impairments

5) Other
a) Election Reform
b) One-Step Campaign: To Remove 1-Step Barriers

Of course it’s difficult to be active on 21 fronts all at once, so DNNYC’s Policy Action Committee met early this year and named the top three priority campaigns for the coming year:

- Better service on Access-A-Ride;
- Better enforcement of Local Law 58 by Department of Buildings, and assurance that when NYC adopts a model building code, it does not reverse access standards currently in effect in New York;
- Inclusion of Youth with Disabilities in After School Programs & Summer Employment Programs;
- Other issues will be addressed as needs arise: ranging from additional transportation initiatives, to election reform, access to healthcare, education, housing, senior centers, and ensuring that the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan incorporates principles of universal design, etc.

In general, I want to commend the Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse & Disability Services for an incredibly busy year. If you look up the Committee’s activity on the NYC Council’s website, you will see that there have been 24 hearings in the past 13 months, including this one.


As Justin Dart used to say (the Father of the Americans with Disabilities Act): “We Love You, Lead On!

Thank you.


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