City named finalist for national disability award
John DeStefano, Jr. City Of New Haven
Mayor PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday Dec. 13, 2006
CITY OF NEW HAVEN IS ONE OF THE BEST WHEN IT COMES TO HELPING THOSE WITH DISABILITIES
NEW HAVEN JUST CHOSEN AS ONE OF TEN FINALISTS IN NATIONAL COMPETITION
New Haven: New Haven has been selected as one of then ten finalists in a national competition to determine which city has done the most to improve accessibility and opportunities for those with disabilities. This is the second year in a row that New Haven has made the list, as selected by the National Organization on Disability (N.O.D.).
As stated in its own news release, the N.O.D.’s Community Partnership Program administers the competition to recognize and promote progress toward comprehensive accessibility and opportunity in US cities and towns. The prize money - $25,000 for the winning city - encourages further advancement of local disability-related efforts.
Other finalists include: Alexandria, VA; Berkeley, CA; Bloomington, IN; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY; Miami Beach, FL; New Haven, CT; San Francisco, CA and Sioux Falls, SD.
N.O.D. Vice President Nancy Starnes says, “These ten finalist communities will inspire many thousands of others across the country to replicate ideas about how to accomplish the full and equal participation of people with disabilities.”
“We take this designation very seriously,” said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. “Whether it’s winning the 2006 National Employer of the Year Award from the Multiple Sclerosis Society or being recognized as a finalist by the N.O.D, it’s clear this administration understands the importance of serving ALL of our residents.”
New Haven was selected after completing a comprehensive application which detailed its record on helping those with disabilities. This includes:
• Educating police officers on issues around individuals with autism. Experts were brought in to train officers on how best to interact with individuals with autism
• Advocating for the inclusion of disability in the list of protected classes in Connecticut’s hate crime legislation.
• Continuing to provide information on accessibility in the City’s annual Youth Guide, which informs families about summer programs and activities offered throughout the New Haven. The guide indicates which are wheelchair accessible.
• Initiating a special needs registry for all residents with health conditions that may need assistance during an evacuation. The registry is the first step in providing evacuation and sheltering services in the event of an emergency. The registry form was sent to New Haven residents and is available on the City’s website.
• Adopting a website accessibility policy that requires all City websites be designed with accessibility features.
According to the N. O. D, an independent, five-member judging panel of distinguished disability advocates and professionals from across the United States will select the winners, with results to be announced January 11, 2007. The cash prizes, awarded to one national winner and one runner up community, are sponsored by grants from UPS and Wal-Mart of $25,000 and $10,000 respectively.
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