NYAIL


  • Westchester Disabled on the Move, an Independent Living Center in Yonkers, NY, partnered with aging advocates and NYAIL's Housing Education Project to approach the Westchester County Board of Legislators regarding the need for Universal Design legislation. Universal Design of housing and public spaces is intended to ensure access for everyone, regardless of age or ability. As a direct result of leveraging support from organizations serving veterans, disability organizations, people with disabilities, the aging community, and the affordable housing community, the legislation passed unanimously. This new law will significantly increase the availability of accessible housing in Westchester County by requiring a minimum of fifty percent of all county-funded housing projects are built with universal design principles, which includes a no-step entrance and a full bath and living space on the first floor.

  • As a statewide leader in disability rights, NYAIL helped facilitate a forum on universal design and aging in place which was attended by over 100 aging and disability service providers in the Adirondack Tri-Lakes region. Using the information provided at the conference, local builders, housing officials, and code enforcers are now incorporating universal design principles, which allow the greatest accessibility for individuals regardless of ability, when modifying and building new homes in the region.  Effective education of the community through the NYAIL Housing Education Project in this forum and ones like it ensures that the needs of people with disabilities and older adults are actively considered during future community building initiatives.

  • NYAIL's Housing Education Project engaged people with disabilities in a Livable Communities initiative in Batavia, NY. A livable community is "a place where all residents can live and participate in their community, no matter their age, health or physical activity; where citizens can grow up and grow old with maximum independence, safety and well-being." As a result of NYAIL's targeted education efforts, the Genesee County Legislature passed a resolution identifying livable communities as a priority. County departments are now making Genesee County a more "livable community" for all residents by actively incorporating core livable community principles in their future planning efforts, including in the local consolidated planning process which determines the use of federal funding streams for housing initiatives.

  • Strategic grassroots outreach by Access to Independence, an Independent Living Center in Cortland County, created the first ever local Housing Consortium to organize cross agency collaboration and educate the community on unmet housing needs. The Consortium organized an Emergency Housing Summit to help the community streamline services for homeless individuals and those at risk of becoming homeless. The group  engages local planners and developers in the consortium and actively works to increase local government investment in affordable, accessible and integrated housing.

  • The Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York organized tenants to share their stories with New York City Council members, highlighting some landlords’ discriminatory practice of excluding tenants based on their income source, including housing choice (Section 8) vouchers for rental assistance and social security income/social security disability insurance. Some tenants noted they were losing their vouchers as a result of such discrimination. Due to the compelling testimony from affected tenants, the City Council passed a NYC law prohibiting discrimination in housing based on an individual’s source of income. People with disabilities and others who rely on subsidies and assistance programs to live independently will now have access to more units of housing in their community as a direct result of this legislation.