Disability Advocates and Westchester County Reach Landmark Settlement to Protect the Lives of People with Disabilities When Disasters Strike

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Flooding and submerged buildings in NY after Hurricane Irene 2011
Image: Flooding and submerged buildings in NY after Hurricane Irene 2011, via Flickr

 

October 15, 2020  Westchester County, NY – Westchester Disabled on the Move, Inc., Disability Rights Advocates, and Westchester County have reached a settlement agreement that will result in significant improvements to the County’s emergency preparedness and response programs for people with disabilities who live in, work in, or travel to the County.  The agreement was reached through structured negotiations without any lawsuit being filed. Click here to read the settlement agreement.

The settlement includes the preparation of a revised Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan to meet the needs of people with all types of disabilities in Westchester County. The plan covers assistance to people with disabilities who must shelter in place during emergencies, coordinating requests for disaster-related temporary housing, coordinating transportation services during disasters, handling requests for resources to meet the needs of people with disabilities, and developing accessible messaging for communicating information about emergencies. The settlement will also result in training for ADA coordinators and the Medical Reserve Corps, as well as a workshop for inclusive emergency sheltering practices, and the development of a guidance on accessible evacuation.

“We are pleased that Westchester County is taking necessary steps to ensure that people with disabilities are included in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery,” said Rebecca Rodgers, Senior Staff Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates.

“This agreement will ensure that all people with disabilities in the County will be safer during future disasters,” said Maria Samuels, Executive Director of Westchester Disabled on the Move, Inc.

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About Disability Rights Advocates (DRA):

With offices in New York and California, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is one of the leading non-profit disability rights legal centers in the nation. DRA’s mission is to advance equal rights and opportunities for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. As part of that mission, DRA has advocated successfully for emergency preparedness plans that include people with disabilities in multiple cities in California, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and New York City, where DRA achieved a court ruling that the City discriminated against people with disabilities in its failure to plan for their needs in large-scale disasters such as Hurricane Sandy. Learn more at dralegal.org.

About Westchester Disabled on the Move (WDOMI):

We are a disability advocacy agency that work to improve the quality of life and rights for all people with disabilities.  Most of our staff and Board are People with Disabilities. The mission at WDOMI is to empower People with Disabilities to control their own lives; advocate for civil rights and a barrier free society; encourage  to participate in the political process; educate government, businesses, other entities, and society as a whole to understand and accommodate People with Disabilities.. For more information about WDOMI please visit our website at www.wdom.org.

 

Contacts

Rebecca Rodgers: (212) 644-8644 rrodgers@dralegal.org

Maria Samuels: (914) 968-4717 X112 marias@wdom.org