September 28, 2011
NEW YORK, NEW YORK– [Excerpt provided by Inclusion Daily Express] Disability-rights advocates on Monday accused New York City of failing to account for the unique needs of its nearly 900,000 disabled residents during disasters like Hurricane Irene and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed Monday in Manhattan federal court, contended that the city is violating federal and state anti-discrimination laws by failing to make emergency plans, shelters, announcements and transportation fully accessible to individuals with physical disabilities.
The suit was brought by the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York, and Tania Morales, a Brooklyn resident who uses a wheelchair. Morales was one of more than 250,000 New Yorkers asked to evacuate from low-lying areas during Hurricane Irene.
Morales said she arrived at a designated emergency shelter to find the gates leading to the wheelchair ramp were locked. Volunteers at the shelter tried to track down the keys, but after 10 minutes Morales returned home, saying she was afraid to wait any longer on the sidewalk and had no way to get to another shelter.
NYC disaster plan ignores disabled people: suit
Bloomberg's "Irene Preps" Provoke Federal Discrimination Suit (Public News Service)
Disability groups sue city, claims its emergency planning is subpar (AMNY)