Growing up in a military family, one thing was constant – moving! Every few years we had to pack up our handicap accessible van to a new city to explore. From the sunflower state of Kansas, to the paradise beaches of Hawaii and the dancehalls of Texas. Moving meant new friends to make, new things to do, lots of new things to see! It was very exciting.
However, being a wheelchair user made things a bit more interesting during the moves. Sometimes my new hometown would have ample ease of access – with elevators, wider doorways and ramps throughout my school, community and city at large. This made me feel included, respected and valued. I was free to see, do and explore – just like my peers without disabilities. At other times, unfortunately, accessibility in my new hometown would be sorely lacking – without ramps, curb cuts or elevators. This made me feel left out and excluded.
It’s imperative that all aspects of a community be accessible, so that community members with disabilities can be fully active participants in their schools, cities, counties and community at large – without any limits or barriers. In addition to large and small businesses, Title Two entities are required to be in compliance with the American’s with Disabilities Act. According to the ADA, Title Two encompasses public industries. It prohibits discrimination by all public entities at the local and state levels. Thankfully, there is government assistance available to reduce the economic burden of ADA compliance for Title Two entities.
Examples of Title II entities include:
- school districts
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Community Development Block Grant:
Developed in 1974, the Community Development Block Grant is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. It is one of the longest continuously run programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Funding available through the Community Development Block Grant program may be used for accessibility purposes. This includes, but is not limited to, the installation of:
- curb cuts
- wider doorways
- wider parking spaces
How to Apply:
Units of local government that have specific questions concerning the use of funds for the removal of barriers should contact their local Housing and Urban Development Office of Community Planning and Development. This complete list can be found at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD.
Or call the Entitlement Communities Division at Housing and Urban Development Office at 202.708.1577, for additional information.
How the Amount of Assistance is Determined:
Housing and Urban Development determines the amount of each grant by using a formula comprised of several measures of community need, including the extent of poverty, population, housing overcrowding, age of housing and population growth lag in relationship to other metropolitan areas.
Over a one, two or three year period, as selected by the grantee, not less than 70 percent of funds must be used for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons.
In addition, each activity must meet one of the following national objectives for the program: benefit low- and moderate-income persons, prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or address community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community for which other funding is not available.
How Funds Have Been Used:
According to the Community Block Development Grant’s Expenditure Report, in 2011 grant funds helped community:
- Public infrastructure (32.7%)
- Housing (24.8%)
- Administrative and planning (15.1%)
- Public services (11.4%)
- Economic development (7.3%)
- Property acquisition (4.9%)
- Other (3.8%)
For More Information:
For more information about the Community Block Development Grant visit: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD.