National Organization on Disability Announces Top Cities in Disability Friendliness, Outreach

Berkeley and Chicago to Share $35,000 Accessible America Awards for 2006

Jan 11, 2007, 00:00 ET from National Organization on Disability

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Berkeley, CA, and
 Chicago, IL, have been chosen as the winner and runner-up in the sixth
 annual Accessible America Contest, the National Organization on Disability
 (NOD) announced today. The cities are being heralded as national models for
 innovative programs to promote community inclusion of people with
 disabilities. The Accessible America Contest, administered by NOD's
 Community Partnership Program, is sponsored by generous grants from UPS and
     Other 2006 contest finalists were: Alexandria, VA; Bloomington, IN;
 Indianapolis, IN; Louisville, KY; Miami Beach, FL; New Haven, CT; San
 Francisco, CA; and Sioux Falls, SD,
     Berkeley will receive the top prize of $25,000 sponsored by UPS. Their
 best practices included the nation's first universally designed affordable
 housing development; a comprehensive transportation program, an outstanding
 emergency preparedness plan for people with disabilities, and a
 self-imposed tax to fund some of their disability services.
     Chicago, as runner-up, will receive a Wal-Mart sponsored cash award of
 $10,000. Chicago was chosen for a variety of programs that help incorporate
 people with disabilities in community life, included rewriting of the city
 building code to mandate adaptable and visitable requirement in privately
 and governmentally owned and financed units; the creation of a Mayoral Task
 Force on Employment of People with Disabilities; a certification program
 for business enterprises owned and operated by people with disabilities.
     The award money will be presented at forthcoming ceremonies to the
 Mayor in each of the winning cities and is intended to fund local
 disability-related efforts.
     Previous Accessible America first-place winners include: Cambridge, MA,
 Venice, FL; Irvine, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and Pasadena, CA. Honorable mentions
 have gone to Austin, TX, and West Hollywood, CA.
     The finalists were judged by five leading national disability advocates
 and experts. Accessible America applicants demonstrate an exceptional
 commitment to offering their citizens with disabilities full and equal
 opportunities to participate in the life of their communities, including
 access to jobs, education, religious worship, voting, transportation,
 housing, emergency preparedness planning, and services. The Accessible
 America Contest promotes nationwide replication of these best practices.
     For information about entering the 2007 Accessible America Competition,
 contact Mr. Rik Opstelten at 202/293-5960. The deadline is October 31,
 2007. Additional information is available at

SOURCE National Organization on Disability