The Collective for People with Disabilities is proud to join organizations like Warriors on Wheels, Detroit Disability Power, the National Federation of the Blind, Advocates for Baba Baxter, and and a number of concerned citizens to form the Focus Group for People with Disabilities. Our goal with this initiative is to rally both the citizens of Detroit and their elected officials to support the development of an office dedicated to meeting the needs of people with disabilities that have gone unaddressed for generations.
The Office of Disability Affairs (ODA) envisions a just, fair, and inclusive Detroit where all people – residents and visitors – can participate prosper and reach their full potential – whether they are currently living with disability or not.
The ODA will deliver access, equity, and inclusion to all people – prioritizing those in need of accommodations – through bold representation, protections, and services ensuring all rights, privileges, and opportunities are upheld.
In the United States alone, Census data reveals that over 60 million people – roughly 1 in 5 – lives with at least one disability. Despite federal law, People with Disabilities continue to face obstacles to full and equal participation every day, including barriers to accessible housing, quality jobs, safe environments, and reliable transportation.
Every day that these needs are not being addressed is another day that millions of peoples lives are put at risk. Detroit is one such city that lags far behind its peers. While other cities have established dedicated offices to listen to and work on behalf of people with disabilities, we in Detroit have no such avenue.
The People Affected
People with Disability are either born with disabilities or acquire them. Whether permanent or temporary, nearly all Detroiters will experience disability due to illness, injury, aging, and so on. According to 2017 American Communities Survey data, Detroit citizens live with the following:
- 21,924 with hearing difficulty
- 26,553 with vision difficulty
- 53,667 with cognitive difficulty
- 75,087 with ambulatory difficulty
- 35,065 with self-care difficulty
- 54,910 with independent living difficulty
At the end of the day, the fight for accessibility is one that makes equitable the lives of millions of people, and benefits everyone.
Disability is normal – how we respond to it is not.
It is not solely an objective for us to all exist in an accessible world, but a mandate. The City has yet to fully adhere to its agreements and is being outdone by its peers across the nation. We have exhausted all options, and it is time to position Detroit as a leader on accessibility by adopting a new approach committed to understanding, expertise, and authority to champion a future
where all Detroiters thrive.
The Office of Disability Affairs makes this a reality through both resources and initiatives ranging from advocacy to accessible housing to programming, and beyond. With your help, we can make the Detroit we all deserve.