During his first year in office, Governor Mario Cuomo established the state's
policy of ensuring full and equal opportunities for minorities, women, people with disabilities, and Vietnam-era veterans
at all occupational levels of state government.
Well before the adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Governor
fought for legislation which would guarantee people with disabilities the right
to use public transportation. As a result, close to 100% of the buses in New
York City are accessible, subways are being made similarly available, and
paratransit services are obtainable in all five boroughs. Similar efforts are
underway in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Buffalo, Albany, Westchester,
Nassau and Suffolk Counties and other communities throughout the state serviced
by public transit.
The Governor's 1983 proposal to make more polling places accessible to people
with disabilities has resulted in the accessibility of 95% of all polling
localities throughout the state.
New York State's Building Code has been revised, with strong support from the
Governor, to incorporate some of the most stringent accessibility requirements
in the nation.
The Governor approved legislation expanding the Independent Living Center
program to 35 urban and rural communities, and approved a 10% increase in
funding for the program in 1994.
In 1983, the Governor established the Interagency Council for Vocational
Rehabilitation and Related Services to improve the access, as well as the
outcomes, of vocational rehabilitation programs. Over 13,800 people found jobs through these programs in 1993-94 (up 13.6% over the
Under the Governor's Home and Community-Based waiver program, more than 4,500
New Yorkers with disabilities have received services allowing them to live in
their communities rather than institutions.
With the approval of the Community Mental Health Reinvestment Act in 1993,
the Governor assured that funds which became available as a result of the
downsizing of state psychiatric centers are reinvested into community-based
services to support people with a diagnosis of mental illness and their
The Governor approved legislation establishing a special program within the
Health Department for people who have sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury
In 1990, the Governor secured federal funding for a statewide program of
Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID). The
New York TRAID Project is now the largest in the nation.
The first and only program of its kind in the nation, the Games for the
Physically Challenged, created in 1985, offer competition in a variety of
sports for young people with physical challenges. In 1994, over 2,500 program
competitors, 1,500 volunteers, and 30,000 spectators participated in the Games.