November 2020 MOD Report to MDC
The mission of the Mayor’s Office on Disability (MOD) is to ensure that every program, service, benefit, activity and facility operated or funded by the City and County of San Francisco is fully accessible to, and useable by, people with disabilities.
Director’s Report to the Mayor’s Disability Council (MDC)
Nicole Bohn, Director
Mayor’s Office on Disability
November 20, 2020
Today’s conversation focused on the recommendations of the Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) and the Shared Spaces Program, both directives of COVID-19 response within the City and County of San Francisco. Please do not hesitate to recommend action items related to any part of these presentations, or other items discussed in this report, as follow-up to today’s Public Hearing.
Highlighted here are some of the Mayor’s Office on Disability (MOD) key collaborations in recent weeks, which we hope are impactful to San Francisco Bay Area residents with disabilities.
COVID Response and Recovery: MOD continues to be actively deployed through the COVID Command Center (CCC) on response and recovery efforts. The following highlights activities since the October 2020 Director’s Report to the MDC:
- COVID Command and Public Heath: MOD met with COVID Command and Public Health representatives this month to identify improvements needed to better elevate the experiences and needs of people with disabilities within the City’s COVID-19 response. We spoke of data collection and public messaging needs, as well as the need to be involved in conversations about vaccine distribution as the policies for doing this are developed, so that residents with disabilities are prepared and aware once a vaccine is available. All residents, including people with disabilities, encouraged to get a flu shot if you have not already done so, due to the overlap between COVID and flu symptoms.
MOD also agreed to provide a presentation to COVID Command on unmet needs and gaps that MOD has heard directly from Deaf and disabled residents to date. However, we want to make sure that we are hearing from everyone. The MDC is encouraged to consider inviting members of COVID Command and representatives from the Department of Public Health to an upcoming public meeting as part of this process.
- JFK Drive Closure follow-up: In addition to the public comment provided by phone, MOD and the MDC received over 70 written comments in response to the JFK Drive Closure item that was part of the October 2020 public meeting. MOD is in the process forwarding these comments to those who have asked to see them, and work is underway to add and improve parking, signage and wayfinding as part of the temporary closure accessibility solutions.
MOD is also in the process of reaching out to all members of the public who indicated a desire to be involved in long-term accessibility solutions for JFK Drive. Given the high degree of public engagement on this item, the Council is encouraged to review the comments and determine how you would like to engage with response and recommendations to City leadership.
- Long Term Care Coordinating Council (LTCCC): The LTCCC, a policy recommending body facilitated through Disability and Aging Services (DAS) held its first meeting on COVID response specific to people with disabilities and older adults, which involved hearing the direct experiences of disabled panelists and non-profit leaders. MOD has a seat on this body. The LTCCC will be holding a special meeting in December to determine action items from this conversation.
- Technology Access Needs Assessment: Led by our colleagues at Thriving in Place, MOD and DAS are in the beginning stages of advising a needs assessment process to better understand the current technology needs that San Franciscans with disabilities, as much of our community continues to shelter in place. We anticipate that the assessment will look at access to accessible hardware and software availability, as well as connectivity concerns and critical access to virtual healthcare.
- Virtual Meeting Platform Accessibility: An accessible response in this area is a crucial to the successful engagement of people with disabilities in our public process. MOD is actively engaged in providing technical assistance and recommendations to improve the virtual meeting experience of the Mayor’s Disability Council, and the accessibility of our virtual meetings citywide.
Employment: In November, MOD met with representatives from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) on expanding their initiatives pertaining to hiring people with disabilities. OEWD has indicated a desire to increase engagement with San Franciscans with disabilities as part of COVID response. The MDC may consider inviting the Director of Workforce Development Programs and the Program Manager for Job Seekers with Disabilities to a future public meeting for updates on opportunities for members of Deaf and disabled communities.
Legislative Updates: MDC and members of the public may want to engage with the following:
Autonomous Vehicles (AV) accessibility engagement: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) heard public comment from the Mayor’s Office on Disability in November asking CPUC to consider directing private AV companies to incorporate accessibility in their design process from the beginning, rather than as a response to legislation or litigation. As a result of MOD’s comments combined with formal filings by the SFMTA, the Lighthouse for the Blind and others, CPUC Commissioners adopted revised language directing AV companies to design with accessibility in mind – a huge victory for disability community members.
Transportation Network Company (TNC) legislation: SB 1376: The TNC Access for All Act is in pilot implementation phase. The Mayor’s Office on Disability, SFMTA and the County Transportation Authority (CTA) continue to be parties to the comment proceeding, on the recommendation of the Mayor’s Disability Council
Racial Equity Initiatives: Under Mayoral Directive and in partnership with the City Administrator’s Office (CAO) and the Office of Racial Equity (ORE), MOD is engaged with racial equity work as it intersects with disability issues and the disability community. MOD has been working to elevate the experiences of people with disabilities of color in San Francisco, who comprise the majority of residents who self-identify as having a disability. However, much more needs to be done to adequately represent this intersection. The MDC may consider inviting representatives working on this initiative to an upcoming public meeting so that the concerns of people with disabilities of color can continue to be heard and elevated appropriately within this initiative, especially in the areas of employment, housing, and representative City leadership.
This report posts to the MOD homepage following this meeting. For questions or comments, or to get involved in or provide feedback on any of the items mentioned in this report, please contact MOD at 415 554-6789 or email@example.com. To stay current on opportunities, activities and events pertaining to people with disabilities, please subscribe to our newsfeed at http://sfgov.org/mod/.