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Accessibility

Accessibility

Image house with accessibility rampThe Westchester County Office for the Disabled functions as an information clearinghouse for people seeking resources and assistance with transportation, housing, removing architectural and communication barriers. Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws are available through this office. The Disability Resource Guide provides information about worthwhile agencies, services, resources and contacts in the fields of social services, transportation, education and disability services.

The office is located at 148 Martine Avenue, Room 102, White Plains, New York 10601. You can contact Evan Latainer, Director, either by e-mail at ehl2@westchestergov.com or by phone at (914) 995-2957.

How can I find an apartment that meets accessible standards?
Westchester County has a database and an Accessible Apartment Building Guide, which rates more than 700 multi-family housing dwellings in Westchester for the quality of accessibility. The guide is intended to help persons in need of accessible housing locate and correctly interpret the survey data, better understand fair housing laws, and locate the resources needed if additional improvements are required to make housing accessible. The database rates each building for its degree of accessibility. The ratings are good, adequate, limited and no access. Westchester County continues to expand its database of rated apartment buildings by rating additional multi-family buildings through a partnership with Westchester Residential Opportunities (WRO).

New York State also provides an online, accessible, fair and affordable housing locator service NYHousingSearch.gov to make it easier for landlords to list and lease properties for free, and for people in need of accessible housing to locate such housing, including a detailed way to list and search for accessibility features.

What does the law say about making physical improvements and modifications to my rental apartment?
The Fair Housing Act gives you the right to make improvements and makes it unlawful for a landlord to refuse a tenant the right to make reasonable modifications at his or her own expense if these improvements are necessary to provide the tenant usage and enjoyment of the property. A landlord may require in the lease that the apartment unit be restored to the condition it was in before modification.

Are there financial assistance programs or organizations that can help modify apartments to be more accessible?
Yes organizations do exist. The Yonkers Family Service Society offers home accessibility improvements, subject to income eligibility, to an apartment or home located in Yonkers, including handrails, grab bars, roll-in showers, wider doorways, ramps, and other modifications. They can be contacted via e-mail or by phone at (914) 963-5118.

The Westchester Access to Home Program, coordinated through WRO, is designed to make houses and apartments of low-income households more accessible for persons in wheelchairs and with other mobility impairment. WRO will work with property owners, both landlords and homeowners to approve proposed work and then contract with local firms to make improvements such as widening doors, lowering kitchen cabinets, bathroom modifications, upgrading exterior ramps, lifts and more.

Additionally, two not-for-profit housing advocacy organizations screen applicants for eligibility and provide necessary social services or case management to maximize self-sufficiency. These are the Westchester Independent Living Center and Westchester Disabled on the Move. Both organizations provide a wide range of services to people with all types of disabilities.

Westchester Independent Living Center
200 Hamilton Avenue, 2nd Floor
White Plains, New York 10601
Phone: (914) 682-3926
E-mail: Info@wilc.org
Westchester Disabled on the Move
984 North Broadway – Suite L-01
Yonkers, New York 10701
(914) 968-4717
E-mail: Info@wdom.org

What can I do if I believe I've been discriminated against because of my disability during my search for an apartment?
The Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988 makes it unlawful to discriminate against persons with handicaps.  Learn more about housing discrimination and what action you can take.