For over 40 years, the City has sought to address issues specific to the needs of the City’s disabled community. In 1975, Mayor Tom Bradley established the City’s first Office of the Handicapped in response to the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Up until 1998, the Office on Disability within the Personnel Department was responsible for the City’s efforts “to assist citizens with disabilities.” However, in 1998, through a Council ordinance (LAAC §8.250), the City’s disability oversight and compliance efforts were consolidated into a stand-alone, Council-controlled City Department, the Department on Disability (DOD).
In 2000, DOD’s responsibilities were expanded to include the activities of the AIDS Coordinator’s Office. Prior to that time, the City’s efforts to provide education and promote the prevention of HIV and AIDS came through the Community Development Department, and before that it came through the Mayor’s Office of AIDS Prevention, as established by Mayor Tom Bradley in 1989.
DOD oversees the City’s compliance with federal and State disability law. The scope of its responsibilities further encompass planning, administering, and implementing activities relevant to the accessibility of all City programs and facilities, providing citywide in-service training and technical assistance for compliance with disability law, administering procedures for resolving accessibility grievances, and serving as a clearing house for information and referrals. The Department also provides services in collaboration with the private sector and community-based entities.
DOD’s approved operating budget for FY 2017-18 is $3.4 million, with 22 authorized positions allocated among four defined programs, or units. While the majority of its budget is allocated for staff, $1.2 million is budgeted for contractual services, which includes the provision of citywide sign-language interpretation services, and for AIDS/HIV prevention services and programs.
It should be noted that a portion of City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding was previously allocated to DOD to support AIDS prevention/education programs as well as the Department’s Community, Outreach, Referrals and Education (CORE) Unit predecessor, the Computerized Information Center (CIC). However, due to the reduction of this CDBG funding and elimination of an allocation to DOD, the Department’s operations are now almost entirely funded by the City’s General Fund.
The Department is organized into four operating units shown below.
DOD Unit Responsibilities
ADA Compliance Unit
The ADA Compliance Unit provides the following:
- Technical assistance and guidance to City Departments on issues related to disability compliance
- Compliance assessments for City programs and facilities, including within the Public Right-of-Way
- Contract coordination for Sign Language/Video Relay Interpreting (SLI/VRI) and Communication Access Real-Time Interpreting (CART)
- Provide program management support to other City departments on significant and long-term civic projects such as the 30-year Sidewalk Repair Program, the 10- year citywide Great Streets Initiative, the 15-year Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) expansion, the 10-year Sixth Street Viaduct project, and the 10-year Autonomous Vehicle effort.
- Oversee and direct operational support for Emergency Management and provide guidance to accommodate persons with disabilities as a mission critical function of Emergency Management policy, procedures, and tactical operations.
- ADA compliance training for City employees and Council staff
- Assessments of complaints and grievances related to potential violations of Disability Laws and practices
In addition, the ADA Compliance Unit provides consultative services to City departments that address department operations as they relate to achieving compliance with disability law. Specific examples of departments and services provided are shown in the table below:
The General Administration Unit supports the financial and budgetary activities of the Department, assists the Executive Director in planning and performing administrative functions, and acts as the administrative support for the City’s Commission on Disability.
Community, Outreach, Referrals, and Education (CORE)
The CORE Unit is DOD’s information and referral section, and provides the following:
- Addresses requests for information from people with disabilities and refers them to appropriate services and programs
- Provides training and technical assistance to public and private entities
- Maintains a database of information and referral resources
- Handles any special cases referred by the Mayor, City Councilmembers, City Departments, and community-based organizations
- Coordinates and participates in various community outreach events to promote disability awareness and department resources
- Plans for the development and execution of emergency management plans, policies, and procedures for the Disabilities Access and Functional Needs (DAFN) populations at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and
- Provides technical assistance to City departments to ensure that individuals with disabilities are afforded meaningful access to City programs, services, and activities using telecommunications products and services as well as emerging technologies.
In addition, the CORE Unit advises other City Departments with operations that may serve persons with disabilities. Examples are noted below:
AIDS Coordinator’s Office
The AIDS Coordinator’s Office (ACO) administers several AIDS/HIV prevention and education programs, including contracting for testing and referrals for testing; oversight of service providers that perform AIDS prevention and outreach services; policy review; and support for various AIDS education and research programs.
The City’s AIDS Coordinator is currently the Co-Chair of the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV. The ACO also advises City officials on State and federal policy matters related to AIDS/HIV issues.