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A Progress Report on Fulfilling America's Promise to Americans with Disabilities

Executive Summary

Introduction

Many of the 54 million Americans with disabilities are deprived of their independence due to needless barriers. On February 1, 2001, President Bush announced his New Freedom Initiative to promote the full participation of people with disabilities in all areas of society by increasing access to assistive and universally designed technologies, expanding educational and employment opportunities, and promoting full access to community life. This report details the progress the Administration has made to implement the New Freedom Initiative goal – to ensure full integration of people with disabilities in American society.

Increasing Access Through Technology

The President promised full implementation of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires that all Federal government electronic and information technologies be accessible to individuals with disabilities. In response, the Administration:

The President secured $65 million for Fiscal Year (FY) 2002 for the Department of Education to:

Expanding Educational Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities

The President is determined to ensure that children with disabilities receive appropriate educational opportunities and that youth receive support to transition from school to employment. To achieve these objectives, the President:

Integrating Americans with Disabilities Into the Workforce

To break down barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities, the President has:

Promoting Full Access to Community Life

To increase homeownership rates for people with disabilities, the President supported a

program that permits people with disabilities to use Section 8 rent subsidy vouchers to make mortgage payments to buy their own homes. To increase the availability of accessible and affordable housing for individuals with disabilities, the Administration has:

To facilitate community living for people with disabilities, the President issued an Executive Order directing key Federal agencies to evaluate and recommend ways to expand community-based services for qualified individuals with disabilities. In response, the Administration has:

Recognizing that quality mental health services are critical to increasing community participation for people with psychiatric disabilities, the President announced the formation of his New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. The Commission will study and make recommendations for improving America’s mental health service delivery system.

The President’s FY 2003 budget contains many increases in disability programs that promote community living, housing, transportation, education, and employment. The Administration will work with Congress to see that the budget proposals are enacted.

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