Commissioner for Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities makes strides
February 12, 2006 (WLS) -- The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities may not be the largest city department but it serves over half a million residents with disabilities. Last year, the mayor appointed a new commissioner. She wants to take the agency to another level.
Commissioner Karen Tamley is using her advocacy background to promote accessibility, education and awareness about disability issues.
"It's been a great experience so far," said Tamley.
Since her appointment nine months ago, commissioner Tamley has accomplished many projects. "We've have modified 71 homes to be accessible for people with disabilities," said . "We've placed 58 people in jobs over the last year."
"We were very fortunate to be alongside the Mayor and CTA President Frank Kruesi in announcing that Chicago has a fully accessible bus fleet which is, as you know, a huge milestone for the disability community," said Tamley.
During Hurricane Katrina, the Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities provided assistance.
Prior to becoming commissioner, Tamley worked at Access Living, Chicago's Center for Independent Living as the director of programs. Employees - like Joe Albritton - say this is a big plus.
"She comes from a background of advocacy and with that background we're moving forward with a lot of programs and services and projects that we've been sort of waiting to do," said Albritton.
This is only the beginning for commissioner Tamley.
"We definitely want to continue working on issues like voting access and ensuring that more people with disabilities have opportunity to participate in the political progress," said Tamley. "We absolutely are working on some issues related to emergency management, making sure that people with disabilities, their needs are brought to the surface, that there's a mechanisms in place so in the event of any kind of an emergency our first responders are aware of what the specific needs of people with disabilities are."
She wants to remove employment barriers faced by people with disabilities.
"We really want to work to make Chicago, the city of Chicago a model employer for people with disabilities," said Tamley.
It's only been nine months but the commissioner is making great strides in continuing to make Chicago the most accessible city in the world.
If you want learn more about the city of Chicago's Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities call 312/744-7050 voice number and the TTY number is 312/744-4964 or log on to http://egov.cityofchicago.org.
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