2018 - Volume 5
Disability Rights New York (DRNY) is the Protection & Advocacy System and Client Assistance Program for persons with disabilities in New York State. DRNY advocates for the civil and legal rights for New Yorkers with disabilities.
DRNY Sues Dollar General Stores Over Inaccessibility
Picture of Dollar General Store
Being able to shop for the items you need in a store should be easy. Yet, for Jennifer Rossman, getting into and around her Dollar General Store in her wheelchair was impossible. Large stocking carts, cardboard displays and merchandise was stacked in aisles and outside of the store’s entrance. 

There are 325 Dollar General Stores in New York State and DRNY found accessibility problems in 75 of 83 stores we surveyed. These obstacles prevent people with mobility disabilities from shopping. Jennifer has joined with DRNY to file a class action lawsuit against Dollar General for failing to make their New York stores accessible to people with mobility disabilities. 
DRNY Sues Landlord for Denying Access Ramp
Wheelchair Ramp Sign
Adding accessible features, like ramps and wider doorways, into a home allows a person who needs them to remain in their home. For Donna Rubin, a ramp means that she can independently leave her home whenever she wants. Ms. Rubin has spent the last seven years trying to get approval from her landlord to build the ramp.

Her landlord has refused, even though she secured funding and got approval from two different architects, including one hired by the landlord. Ms. Rubin has spent over $30,000 of her own money paying someone to lift her out of her home and now she is out of money. She wasn’t even able to go to her fiancé’s bedside prior to his death because she was trapped in her home. DRNY has sued the landlord for discrimination and violating the Fair Housing Act.
Win for NYC Tenants With Disabilities
Picture of NYS Court of Appeals
For Irene Politis, getting an accessible entrance for her wheelchair turned into an eight year legal battle which ended last month at New York’s highest court. The case started when her landlord refused to install an accessible entrance and ramp to her apartment. 

DRNY joined the case by filing a brief supporting Ms. Politis arguing that to refuse an accommodation the landlord must prove hardship. The Court of Appeals found that the landlord discriminated against Ms. Politis by refusing her accommodation request.  
Service Animals Are Welcome!
Did you know that service animals are welcome in any place of public accommodation? That means places like schools, restaurants, stores, and housing providers must allow service animals. This remains one of the most misunderstood issues and often requires our advocacy or even legal action. Here are two success stories:
Service Dogs in Shelters
Service Animal Louie
Janadette Cruz had been sleeping on the streets of New York City with her service dog Louie. When she tried to move into a NYC homeless shelter, she was told that Louie was not welcome. She suffered for nearly six months without Louie and then reached out to DRNY for help. As a result of our intervention, Janadette and Louie are now living together safely in the shelter.
Service Dogs in Schools
School Dog Sign
The Hilton School District had a rule that only service dogs “certified by an accredited agency” would be allowed on the premises. Service dogs are not required to be certified and this rule violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. DRNY educated the District regarding its obligations under the ADA. As a result, the District has revised their policy and fixed the signs posted on the District’s properties.
Service Animal Fact Sheets
Fact Sheet Graphic
Want to learn more about service and support animals? DRNY has helpful Fact Sheets on service and support animals to help you understand the difference, and know your rights and responsibilities, in housing, businesses and schools:    

DRNY has created over 50 helpful Fact Sheets on various disability advocacy topics. Please see our website for a complete list:  www.drny.org.
DRNY On The Move!
This month DRNY participated in the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Rochester and the CDPHP Workforce Challenge in Albany. We proudly wore our Empire State of Rights shirts with a vibrant rainbow colored scheme. DRNY is extremely proud of our employees both on the job and in the community.
Albany CDPHP Workforce Challenge
Rochester J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge
Have a Passion for Advocating for People with Disabilities?
Do you know someone with a passion for advocating for people with disabilities? DRNY is growing and we encourage you to share the news far and wide. 

DRNY is currently seeking attorneys, advocates, interns, and more. Please refer them to DRNY’s employment opportunities page at http://www.drny.org/employment-opportunities.html for our open positions. 
If You Shop at AmazonSmile – DRNY Gets a Donation!

Amazon.com makes it so easy to support the work we do here at DRNY! Visit AmazonSmile and choose Disability Rights New York - You shop - Amazon.com gives!!

Share Your Story
Graphic for Casting Call
We are looking for New Yorkers with disabilities who wish to share their personal experiences and concerns in our video series. 

If you or someone you know wishes to share their story, please send a brief description and a headshot to:  mystory@drny.org

NOTE: Do NOT send to this email if you need assistance. Please call 1-800-993-8982 or email intake@drny.org if you want to open a case.
Open Call For Artists
Call For Artists Graphic

We are looking for art to feature in our campaigns throughout 2018. This is an open call for all media (paintings, sketches, photos, videos, projection, or digital art).

Please submit your work to: submissions@drny.org
DRNY is supported by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration; U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration; and, the Social Security Administration. This Newsletter does not represent the views, positions or policies of, or the endorsements by, any of these federal agencies.