Our Empowered Cities
Empowered Cities launched in 2019 with support from Citi, spearheaded by New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and co-chaired by the Offices of Disability of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.
Select a logo below to learn more
Boston Mayor's Commission for Persons with Disabilities
The Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities (CPWD) leads Boston’s collective work to ensure a diverse city that not only welcomes people of all abilities, but also provides them with an opportunity to create meaningful lives. Its mission is to facilitate full and equal participation for persons with disabilities in all aspects of life within the City of Boston. The Commission focuses on creating systemic access through collaboration with other City Departments, State Agencies, and nonprofit organizations to reduce architectural, procedural, attitudinal, and communication barriers. It also provides training, technical assistance, services, and programming to meet the needs of the disability community.
On the Job Experience Pipeline Program - For the past ten years, the Commission has partnered with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) to create a pipeline to public-sector jobs for Boston residents with disabilities. The On the Job Experience Pipeline Program provides residents who are working with MRC to find gainful employment with a six-week project-oriented job at Boston City Hall based on their skills and interests. The program concludes with a Human Resources Department workshop on city employment opportunities and the application process. Hundreds of Boston residents with disabilities have gained access to city jobs as a result of this initiative.
- Population: 684,379
- Population of Boston residents with disclosed disabilities: 77,558 (or 13%)
- Poverty rate for Boston residents with disabilities: 32.7%
- Jobless rate for Boston residents with disabilities (pre-pandemic): 76%
Chicago Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities
The goal of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (Chicago MOPD) is to foster accessibility, full participation, and equal opportunities for people with disabilities, in all aspects of life, through systemic change, information and referral, education and training, public policy and direct services. MOPD works to ensure the rights of the disability community are equitably represented in all City services, programs, initiatives, and policies. MOPD is striving to make Chicago a world-class, disability friendly city. The City of Chicago welcomes all City residents and nearly 60 million visitors annually, many who have disabilities. Due to the disability community being undercounted in the U.S. Census, the number of people with disabilities served by the City of Chicago and MOPD greatly exceeds the 300,000 people recorded in the U.S. Census.
Mayoral Task Force on Employment and Economic Opportunities for People with Disabilities - Chicago is hard at work implementing the Mayoral Task Force on Employment and Economic Opportunities for People with Disabilities. The priorities include: (1) encouraging economic development through entrepreneurship, including supporting the Business Enterprises Owned by People with Disabilities (BEPD) program to support businesses owners with disabilities, (2) creation of comprehensive job training and placement services to increase disability employment in the City of Chicago, (3) facilitate greater participation of students in higher education for careers and (4) adopting best practices for employment of people with disabilities at the City of Chicago, including through launch of a City Resource Group (CRG) and adoption of voluntary disclosure of disability, and also ensuring people with all types of disabilities can access available employment opportunities. This work is being done with MOPD’s many City partners, along with Empowered Cities funding.
- Population: 2.7 Million
- Population of Chicago residents with disclosed disabilities: 301,612 (or 11.2%)
- Poverty rate for Chicago residents with disabilities: 35.5%
- Jobless rate for Chicago residents with disabilities: 80%
Los Angeles Department on Disability
Since its founding in 1998, the City of Los Angeles Department on Disability (DOD) has been the municipality’s lead agency responsible for ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment, programs, activities, services and facilities as articulated in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related federal and state laws. The DOD accomplishes this by strategically developing and managing partnerships with policy makers, educational institutions, employers, business associations and advocacy groups. Through various initiatives, DOD has consistently worked to make Los Angeles the most accessible big city in America.
COVID, Disability, and Racial Justice - As part of our efforts to address food insecurity, PPE availability, and accessible vaccine programs, DOD and the Emergency Management Department convened community partners for input in the City’s emergency planning, response, recovery efforts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The gathering included a panel discussion and breakouts focused on racial and health disparities, structural racism, structural inequalities, and effective, equitable, and accessible community engagement. https://disability.lacity.org/emergency-preparedness-program
- Population: 3.9 Million
- Population of LA residents with disclosed disabilities: 374,435 (or 12%)
- Poverty rate for LA residents with disabilities: 25.8%
- Jobless rate for LA residents with disabilities (pre-pandemic): 78%
New York City Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities
The NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (NYC MOPD), in operation since 1973, works to ensure that New Yorkers with disabilities can lead happy, healthy and productive lives and works hand-in-hand with other City offices and over 50 agencies to ensure that the voice of the disabled community is represented, and that City programs and policies address the needs of the nearly one million New Yorkers with disabilities. NYC MOPD releases an annual report on the quality of life for New Yorkers with disabilities, AccessibleNYC.
EmpoweredNYC – The EmpoweredNYC initiative, funded by Citi, employs a multi-strategy approach, led by the City of New York, to improve the financial health and stability of people with disabilities and their families through broad community engagement, specialized training for financial counselors, educational materials for individuals, and free, professional, one-on-one financial counseling. Learn more about Empowered NYC.
- Population: 8.4 Million
- Population of NYC residents with disclosed disabilities: 905,606 (or 11%)
- Poverty rate for NYC residents with disabilities: 34.7%
- Jobless rate for NYC residents with disabilities (pre-pandemic): 78%
San Francisco Mayor's Office on Disability
Serving as the City and County of San Francisco’s overall ADA Coordinator, the mission of the Mayor’s Office on Disability is to ensure that every program, service, benefit, activity and facility operated or funded by the City and County of San Francisco is fully accessible to, and useable by, people with disabilities. In addition, the Mayor’s Office on Disability supports San Francisco’s Emergency Management efforts, the members of the Mayor’s Disability Council, and works to connect San Francisco’s 94,000 residents with disabilities to local resources and support.The Mayor’s Office on Disability works in close collaboration with San Francisco’s Department of Disability and Aging Services and the Office of Financial Empowerment.
Empowered San Francisco Technology Needs Assessment — Many San Francisco residents with disabilities lack access to broadband Internet, devices, and the digital support needed to access essential services, information, and online healthcare, and to stay consistently and meaningfully connected. In response, San Francisco is conducting a city-wide survey to understand the technology barriers and needs of residents with disabilities and older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Results of this survey—conducted in partnership with Thriving in Place and a 14-member Community Advisory Coalition—will be shared with the Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) and the Mayor's Office on Disability (MOD) to help inform the City's strategy for expanding access to technology resources and bridging the digital divide.
- Population: 874,961
- Population of SF residents with disclosed disabilities: 87,026 (or 11%)
- Poverty rate for SF residents with disabilities: 24.9%
- Jobless rate for SF residents with disabilities (pre-pandemic): 78%