Since the creation of the Community Access Monitor Project in 1985, approximately 12,000 people have been trained by the Massachusetts Office on Disability to survey buildings for accessibility and to advocate for compliance.
Architectural, communication, programmatic, and policy barriers prevent people from participating fully in society. People with disabilities cannot assume they can use common public places, such as stores, banks, offices, houses of worship and restaurants, or participate in ordinary activities, such as working, getting an education, visiting friends, and attending community events.
Accessibility means more than ramps for wheelchair access. People with all types of physical, sensory, cognitive and other disabilities must be ensured equal access to facilities, services, and programs. People with disabilities must not be discriminated against through structural barriers, unequal policies and practices, inaccessible means of communication.
The Role of the Community Access Monitor
Community Access Monitors play an essential role in encouraging access improvements. While they do not have legal enforcement authority, monitors have proven to be highly effective advocates. Monitors are a full partner in the implementation process by coordinating advocacy efforts with municipal disability commissions, Independent Living Centers, ADA Coordinators, building inspectors, and others. Being a Community Access Monitor requires knowledge of access laws and regulations, understanding of the range of organizations that have responsibilities under state and federal regulations, skill in surveying, and the ability to be persuasive and persistent. Through this training, you will gain knowledge and skills to become an effective accessibility advocate.