Well, I'm Lezlie Briggs with the City of Charlotte, Community Relations Department with a focus in on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Welcome. Thank you. Thank you. We are excited to be here with you all right now, and so we're going to start off by introducing you guys, because you know, not everybody knows who Altura Solutions is, I think the name has been buzzing in the city a little bit. So let's go with you guys who is Altura Solutions and tell us why you are here.
My name is Jesus Lardizabal. And I'm with Altura solutions. And we're an accessibility firm out of Austin, Texas.
I'm Elaine Anderson also with Altera and all accessibility is all we do. So we we've been enjoying your city for the last 10 months or so on this project. And it's been a great journey so far.
Yeah, the journey it's been in for those who don't know, just to give them a little high level, the city of Charlotte does have an Americans with Disabilities Act program. And within our program, which is housed in the community relations department, we oversee all the federal requirements within the ADA, knowing that there's five titles, the city of Charlotte around this transition plan is focusing on title two, we are looking at some Title One aspects when you look at policies and procedures, but main focus is around the title two. So let's talk about what this looks like for the city. When we look at title two, within the ADA and the work that you're doing here. Let's let's talk about a little bit about that.
Sure. So this the city of Charlotte has certain requirements placed on them by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is a civil rights law. And so we're here to perform a self evaluation and ensure that the city is not providing barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities. And that includes looking at city owned facilities and looking at the city's programs, services and activities. And we analyze those and again, with the perspective is to make sure there are no barriers to access,
pretty nice way of looking at how the city operates and runs their programs, services and activities, and even how we look at our facilities. So can we talk about what the inspections look like in our facilities? And what this means when you say facilities? Like, what are they in?
Sure. So you're we're looking at city owned facilities, our scope is limited to those city owned facilities, so fire, police department, government buildings, and that's basically our scope. And we go in and look at your facilities and assess them, and try and find any barriers that would be present for people with disabilities. We document those barriers, and then we come back and discuss with the city. Some of the best methods to remove these barriers,
samples of those barriers would be your ramps to get into the facility. Okay. Your restrooms, your drinking fountains. Anything architecturally that would be a barrier for someone with a disability.
So when we talk about facilities, I know you mentioned like our fire stations and police departments, but what about the arts? What about park and rec? Does this is that included within your work? Or is it just something that we don't worry about the arts and we don't worry about park and rec.
So we're looking at city owned facilities, programs and services. So parks, for example, are a county responsibility. So that is not part of the scope. Another example is school district facilities. Those are not part of our scope, since the city really has no purview on those facilities. So we are sticking strictly to city owned facilities. Now we do look at facilities such as performing arts centers, they're owned by the city museums owned by the city itst just NASCAR are meant. So our focus is strictly on facilities. We are also not looking at the public right away. So sidewalks and curb ramps. The city is currently doing another transition focused on that element. But for us are the focus is city owned facilities. Yep.
Nice. Nice. And that include that's almost about 200 facilities that we've been assessing or inspecting for, for compliance. And it's taken us about eight months to do so we're almost done.
200 facilities I didn't know the city had that any built in it. We're a big city. Quick, we have a lot of footprint. But 200 that's when you guys have been busy,
right? Yeah. But we got to know the city, which we've been enjoying. Yeah, very good to see lots of ins and outs of buildings. Alright, sounds
great. So when we talk about our departments, I heard you say that you're looking at our programs, services and activities. Can we talk about what that looks like when you are assessing and evaluating our programs, services and activities? What does that mean for us?
Sure. So when we started the project, we came in and interviewed staff from every department. And the whole goal is to get to know the city get to know how the city operates. And so by doing that, we then start picking programs. services from staff as we explore what they do and how they do it, then we take that program or service and analyze it. And just like a facility can present barriers to access, so can a program or service. So for example of an application to a city service, if that application is not accessible, then it limits who can apply to it. So we will look at those programs and services, and provide our opinion as to whether there's, there's a possible barrier for people with disabilities.
And some examples of those would be how a resident would pay utility bill, you know, if there's could go to the facility to pay it in person, or if you could pay it on the website, you know, any opportunity for a resident to engage with the city, for what the city provides to that resident, that also includes like your youth after school programs, any program that the fire or police put on. So it's a really huge range of awesome things that the city provides for its residents that were really dissecting to see if it's if it's accessible for all
nice, so accessible for all i like that, that is our theme, and in our mission around this transition plan is that we want to ensure our residents have access and that it includes everyone, and that we're not eliminating anyone's have access to our program services, activities and facilities. So this work is really huge. And it's really, really amazing. And so we're excited, excited that you all are here. I know personally, I've been able to work really, really closely with you guys. And it's been amazing. And I know some our department leads and you know, we have a really big team within our ADA program. They have over 100 plus liaisons, which is really big. You know, we have an amazing support within our department. So I'm really, really excited about what this transition plan outline for us. So can we talk about a little bit about what a transition plan is, because I know we keep using the word. But let's talk about what that is and how that looks for the city and what that means.
Sure. So a transition plan involves a self evaluation that we discussed facilities, programs and services. But it also lets the city know where they are, it's a snapshot of where the city is in terms of accessibility. And then the city has an opportunity to then lay out a budget and a schedule to come in and program access to come into compliance with the requirements, the federal requirements. And so we will work with the city and say, here's where you are right now, here's where you need to get to, and then allow that or work with the city to create that budget and schedule. And on how to get there. It also has a person who is assigned, who is responsible for implementation of the transition plan. And then another key component is public input of the transition plan. So we are seeking public input. And it's always welcome. We want this plan to be reflective of the community and what the community wants and needs. And then the transition plan. Long after we're gone, the city is still going to be working on it, this transition plan will continue to be a living document that will guide the city towards accessibility. In fact, every year the city must produce a report showing progress on the transition plan.
So it's it's a huge document, right. And it's not something that's like stamped, and it's finished now. But it's something that the city will continue to work on and continue to build on, as we build new buildings, as we create new programs and services and activities is something that we will continue to incorporate into this plan and Correct,
correct. It's a living document. And the ultimate goal is to make it part of the city's workflow. So that accessibility is no longer a separate item to be considered. It just becomes part of what the city does. The facilities and the budget will become part of the city's planning process to moving forward. And that is the ultimate goal make accessibility just another part of how the city operates. So that from now on the city meets those requirements and just stays on with being one of the more accessible cities in the country.
Right. And that's something that we're looking forward to. We're looking for it from coming from a checkbox of like, hey, check, we have this check, we have that check, but more so no, we are doing this because this is giving everyone access to everything that we have available. And we're just moving from a checklist to now is a culture. It's incorporated in our, as you say, our workflow, and the way we see things and view things as disability impacts us. All right. It's not just at birth as it's not just in your later days. It could just be you know, break your ankle, right and today, you're a person who's temporary with a disability. However, we want to ensure the city remains accessible. In offer all programs to everyone, Correct, correct. That's
right, we're also a part of our scope is to provide some training. So we've incorporated a really large, hefty training module for the employees, again, to just shift that culture to get them thinking, all the time accessibility is an important thing. It's not that checkbox. And just to be more mindful about it. So we're excited to get all the liaisons trained up. And it just be a normal part of their daily life of thinking of everybody.
And everybody loves training. Everyone loves training, we love learning something new. And what's really cool, as you know, we've worked really, really close. So you know, we get to train the trainer. So it's not like you just train one person, and it sits on a shelf like this is something that people can grow with and, and build on. And it's not just Oh, one day, and that's existed aside, but now more and more people because if not mistaken, the city has like over 7000 employees. So you know, we can't turn all of them at the same time, but they were able to have the access and opportunity to train the trainer's right. So you know, we we've talked about what this ADA transition plan is the work that you're doing here. So let's talk about how can I get engaged, like, Here I am a residents seeing it on the Gov channel, right? Hearing this amazing chat that we're doing around ADA, but how can I engage with you guys? Like, how can I find out more information.
So you know, the, one of the best ways is kind of putting it back on you contact, you know, Lezlie, and get engaged through there. But the best, or the most important thing for us to get right now is feedback and input, we're going to make several recommendations. But we don't want to make them in a vacuum without input from the public. And so if you have a specific opinion about accessibility, where you can, or maybe have an issue of getting to a program or service that's important to you, that could use some improvement, we need to hear about it. Or if you use a program or service that you really enjoy, and don't want it to change, then let us know that as well. So public input on priorities on with the programs and facilities that you use would be very helpful.
Nice. And you're right, you're putting it back on me. I like that. And you're right, you can definitely find that information on our website WWW dot Charlottenc dot gov, backslash ADA. And on that website, you know, our residents will be able to locate where they're able to do ongoing input, like you said to a is back on me as far as where they're going to get all that information. And so on our website, it will have all the detailed information about all our upcoming open houses that we're going to have around the transition plan as well as where they can locate the survey, to be able to go online to take the survey if they're unable to attend, and also opportunity where they can sign up to receive updated information on the city of Charlotte and the ADA program and what we have going on and where we're at today, right. So Altura. Thank you. Yes, thank you. Thank you for
partnering with us to help get the word out about this project. We're really excited to be here.
Yeah, we're super excited. We know we got a 20 month project ahead of us. But we got a lot of work to do. And with you all support and help the city is going to be a better city, a city where we're equal access for all and everyone can enjoy our city. So thank you, thank you appreciate it.
To learn more about what the city is doing and provide valuable feedback, please visit us online at Charlottenc dot gov slash ADA. Connect with us and together we will build a stronger community for all.