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About City Access New York

City Access New York (CANY) promotes lifelong access to educational, vocational and cultural programs for New Yorkers of all abilities. CANY is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that identifies barriers to participation, in schools and in the community, and adapts the content and delivery of programs to the diverse needs of people with disabilities. Through longstanding affiliations with the disability community, cultural and non-profit organizations, state and local agencies and grantmakers, CANY

  • adapts educational and cultural content to the academic, vocational and socialization needs of students with severe disabilities, and
  • provides technical assistance and is a collaborative resource to cultural institutions for improved access.

The Need

There are more than 1,000,000 people with disabilities in NYC. The National Organization on Disability Survey “Community Participation Study,” finds that 40% of people with severe disabilities are not at all involved in their communities and that a lack of community encouragement is the main reason they are not. In NYC alone, the United Way documents 220,000 people with mobility impairments, 322,000 who are blind or have low vision, 345,000 who are hard of hearing/deaf, and 124,000 people with other disabilities. Moreover, the NYC Department of Education serves 140,000 students with disabilities each year, and the lack of appropriately adapted programming for these students is amply documented. This data describes a very large group of people who would, but do not, participate in their communities due to programmatic, physical and attitudinal barriers. CANY addresses these needs.

CANY serves hundreds directly through its programming each year with such innovative programs as inclusive, on-the-water camps for science and seamanship; a citywide science scholarship fund; architectural studies of NYC’s “built environment” for students who are blind; thematic day habilitation programs; and diverse educational and recreational outings to museums, the theater, even horseback riding and sailing for people with significant developmental disabilities. As an information and technical assistance provider, CANY impacts thousands more through collaborative outreach with such diverse organizations as Abilities!, the Museum Access Consortium, and the Urban Park Rangers.