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News Funding available for municipal accessibility improvements

Apply for a Municipal ADA Improvement Grant from the Massachusetts Office on Disability
8/12/2022
  • Massachusetts Office on Disability
Concrete wraparound wheelchair ramp with stainless steel handrail that comes up to a platform. The platform has a yellow truncated dome surface and a large accessible sign.

The application for MOD’s Municipal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Improvement Grant Program is now open. This grant program supports capital improvements specifically dedicated to improving access for persons with disabilities.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any Massachusetts city or town is eligible to apply for funding.

What activities are eligible for funding?

There are two types of grants available:

Project Grants of up to $250,000 are awarded for projects that remove barriers and create and improve accessible features and programmatic access for people with disabilities.

Planning Grants are awarded to assist cities and towns in creating or updating a Self-Evaluation or Transition Plan required under Title II of the ADA.

What activities have been funded in the past?

Past project grants have included adding accessible routes to public parks, beaches, and buildings; purchasing of video conferencing software to improve access to public meetings; Braille printers; assistive listening devices; and much more. Our five-year anniversary post provides an overview and examples of the grant’s impact from 2017-2022.

How should I prepare before I apply?

Before applying, you should thoroughly read through the grant information and instructions on our Municipal ADA Improvement Grant page.

Please read through the Learn about the Municipal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Improvement Grant Program webpage carefully as some sections of the Grant Application have been amended from previous years. For example, MOD is no longer requiring applicants to pledge matching funds as part of their applications.

How can I strengthen my application?

There are three key ways to strengthen your grant application:

  1. Reach out to qualified consultants to obtain an RFP prior to applying, or shortly thereafter. This will determine an accurate cost estimate for your application and assist you in outlining total cost for your project or planning grant. It will also assist the Application and Selection Committee in selecting a diverse and wider pool of awardees.

    MOD has been contacted by multiple vendors who conduct the Planning Grant duties and we have been encouraged to advise towns that they should be putting out RFPs for Planning Grants as soon as they decide they will be applying for a Planning Grant. Please do not wait until you find out if you’ve been awarded or not. Typically, these plans can take time (4-6 months) to complete, and if awarded, a community would need to have a consultant on-board by the end of February at the latest. Sample RFPs are available upon request.

     
  2. Select the “Public Accessibility Best Practice” option (related to the development of a Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan) of the Community Compact Cabinet (CCC). This will add points to your initial application score. Every city or town in the Commonwealth is eligible to apply. 
     
  3. If applying for a project grant, link your project to specific areas of concern outlined in your Transition Plan. This will add points to your initial application score.

What’s the timeline for applying?

The FY23 application period is from August 1, 2022 at 8 AM through September 30, 2022 at 5 PM. All FY23 grants must be submitted using the online application portal.

Awardees will be announced in late November or early December.

What if I have more questions?

For questions relating to the grant program, please contact Evan George, ADA Grant Compliance Coordinator, at Evan.George@mass.gov

Massachusetts Office on Disability 

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) works to ensure that people with disabilities can equally participate in all aspects of life in Massachusetts. MOD serves as a resource to state agencies, municipalities, and members of the general public by providing information, guidance and training on matters concerning disability-related civil rights, equal access, and opportunity.
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