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White House Addressing Disaster Needs of People with Disabilities




Below is  a message from Gian-Carlo Peressutti of the White House Office of Public Liaison, summarizing the Administration's efforts to meet the needs of people with disabilities in the aftermath of last week's terrorist attacks on the U. S.. 


We in the White House share in the grief and sorrow of all Americans. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all our friends, colleagues and associates who have been affected by September 11th's tragic events.

As we come together in this tragic time in history, keep in mind the words of our President: 

"This enemy attacked not just our people, but all freedom-loving people everywhere in the world. The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will rally the world. We will be patient, we will be focused, and we will be steadfast in our determination. America is united. The freedom-loving nations of the world stand by our side. This will be a monumental straggle of good versus evil. But good will prevail."  

Please know also that FEMA and federal emergency services in New York had existing policies for assisting people with disabilities in disaster situations, but that the White  House issued to guidelines to ALL the federal agencies to express the importance of addressing the needs of people with disabilities as quickly as possible. This administration has also been in touch with directors of the New York City Independent Living Centers to identify the urgent needs of people with existing disabilities who

have been affected by the tragedy in New York. The White House subsequently contacted the senior staff at agencies such as HHS, SSA, FEMA, HUD, DOEd, Transportation to relay those needs. The Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities will take on the follow-up with agencies. The task force has also been busy checking 800 numbers and Web sites of emergency operations to assure accessibility. The Bush Administration will continue to assist where it can to help people with existing disabilities continue the services on which they depend and to help people with new injuries and disabilities access services they need to recover from the tragic events of last week.

We here in the White House would like to especially thank Marcie Roth and the entire staff at the National Council on Independent Living and the Presidential Task Force on Employment of People with Disabilities for their steadfast support and assistance. 

Please be safe during this time and may God bless us all.

Gian-Carlo Peressutti

Associate Director

White House Office of Public Liaison




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