ADA National Network Learning Session: One year after Hurricane Harvey, How is Houston Making Its Disaster Planning Disability Inclusive?
Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area about one year ago. In this presentation, Maria Town of the Houston Mayor's Office on Disability takes a look back at the inclusive planning Houston has done in preparing for emergencies, the success of the planning during the event, and the recovery issues for people with disabilities. She will also review response tools that were unsuccessful during the hurricane and look at new ones that can impact readiness, preparedness, and resiliency.
- Learn how the disability community has been incorporated into emergency management planning in Houston.
Maria Town is the Director of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities for the City of Houston. In this role, she advocates for the rights and needs of citizens with disabilities, serves as a liaison between the mayor, city council, city departments and other public and private entities on matters pertaining to people with disabilities in Houston, and establishes local and national partnerships to advance inclusion. Her most recent work has focused on Hurricane Harvey response, recovery, and expanding supported employment options in Houston. Town is the former Senior Associate Director in the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement where she managed the White House's engagement with the disability community and older Americans. Prior to this, Town was a Policy Advisor at the Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). While at ODEP, Town led and coordinated numerous efforts to improve employment outcomes for youth and young adults with disabilities. A recipient of the ARC of Greater Houston's Achievement Award, she was recently named to the Susan Daniel's Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.