Department of Public Works

Disability Advisory Commission (DAC)

Accessible Fresno Small Business Initiative

People with disabilities want to come to your business, but can they?

Accessible Fresno Small Business Initiative (Accessible Fresno) is a proactive program to encourage businesses like yours within the City of Fresno to take steps toward construction-related accessibility compliance.

Accessible Fresno provides:

  • Accessibility compliance workshops
  • FREE Certified Access Specialist (CASp) inspection for eligible small businesses
ADA and Businesses

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination of individuals with disabilities and requires facilities to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Businesses must remove barriers to access that are readily achievable. This means easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. The ADA contains no grandfathering provisions.

Your business may be sued under the ADA, CA Disabled Persons Act, or Unruh Civil Rights Act. Lawsuit-related costs usually exceed the construction costs to make your business accessible. If you do not have a plan for access, your business will be responsible for making the required improvements to correct violations, legal fees, and statutory damages.

CASp Benefits

A CASp can inspect your business for construction-related accessibility issues, provide an inspection report and Disability Access Inspection Certificate, and information to help you make a reasonable compliance schedule. Having a CASp inspection and working on the compliance schedule show your business’ commitment to access AND provide legal benefits!

Compare the difference if your business receives an access complaint lawsuit.

Without CASp Inspection:

  • Legal fees mount; liable party pays
  • Statutory damages of $4,000 per occurrence
    • May be reduced to $2,000 if violations corrected within 30 days (< 25 employees)
  • Violations must be corrected
  • Settlement does not protect from future lawsuits

With CASp Inspection:

  • “Qualified Defendant” status  – legal fees stop
  • Statutory damages reduced
    • $0 statutory damages within 120 days of inspection (< 50 employees, intent to correct on file with DSA); or
    • $1,000/per issue if corrected within 60 days
  • Expedited review of construction documents submitted for permit

To learn more about the CASp program and benefits, visit the Division of the State Architect and the California Commission on Disability Access.

What is Accessible Fresno?

Accessible Fresno provides training and gives eligible small businesses a CASp inspection at NO COST! How it works:

CASp firm works directly with business to provide:

Business submits application to participate
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Program administrator reviews application selects participants
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Administrator connects business with CASp firm
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CASp firm works directly with business to provide:
Agreement between business and CASp firm CASp Inspection Confidential Inspection Report and Certificate Support Services
Eligibility

There is NO COST to the business to apply or participate in Accessible Fresno. Eligible businesses meet the following criteria:

  • Small for-profit business ($1 million or less annual gross revenue) located in the City of Fresno
  • Current valid business tax certificate
  • Place of Public Accommodation
  • Has not yet been served a summons and complaint of a construction-related accessibility claim for the property site
  • Public use area 4,000 square feet or less
  • Individual business site (not a multi-business complex)
  • No outstanding code violations or assessments on record
Workshops

The City of Fresno partners with a variety of business partners to provide educational workshops and discussions forums for the business community. Business Partners:

Next opportunities:

SAVE THE DATE!
November 14, 2018
8 am – 1 pm
Falls Event Center
4105 W Figarden Dr
Fresno, CA 93722

Restaurant Industry Listening Forum Flier

California Commission on Disability Access and the City of Fresno are partnering to host a Restaurant Industry Listening Forum. This educational event will bring together restaurant owners, members of the disability community and experts on construction-related access to talk about how to be welcoming of patrons with disabilities and prevent access lawsuits. The CCDA will be introducing their Restaurant Industry Toolkit to assist businesses.

To request training opportunities for your business or organization, contact Shannon M. Mulhall at (559) 621-8716 or Shannon.Mulhall@fresno.gov

Financial Assistance

Disabled Access Credit
The Disabled Access Credit provides a non-refundable credit for small businesses that incur expenditures for the purpose of providing access to persons with disabilities. An eligible small business is one that earned $1 million or less or had no more than 30 full-time employees in the previous year. Businesses may take the credit each year they incur access expenditures, up to $10,000 each year.

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Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction
The Architectural Barrier Removal Tax Deduction encourages businesses of any size to remove architectural and transportation barriers to the mobility of persons with disabilities and the elderly. Businesses may claim a deduction of up to $15,000 a year for qualified expenses. Businesses may use the Disabled Tax Credit and the architectural/transportation tax deduction together in the same tax year if the expenses meet the requirements of both sections.

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CalCAP/ADA
The California Capital Access Program (CalCAP) Americans with Disabilities Act (CalCAP/ADA) Financing Program assists small businesses with financing the costs to alter or retrofit existing small business facilities to comply with the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Loans may be used for physically altering or retrofitting existing small business facilities of less than 10,000 square feet, if the costs are necessary and allocable for compliance with the ADA.

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Access + Capital
Access Plus Capital (formerly Fresno CDFI) participates in the CalCAP/ADA financing program. Access Plus Capital provides financing, training, and asset development services for low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs.

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Opportunity Fund
Opportunity Fund is a non-profit microfinance organization that helps small business owners gain access to responsible and transparent capital by providing easy-to-get, fast, and affordable loans. Opportunity Fund is non-FICO based and lends from $2,600 to $250,000.

This is solely informative and should not be treated as legal advice or as an endorsement of any of the listed service providers.

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