New Freedom Initiative

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Former President Bush announced the New Freedom Initiative on February 1, 2001, as part of a nationwide effort to remove barriers to community living for people with disabilities. Today, there are more than 54 million Americans living with a disability, representing a full 20% of the U.S. population. Almost half of these individuals have a severe disability affecting their ability to see, hear, walk or perform other basic functions of life. In addition, there are more than 25 million family caregivers and millions more who provide aid and assistance to people with disabilities.

The New Freedom Initiative is a comprehensive plan that represents an important step in working to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to learn and develop skills, engage in productive work, make choices about their daily lives and participate fully in community life. The Initiative's goals are to:

  • Increase access to assistive and universally designed technologies;
  • Expand educational opportunities;
  • Promote home ownership;
  • Integrate Americans with disabilities into the workforce;
  • Expand transportation options; and
  • Promote full access to community life.

The initiative's specific proposals that directly involve HHS include: promoting full access to community life through swift implementation of the Olmstead Supreme Court decision; integrating Americans with disabilities into the workforce through swift implementation of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (TWWIIA); and the creation of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.

Foreword by Former President George W. Bush about the New Freedom Initiative

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Last Updated: 6/11/15