The Great Seal of the Town of Saugus, Massachusetts

The Town of Saugus
Commission on Disabilities

The Community Access Monitor Project


Since the creation of the Community Access Monitor Project in 1985, over 1300 people have been trained by the Massachusetts Office on Disability to survey buildings in their communities for accessibility and to advocate for compliance with the law, and over 650 people have been certified as Community Access Monitors.

In past years, the Community Access Monitor Project emphasized the enforcement of the Architectural Access Board's Rules and Regulations. Now, with the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act in effect, requirements for access have broadened to include communication and programmatic as well as architectural accessibility. As the scope of accessibility legislation has broadened, so has the role of the Community Access Monitor.

This page contains information on access legislation and provides a step-by-step process for conducting assessments and encouraging voluntary compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Architectural Access Board Rules and Regulations.

The Community Compliance Campaign

The Massachusetts Office on Disability has received a generous grant from the Boston Foundation to fund advocacy work in the Boston Area. This "Community Compliance Campaign" is a part of the Community Access Monitor Project.


Architectural, communication, programmatic, and policy barriers prevent people from participating fully in society. People with disabilities cannot assume they can use common public places, such as stores, banks, offices, and restaurants, or participate in ordinary activities, such as working, getting an education, visiting friends, and attending community events. Most non-disabled people take these freedoms for granted.

"Accessibility" means much more than ramps for wheelchair access. People with all types of physical, sensory, cognitive and other disabilities must be ensured equal access to facilities, services, and programs. People with disabilities must not be discriminated against through structural barriers, unequal policies and practices, or inaccessible means of communication and dissemination of information.

The Role of the Community Access Monitor

Community Access Monitors play an essential role in encouraging access improvements. While they do not have legal enforcement authority, monitors have proven to be highly effective advocates. By coordinating advocacy efforts with municipal disability commissions, Independent Living Centers, ADA coordinators, building inspectors, and others, monitors make an enormous contribution to the implementation process.

Being a Community Access Monitor requires knowledge of access laws and regulations, understanding of the range of organizations that have responsibilities under both state and federal regulations, skill in surveying and advocacy, and the ability to be persuasive and persistent.

Getting Involved

Accessibility in Massachusetts is mandated by complex and far-reaching state and federal laws, whose enforcement depends upon the active involvement of the disability community. Get involved; every individual makes a difference. The law is behind you. Through your efforts, and the collective effort of the Community Access Monitor Project and the whole advocacy movement, you will help bring about change.

Community Access Monitor
Rights And Responsibilities

  1. Have the right to public information.
  2. Have the right to use designation as a Massachusetts Office on Disability Community Access Monitor in your advocacy work.
  3. Have the right to call the Massachusetts Office on Disability for consultation and questions.
  4. Have the responsibility to be knowledgeable about the intent and scope of both state and federal regulations.
  5. Have the responsibility to notify the organization in writing of interest in assessing its accessibility and to follow up with a phone call.
  6. Have the responsibility to complete surveys, advocate for voluntary compliance, and fill out and file complaint forms when appropriate.
  7. Have the responsibility to decline requests for advice in situations where you lack expertise.
  8. Have the responsibility to use your designation as a Community Access Monitor only in a volunteer capacity.