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Partnership to provide increased services and advocacy
People Inc. is pleased to announce that Deaf Access Services, which previously became an affiliate in February 2019, has now merged with the organization. Now a program of People Inc., Deaf Access Services will continue to provide the same high quality services for the Deaf and hard of hearing community throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester region, with potential to expand further.
As natural partners sharing a common mission to serve the community, the merger was part of the long-term plan when Deaf Access Services affiliated with People Inc. “This partnership will allow our services and advocacy to grow and continue to strengthen over time, delivering results for Deaf people and businesses who utilize our supports,” said Jodie Chibi, director of Deaf Access Services, a program of People Inc.
In 2022, Deaf Access Services experienced substantial growth, including: three times more service requests compared to 2021, an addition of more than 250 new business accounts and an increase of remote interpreting services. The program also provided weekly American Sign Language (ASL) classes for approximately 108 first- and second-grade students, as well as Deaf Cultural Competency Training for agencies across Western New York, among other initiatives.
The merger with People Inc. has been seamless with no interruption of services. “Together, we look forward to achieving great things and even more advocacy for Deaf and hard of hearing people,” said David Wantuck, community engagement specialist and ASL coordinator. “We will continue providing services to you just as usual.”
Office space has also expanded for Deaf Access Services. In addition to its main office, located in the Tri-Main Center at 2495 Main Street in Buffalo, there is shared office space at Heart Love & Soul, 924 Niagara Avenue in Niagara Falls, along with offices at the People Inc. Greater Rochester Region Headquarters, 1860 Buffalo Road in Rochester. This expansion will assist in supporting community needs and allow the team to continue growing the program’s interpreting services to help work towards the goal of creating communities that are fully accessible.
Deaf Access Services responds to the interests of people who are Deaf and hard of hearing by promoting communication access, awareness and opportunities in the greater community. The program provides: In-person interpreting, Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), ASL classes, community services navigation, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services, assistive technology supports, employment placement and specialized Deaf refugee services.
People Inc., a multispecialty non-profit health and human services agency, provides programs and services to more than 12,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families and older adults throughout Western New York and the Greater Rochester region. Since 1970, People Inc. has assisted people to achieve greater degrees of independence and productivity. With nearly 4,000 employees, People Inc. is one of the region’s largest employers. To learn more, visit people-inc.org, follow People Inc. on Facebook or Twitter @PeopleIncNews.