CONGRESSMAN JOE MORELLE VOTES TO ENHANCE RESOURCES FOR THE DEAF-BLIND COMMUNITY
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle and his colleagues in the House passed legislation to reauthorize the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth Adults (HKNC) through 2023. The legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Morelle, would help provide essential resources and training to support the deaf-blind population nationwide.
“For more than 50 years, the Helen Keller National Center has been critical to providing services and expanding opportunity for the deaf-blind community,” said Rep. Joe Morelle. “My district is home to the highest per capita population of deaf or hard-of-hearing adults younger than 65 in the nation, many of whom benefit from the valuable resources the Center provides. I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation and ensure the Hellen Keller National Center can continue its long history of helping the deaf-blind community gain independence.”
The Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) was first authorized by Congress in 1967 and helps to enable people who are deaf-blind to live, work, and thrive in the community of their choice.
HKNC currently supports regional representatives based in Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Georgia, Ohio, Texas, Kansas, Utah, California, and Washington. It has also created 6 new deaf-blind specialist positions that will provide additional assistance and support to deaf-blind persons in Ohio, Washington, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Iowa, and Florida, and plans to grow to 20 specialists located around the country.
This reauthorization will help KHNC encourage the maximum personal development of any individual who is deaf-blind; enhance rehabilitation and vocational training; conduct research, development programs, and demonstrations to strengthen communication techniques and improve delivery of services; and develop and maintain a national registry to identify the deaf-blind population and their needs.