NJ Human Services Opens Communication Access Grants to Help Make Communities More Inclusive for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind Individuals
February 11, 2022
(TRENTON) – Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced New Jersey counties can now begin applying for grants to promote communication and language access for deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind residents of all ages.
“We are proud to make these funds available to county government to expand communication and language access for deaf and hard of hearing individuals across New Jersey,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “We encourage counties to learn about this exciting opportunity and apply for these grants.”
The $400,000 program will be funded through Human Services’ Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Award amounts will vary and counties can receive a maximum award of $75,000.
“Enhancing accessibility to community-based services, vital health information and public services is critical for deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind residents, and we are proud to help do so by making these grants available,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “We look forward to receiving letters of interest and continue our work in creating a more inclusive New Jersey for all.”
Counties may use the funding to implement the following initiatives:
- Installation of hearing induction loops that improves hearing and communication for individuals with hearing aids;
- Installation of public videophones to help individuals who use sign language to communicate and associated connectivity costs;
- Expanding access to sign language interpreter services;
- Expanding access to captioning services which helps improve access to content for those who have a hearing loss; and
- Development of community, educational, or healthcare-related programming or services that are accessible in American Sign Language.
Interested counties are encouraged to consider several initiatives when applying. Applicants should define the settings in their counties where increased access will be available as a result of this funding. Settings to consider include county libraries, local community centers, independent living centers, theaters, airports, non-profit organizations focused on health equity, county jails, municipal and county government agencies, parent-run organizations and county courthouses.
Counties that propose projects that are innovative and long-lasting will be prioritized for funding. Selected applicants will be fully responsible for coordinating and distributing grant funds.
“We urge New Jersey counties to apply for this funding and help strengthen our ongoing efforts to create a better quality of life for all New Jerseyans. This can be achieved by installing public videophones at county libraries or expanding interpreter services at local community organizations,” Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Executive Director Elizabeth Hill said. “We look forward to seeing what counties will propose to help create a lasting impact for deaf and hard of hearing residents throughout New Jersey.”
Interested applicants must be a county government agency in New Jersey. Applications can be submitted on behalf of the county human service director, county executive, county commissioner, or other relevant positions. Applications must contain a proposed estimated budget, project description, and implementation timeline.