As times change, we change too. We, over the decade, have recognized several key issues of deaf advocacy in the course of our agency's mission. The top 3 key issues faced by the deaf communities are communication/access equipment, education, and housing. Nothing else seems to matter in the deaf community nowadays. Gone are the many traditional elements of deaf advocacy. This reality is being echoed in other states like Florida, Colorado, and Wisconsin to name a few.
In the past 2 years, we've been addressing communication/access equipment needs through our TOP-RATE ( T-each O-ur P-eople to R-euse A-daptive T-echnology E-veryday ) program. This is a very successful program and we've served thousands of people worldwide already. We are having our first accessible technology expo next year. Http://www.deafadvocacy.org/events/expo2009/expo2009.html and this is where we'll show everyone the key elements of our TOP-RATE program.
Last Friday we took the big step in addressing the key housing issues the deaf community faces. We opened our 2nd group home and the response was overwhelming. We have people in our group home hailing from as far as Indiana and Kentucky. Instead of fighting for accessible housing, we PROVIDE it. So its now at the point whenever we have a client with a housing complaint, we send them to our group home. While it may appear that we're taking advantage of the foreclosure crisis, were using this opportunity to help the deaf people who are oftentimes left out or relegated to second class citizenship when it comes to equal housing opportunities. The government agencies, particularly HUD, have done poorly insofar ensuring equal housing access for deaf people and that's a void we're filling right now.
The next step is to put our education model into action. Established deaf education models that have been infiltrated with ASL zealots who don't believe in inclusivity are being phased out. Our model is total inclusivity. We will continue to push for inclusivity in deaf education and that may include bullying the ASL zealots out of the deaf education system if we have to.