Department of Human Services | Christie Administration Set to Distribute Communications Technology to People with Combined Vision and Hearing Loss
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NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired will lead the New Jersey program
TRENTON - Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Commissioner Jennifer Velez today announced that New Jersey residents who have combined loss of hearing and vision soon may be able to connect more effectively with family, friends and the larger community using tools offered through “iCanConnect/NJ”. The program is a two-year federally-funded pilot project through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
 
 
“Communications technology that brings together people personally and professionally is vital, particularly for individuals with sight and hearing disabilities,” said Commissioner Velez. “The range of equipment available allows people who are deaf-blind to explore innovative opportunities to connect with the broader community.”

The program – administered by the FCC’s National Deaf Blind Equipment Distribution Program - will be managed by DHS’ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI), in partnership with DHS’ Division for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DDHH) and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Equipment, such as Braille note takers, iPads, zoom text, amplified telephones and the internet access, will be obtainable for certain individuals with combined vision and hearing loss.

The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program was created by the FCC to ensure that people who are blind and deaf-blind can remain safe and healthy, hold a job, manage a household and, contribute to the economy and the community. Grants of up to $291,500 annually will fund “iCanConnect/NJ” and pay for the equipment and training.

“This program provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to offer technology that will help New Jersey’s deaf-blind population reach their full potential and provide new avenues for personal and professional growth,” said Vito DeSantis, Executive Director of the DHS’ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI).  “CBVI is incredibly proud to collaborate with DDHH and TCNJ on this significant initiative.”

Eligible applicants must have a combined loss of vision and hearing as defined by the Helen Keller National Center Act and their income cannot exceed 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level – about $44,680 for an individual or $76,360 for a family of three. 

For information about eligibility and how to apply for the program, contact Allen Reposh at (609)771-2575 or email reposha@tcnj.edu. Information about the new equipment distribution program is available online at  http://njcscd.org/departments/i-can-connect-nj.html.

 
 
 
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