Pilot Grant Awarded to Fund First Statewide Program of Support Services Providers (SSPs) for Pennsylvanians Who Are Deaf-Blind
The Department of Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services within the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing, have partnered with the PA Statewide Independent Living Council to award a $425,000 grant to the Center for Independent Living of Central PA (CILCP) to fund the first statewide program of Support Service Providers (SSPs) for individuals who are deaf-blind.
“With SSP services, people who are deaf-blind can lead empowered, independent lives,” said Gov. Corbett. “This grant will help individuals access the services they need to thrive in their daily routine, and ultimately live a productive and fulfilling life.” SSPs provide services that promote independence and enhance environmental cues that allow individuals who are deaf-blind to make informed decisions. This is accomplished by providing both visual and environmental information, such as describing the setup of a room to allow the individual who is deaf-blind to decide where to sit or who they would like to talk with, reading food labels during a trip to the grocery store, or acting as a guide on the way to a doctor’s appointment.
“This first statewide program will increase outreach and services to an underserved population of Pennsylvanians,” said Labor & Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway. “Making trained Support Service Providers available to help individuals who are deaf-blind will allow them to access information, make informed decisions and achieve independence.” This pilot grant is a State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL) initiative funded with federal and state dollars. The funding will be used to administrate the SSP program, and train and pay individuals to become qualified SSPs to work with Pennsylvanians who are deaf-blind, at least 18 years old and have completed high school. The SSPs are independent contractors and individuals who are deaf-blind will interview and hire the SSPs who best meet their needs.
For more information on the new SSP program, contact CILCP Director Theo Braddy, 717-731-1900, ext. 211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.