The Executive Directors Pulse
By Heather M. Hughes
One word you may see me use over and over again this year is housing. Our apartment complex, Martha’s Vineyard’s Place (MVP), has been in operation now for five years. Over those years, we have learned much about affordable and low-income housing infrastructure and how inaccessible it is for deaf and hard of hearing families. With an apartment complex in the same building as our office, we witness the many inequities that occur when deaf individuals try to access affordable housing and its services. While we are grateful for the staff at MVP who work hard to ensure our deaf residents are served and get access to housing, we’ve recognized that the problem is systemic.
Unfortunately, the according to a Center for American Progress study conducted in 2015, 82% of deaf individuals living in rental housing and 85% of deaf renters at the time were in immediate risk of eviction. Additionally, 42% of deaf tenants struggled to pay rent on time and 45% of deaf tenants were not confident that they would be able to pay on time the following month. These statistics still ring true years later and have been seen firsthand in our local deaf community in North Texas.
Deaf Action Center will be working to serve deaf communities in the housing sector to a wider capacity this year. I look forward to sharing more information and stories with you on how your interest in this area of service impacts lives and makes the whole community a safer and more vibrant place for us all.