By: Follow South Jersey Staff
WOODBURY, N.J. — Gloucester County’s Division of Human and Special Services will improve communication and language access to county services for deaf and hard of hearing residents through a $75,000 grant from the New Jersey Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
The county will use the grant to enhance communication access in virtual platforms to include sign language interpreting and captioning for intake to programs in the county. The county will also install hearing loops in county offices such as the Surrogate’s office and Clerk’s office. This grant will also benefit the B’nai Tikvah Beth Israel (CBTBI) Congregation in Sewell, NJ. The congregation has over 200 members with many elderly and hard of hearing individuals.
“It’s important for our residents to have equal access to all of our services,” Director Frank J. DiMarco said in a press release from the county. “We know that committing to all residents means meeting the needs of all of our residents. This grant will continue to help us do just that.”
According to the most current census, Gloucester County has over 66,000 residents over the age of 60 (22%). The county has over 9,000 (4%) veterans and almost 10,000 residents with hearing loss.
Gloucester County Division of Human and Special Services will coordinate the purchase and installation of hearing induction loops for the Ceremonial Room of the County Courthouse, under the counter units for the Surrogate and County Clerk’s Offices, portable countertop unit for one-to-one conversations for the County Store, and public videophone system for the Surrogate’s Office. Gloucester County Division of Human & Special Services will work closely with CBTBI to coordinate the purchase and installation of the hearing induction loops in their sanctuary.
“These pieces of equipment will provide more accessibility to county residents that have hearing loss in a less stigmatizing environment,” Commissioner Jim Jefferson, liaison to the Division of Human and Special Services, said. “This equipment will make a lasting impact on our county and allow us to remove any communication barriers that prevents us from assisting our deaf and hard of hearing Gloucester County residents.”
Gloucester County is on track to have the equipment installed and staff fully trained by mid-June.
To learn more about the Gloucester County Division of Human and Special Services and the programs it offers, please visit their website at https://www.gloucestercountynj.gov/163/Human-Special-Services or call (856) 384-6842.
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