Family helps find a home for deaf community

Summarized by Rachel Cain, staff writer

John and Sharon Miranda of Anchorage, Alaska, are deaf parents of hearing children and major proponents of the development of the Denali Deaf Community Center. This center, which will serve the nearly 3,000 deaf and 24,000 hard of hearing people in Alaska, received its start through legislative funding for an associated nonprofit. The Mirandas and others involved in this project hope to receive a further $2 million so the community center can be completed by 2015.

The Denali Deaf Community Center would enable and encourage the development of community among the deaf, as well as provide other services, such as sign language interpretation and job counseling. According to the Mirandas, this is a much-needed development. Over the years, support for the deaf community has faded. Many deaf people become homeless or have difficulties with housing because of the problems they face with communication. Other people have been arrested for appearing to resist police officers when, in fact, they simply could not hear the officers. Some also need help with interpretation or even help with reading through their bills (in smaller communities, some deaf people only learn ASL and do not become fully fluent in English).

So far, people have tried to improve support for members of the deaf community. John and Sharon Miranda say they have become an “unofficial safety net” to help members of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Also, a program called the Bridges Navigator Program helps deaf people with jobs and services. This program would be housed in the new community center when it is built.

Read the full story here.

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