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FHJC Releases New ASL Video/Public Service Announcements

Photo © by Bernard Kleina

March 15, 2022


The Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) is proud to announce the release of a short educational video and two public service announcements that discuss the fair housing rights of deaf and hard of hearing persons in residential treatment facilities (RTFs).

For many people struggling with alcohol or substance abuse, the supportive environment of RTFs may offer the best chance for recovery from addiction. But deaf and hard of hearing persons have too often been turned away from such programs and may be reluctant to seek treatment at RTFs.  In early 2021, the FHJC completed a testing investigation at several operators of RTFs in the New York City region and found evidence of overt discrimination based on disability.  Federal civil rights lawsuits were filed in April 2021 and the FHJC has already settled with two operators of residential treatment centers for extensive injunctive relief and a monetary recovery.    

Fortunately, fair housing and other civil rights laws require RTFs to make American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and other auxiliary aids available to facilitate effective communication with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing to ensure equal access and full participation in services and programs. The new video portrays the positive experiences of deaf and hard of hearing persons working through their addiction issues in the warm and supportive environment of an RTF.

The ASL videos feature veteran Hollywood actor and Academy Award nominee Paul Raci. Mr. Raci received wide acclaim for his performance as Joe, the mentor to the main character in the groundbreaking film Sound of Metal, set in a treatment center for deaf and hard of hearing persons.Like Joe, Mr. Raci has dealt with his own addiction issues after serving in Vietnam.  Deaf cast members featured in the video include Dre Hollingsworth, Alejandro Rea, and Neil Sprouse. 

The PSA was directed and produced by Jules Dameron and Joshua Castille at Hypernovas Productions.  The full 3-minute video, along with edited 30 and 60-second PSA versions, are available for viewing on FHJC’s YouTube channel and on FHJC’s website.

All three versions are available for use by other fair housing, disability rights, and civil rights organizations. For more information, contact FHJC Community Engagement Coordinator Craig Waletzko at cwaletzko@fairhousingjustice.org.

FHJC National Field Consultant Fred Freiberg stated “All residential treatment facilities and other housing providers should adopt and implement inclusionary policies and practices that expressly welcome people who are deaf or hard of hearing through the use of ASL interpreters and other auxiliary aids.  Through these new PSA’s, the FHJC brings a hopeful message that no one should be refused access to residential treatment facilities or any housing because they are deaf or hard of hearing and that effective communication is a civil right!”    

Visitors to the FHJC website can also view the educational video A Home for Henry, about the fair housing rights of deaf and hard of hearing populations in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

A complete list of translation services, devices, and practices that can be provided by residential treatment centers, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other housing providers to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing populations and ensure effective communication is also available. Click here to view and download the Guide to Auxiliary Aids and Services. A Home for Henry and the Guide were both produced in conjunction with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

The mission of the FHJC, a nonprofit civil rights organization, is to eliminate housing discrimination; promote policies and programs that foster open, accessible, and inclusive communities; and strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws in the New York City region.