Our continuous effort to learn more about the deaf community has provided more insight into the urgent unmet needs. While Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico dedicates most of its resources to housing justice, we have found that access to health services is the priority of these individuals. It is no surprise. Access to medical assistance, discrimination, lack of interpreters, and the violation of the confidentiality of patients are common complaints we hear during interviews and focus groups.
During this period, we decided to develop skills to share information on these pressing matters. We visited the Office of the Patients Ombudsman, responsible for safeguarding the rights of the deaf communities, and learned that their interpreter services were unstable and that very few members of the deaf community know or use their services. We collaborated to celebrate a workshop where more than 20 people participated and obtained more tools to defend their right to health services. At this moment, we are trying to integrate our expertise in housing within the priorities the community has been identifying. While we are taking sign language classes, we gather resources to do more. The following stages are advocacy work and the celebration of housing workshops designed with the unmet needs of these people in mind.
Yet, we need more resources to do so. Interpreters are scarce and costly. A two-hour interpretation required to interview a potential client may cost up to $150.00. Donations to continue and expand this initiative are essential. Please continue supporting this work.
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