Deaf Refugee Advocacy opens new headquarters downtown

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Deaf Refugee Advocacy opened its new headquarters on Tuesday at the Sibley Building in downtown Rochester.

Monroe County officials say the new space will be used to provide workshops and training in American Sign Language, life skills, job readiness training, and more to deaf people who are new to the country.

The opening follows a $2 million investment in the program with funds from the American Rescue Plan. The Rochester area is home to one of the nation’s largest per-capita deaf and hard of hearing populations.

“When we embrace the needs of our deaf and hard of hearing communities, we foster equity and break down barriers,” said Thalia Wright, the Monroe County Department of Human Services commissioner.

News10NBC interviewed Diana Pryntz, who helped to found Deaf Refugee Advocacy, back in April about her work. News10NBC also reported on the journey of a deaf Ukrainian family who came to Rochester as refugees.

There is an estimated 3,400 deaf refugees, immigrants, or asylum seekers in Monroe County according to Deaf Refugee Advocacy. The program seeks to teach refugees American Sign Language and to break barriers such as navigating the citizenship process.