Increase In Funding For Helen Keller National Center

Congressman Thomas Suozzi (in tie) visits with students and staff at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults.

Congressman Tom Suozzi has secured a $1 million increase in annual appropriations for the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC), a division of Helen Keller Services (HKS), for 2019—a 31 percent increase in funding for HKNC when combined with the year before.

“From day one, Tom Suozzi has been our biggest supporter,” said HKNC Executive Director Susan Ruzenski. “He has always worked and advocated on our behalf. We were the first place he visited after his election to congress and he has delivered on every promise, before or since. Congressman Suozzi is the best champion we have and we are eternally grateful to him for his consistent, considerable support of HKNC.”

Established in 1967 as an Act of Congress, HKNC is the only national comprehensive program working exclusively with youth and adults with a combined vision and hearing loss. Prior to Suozzi’s first term in office, federal funding for HKNC had remained unchanged for 16 years, with the exception of one year.

“Congressman Suozzi’s extraordinary role in championing the need for expanded HKNC services benefits deaf-blind individuals, their families, and service providers here on Long Island and across the United States,” said HKS President and CEO Joseph Bruno.

The strategic initiatives already set in motion with last year’s increase of $2.14 million will be fortified with the additional funding secured by Congressman Suozzi, mandated to create greater access to local resources and employment opportunities.

“We are confident that without Congressman Suozzi’s remarkable effort to obtain bi-partisan support,” said Ruzenski. “HKNC would not have realized such incredible success in obtaining this funding.”

—Submitted by HKNC

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