The History of the Deaf Shalom Zone

The Deaf Shalom Zone, Inc. empowers the culturally Deaf and Deaf-Blind through advocacy, case management, education, and referrals. Shalom Zones were started in 1992 by the United Methodist Church as an effort to provide spiritually based solutions to the needs of communities through empowering its residents.

The Deaf Shalom Zone, Inc. serves Baltimore and the five surrounding counties. Occasionally, the Deaf Shalom Zone will act as a resource to individuals in other states and countries

about_headerIn 2007 the Deaf Shalom Zone Case Manager served 151 individuals with approximately 1600 contacts, either face-to-face, by phone, or email. The Deaf Shalom Zone also hosts a Deaf and Deaf-Blind cultural immersion and mission trip annually called Hands On Mission Experience. Hands On hosted 94 individuals and provided essential home repair for 21 different sites since its establishment in 2007.

Case Management: Deaf individuals are able to receive assistance for basic human needs such as health care and social security acquisition. The Maryland Aids Administration reports that there are an estimated 35,000 individuals in Maryland living with HIV/AIDS and 4.3% are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing. This high rate is due to lack of education and information, and the prevalence of abuse to vulnerable persons.

partners_sidebarOne client in particular is a Deaf-Blind, homeless, individual living with AIDS. Case Management services for this man include, transporting him to and from doctor appointments, picking up his medications from the pharmacy and dividing them into pill boxes, administering his money as his representative payee, signing him up for health benefits, finding him appropriate housing, educating the staff members at his shelter about Deaf-Blind culture, transporting him to and from community events and visiting him weekly in order to provide him with communication because one at his shelter knows how to communicate in American Sign Language. This is an example of some of the basic human services that are provided for one Deaf Shalom Zone client.

Food Pantry: The Deaf Shalom Zone food pantry is open on Sundays and during the week by drop in basis. Free food is provided for Deaf, low income, families. Nutritious proteins such as, milk, eggs, fruits, and vegetables are offered at the end of the month. Starting in November of 2009 the Deaf Shalom Zone will be a site for Angel Food Ministries, Inc. which will allow the Zone food pantry to provide larger quantities of nutritious food monthly.

Hands On Mission Experience: Hands On’s mission is to connect youth and adults to the mission of the Deaf Shalom Zone through a week long service opportunity that involves American Sign Language classes, educational programs, home improvement and meaningful relationships with Deaf and Deaf-Blind individuals.

In 2009 one of the Hands On sites was for an elderly Deaf couple fighting to stay together in their home. The husband was in need of nursing care for a number of years but the wife desperately wanted to keep him in their home. Nursing homes are extremely isolating for Deaf individuals due to the fact that there is no one to communicate with.

staffHands On built a ramp for the couple so that the wife could push her husband up into their home. The median income for Baltimore city is $30,078. 80% of Deaf Shalom Zone clients live largely off of Social Security Disability Income. 20% of Zone clients have additional jobs. Zone clients are primarily below the median income for Baltimore city.

If you would like to make a donation

Checks should be mailed to:
Deaf Shalom Zone
1040 S. Beechfield Ave
Baltimore, MD 21229

Blessings,

Towson University, Deaf Studies Department and a shift away from direct aid toward advocacy and education.

 

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