In a move to dramatically expand town government accessibility, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino has announced that his administration will provide sign language interpreters, as well as electronic hearing units, for people with hearing impairments at each Hempstead Town Board meeting during his term in office.
“Making government more accessible to neighbors is a top priority of my administration. I’m proud to spearhead the introduction of these accommodations to meet the needs of Hempstead Town’s hearing-impaired residents,” said Santino.
The Mill Neck Interpreter Service, a two-decade old non-for-profit agency, will provide sign language interpreters for Hempstead Town Board meetings. The skilled hearing and deaf interpreters are certified and/or have passed examinations from the National Associate of the Deaf or Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. They will be able to interpret any situation requiring communication between town government and neighbors with impaired hearing.
Additionally, electronic hearing devices come at no additional cost to taxpayers. The Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion where Town Board meetings occur has already been fitted for amplified sound and compatible with the individual electronic hearing units, which will be plugged into the Pavilion’s sound system. Audible sounds will be able to be transmitted at greater volumes to neighbors needing auditory aide; several units are available on a first-come-first-serve basis by asking town personnel.
“Everyone is welcome to Hempstead Town Hall. There’s no better way to express this than ensuring that these accommodations are in place and available to neighbors. Expanding accessibility to those who may confront challenges, in this case hearing impairments, is the responsibility of good government,” said Supervisor Santino.