Boston: Deaf-blind residents ask state to keep services

People who are deaf and blind, and those who advocate for them, are urging Massachusetts legislators to maintain state funding for a program that helps provide interpreters and other services.

Advocates say Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 would eliminate $450,000 earmarked for the specific needs of the deaf-blind population. They held an awareness event and met with lawmakers Wednesday at the Statehouse.

Jaimi Lard, who lives independently in Watertown, said through her interpreter the services are critical to helping deaf-blind people like herself live and work.

Lard, now 36, attended the Perkins School, the same school that Helen Keller attended.

A spokeswoman for the state Health and Human Services Department said “unprecedented fiscal challenges” have forced the state to make difficult decisions.

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