Leo’s Story

In Client Story by bw bw

As we close out this year, we are thankful for the opportunity to serve the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing communities of New York. As many of you know, we champion the rights of our clients who sleep in homeless shelters, who are respondents in eviction proceedings, defendants in consumer debt actions, and refugees fleeing persecution. We represent single moms; the elderly; children; and men and women-all of whom manifest hearing loss.

To you, our generous supporters, we ask for your support as this calendar year draws to a close. A substantial portion of our operating revenue is derived from gifts from each of you and we are deeply grateful. We thank you in advance for your kind consideration in making a 2023 gift and we look forward to hosting you at our annual event this spring.

Below is Leo’s story–one of the hundreds of stories that are narrated by our clients throughout the year.

Leo is 58 years old; he was born deaf; and he attended a deaf school. When Leo graduated from high school, he was fortunate to secure a job assisting a photographer working in a film developing room for 17 years. It was a steady, greatly satisfying job. As the world moved toward digital photography, the photographer moved toward closing his studio and, in time, Leo was out of work. Afterwards, Leo was hired by various stores to fill computer orders and organize merchandise. Some jobs did not work out, as Leo was not provided with an American Sign Language interpreter to explain his responsibilities.

Earlier in the year, Leo arrived at the law center with a housing problem: he had been living with a roommate for many years, paying 90 percent of the rent. One day, the roommate abruptly surrendered his lease to the landlord and moved out. The landlord sought to evict Leo, although neither the roommate nor Leo had created any trouble for the landlord. After many months of negotiation in Housing Court, the law center succeeded in obtaining a new lease for Leo at a rental price that Leo can afford based upon his Social Security Disability payments secured through his years of employment. Leo very much wants to find a new job and he has been assisted for a long time by a vocational rehabilitation counselor who strives to place our 58-year-old deaf client in gainful employment. Some people in Leo’s position would feel dejected; but not Leo, who is optimistic that he will eventually find work. In the meantime, Leo tells us that he is content to have a home as we enter the new year. We wish all of you a healthy and happy New Year.