Winston grew up with his parents in public housing in New York City. Winston is deaf and in his late twenties; has graduated high school; and is proud of his position, sorting mail, for a national mail carrier that pays Winston a minimum wage. When Winston’s parents decided to move upstate, Winston applied for his own apartment in the public housing complex, and he was offered a lease. Winston was deeply grateful to have a home, but over the course of the first year, management instituted eviction proceedings against him, mistakenly believing that Winston owed arrears. After having worked hard and paid his rent in a timely manner, Winston was confused and worried that he would be evicted and compelled to move to a homeless shelter.
In fact, it was Winston’s parents who owed arrears for their former apartment, not Winston. But because Winston is deaf, and no American Sign Language interpreters were present to assist with conversations between Winston and management, management was unable to effectively communicate with Winston and learn that Winston had lived with his parents, shared the same last name, but that it was his parents who owed rent, and not Winston
The law center intervened and represented Winston in Housing Court. Winston’s eviction proceeding will be dismissed; and we are seeking to ensure that American Sign Language interpreters are present when management communicates with Winston. Winston’s story is not unique: so often, deaf New Yorkers are subject to discrimination when they are denied ASL interpreters in places of public accommodation.
The Law Center’s annual event takes place this Tuesday evening, December 4th, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the New York Athletic Club. We invite you to join us this evening where we will introduce you to several of our clients and celebrate the work of the law center.