Two weeks ago I went to Dallas, Texas visit an organization named “Deaf Action Center” DAC — to visit their new Martha’s Vineyard Place apartment that provides affordable housing that is completely accessible to Deaf/HoH/DeafBlind people with doorbell lights, fire alarm lights.
The new apartment building also houses the main offices of the DAC — which is a nonprofit organization that provides various services in North Texas. The board president of DAC, Dominic Lacy, gave us a tour of the place. Check it out!
DOMINIC: Hello, this is Martha's Vineyard Place. What is that? It is a new apartment built by Deaf Action Center in Dallas, TX. We have 100 affordable units that includes studios, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units. We also have a community space where residents and DFW visitors can go and hang out. We also have an office for DAC. We just moved here a few weeks ago. We are very excited about it, it's cool. Come and check it out!
CHARLES: I live here and I like it because it is very easy to communicate with other Deaf people. There are doorbell lights and fire alarm lights. It is really cool here.
DOMINIC: DAC is a nonprofit organization that provides interpreting, works with the state of Texas STAP program to provide assistance with technology needs for communication, we have hearing loss specialists that help people who recently lost their hearing, a community outreach program where we educate the community, businesses, and organizations about how to work with people who are Deaf and hard of hearing. We also have new programs that educate the DeafBlind. This is just a brief summary of different programs that DAC offers.
CHRIS: Yes, I like DAC. I look up to this organization because they provide Deaf people with opportunities, education, they have resources such as life skills assistance, budget assistance, food assistance, and help with senior citizens. That is why I look up to DAC so much.
ALEX: It was a very nice apartment. It is not an “all-Deaf” apartment as there are some hearing residents, but DAC actively seeks Deaf residents to fill out applications to live there, and they can qualify for a reduction in rental costs.
There used to be an older apartment building and offices on the same site, but it was starting to become old and worn-out. Dominic worked with the executive director of DAC, Heather Hughes, and the rest of the DAC team to build partnerships within the Dallas area to raise over 3 million dollars and organize a $15 million development to tear down the old apartment and build this new one.
DAC chose the name “Martha’s Vineyard Place” to honor the historical island where many deaf people lived and hearing people knew signs. DAC wanted to create an environment there that was similar to the Deaf experience on Martha’s Vineyard.
[Video clip of Martha's Vineyard "museum" piece in DAC building]
The DAC hosted a “Beacon of Hope” gala on March 25 to celebrate this achievement — and I was the Master of Ceremonies there — we all had a great time.* If you’re ever in the city, you can always contact DAC for a visit/tour of the new place.
*The keynote speaker for the event was Heather Harker, Gallaudet University President's Chief of Staff.
DAC Website: http://dactexas.org/
DAC Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DACTX/