Rally supports Valley View residence for the deaf and deaf-blind

Bob Katz told a crowd about his sister’s experience of being isolated at a rehab facility at a rally to support the Valley View residence for the deaf and deaf-blind elderly in Middletown Township.  When the staff and residents can communicate in the same language, Katz said, it makes all the difference.

The group gathered because the future of financially troubled Valley View is in doubt because of state licensing problems. “We want 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to communication and quality care,” activist Lillian Hoshauer said through an interpreter. “We want to ensure that they are never separated and placed in isolation.”

State agencies, county officials, legislators, and managers of Valley View have been working to find a solution for several months, said Erik Arneson, spokesman for state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R., Delaware). The most recent meeting was Wednesday.

The goal is for Valley View to stay open, Arneson said, and “that is well within the possibility.”

On March 15, board members of Elwyn Inc., which operates the home, were told Valley View had been operating under a waiver from state licensing requirements, said Sharon Antal, a vice president of the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf and a board member who attended the meeting.

Board members were told the current license would expire on Saturday, but the deadline was extended, Antal said.

Reese said, “nothing expires at this point” and the agency is committed to finding a solution.

State budget cuts did not play a role in the matter, Arneson said.

Lew Manges, executive director of Elwyn Behaviorial Health and Deaf Services, said in a statement he was optimistic an agreement would be reached.

But any doubt is too much for local deaf community activists, Valley View residents, and their families.





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