Challenges reopening assoc. for visually impaired during COVID: “It’s a lifeline.” “They are really integral to our lives.”

bsa

The century-old Blind Service Association provides numerous vital services for the visually impaired in Chicago: medical, counseling, transportation, activities, even reading mail and books. But it remains shut down and there are a lot of questions about when and how it would reopen, according to the Chicago Tribune.

BSA awaits guidance from Illinois Department of Public Health. What will be the new protocols with this at-risk population? For instance, how will those who rely so heavily on the sense of touch navigate the world wearing gloves that keep them safe? Many of those affected cannot web conference, for a number of reasons. Meanwhile those who rely on institutions like BSA are living in uncertainty and loss. They aren’t shrinking violets; their entire lives have been upended. And they wait.

Here’s the nugget, from Alexander Brown, executive director of Friedman Place, an assisted living facility for the visually impaired on the North Side:

But, again, and is often the situation, people with disabilities, people who are blind are not at the table. So, the folks that are making the decisions, just soliciting information feedback, aren’t asking the community of the blind. And that’s a real problem.

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