New York Community Services Program

New York Community Services Program Overview

If you’re experiencing new challenges at home, at work or at school due to combined vision and hearing loss, you may benefit from specialized training in order to maintain your independence and safety .

HKNC’s New York Community Services Program (CSP) can bring the experts to you. In collaboration with the New York State Commission for the Blind, the CSP provides comprehensive rehabilitation, vocational and support services to eligible individuals in home, workplace, educational and community settings in downstate New York. If you live in New York City, on Long Island or in lower Westchester, you may qualify to receive one-on-one training in the environments that are most convenient and familiar to you.

You’ll work closely with certified rehabilitation specialists with expertise in combined vision and hearing loss. Skilled in alternative communication methods, including both tactual and visual American Sign Language, they are uniquely equipped to provide on-site training and support in five core areas: independent living, orientation and mobility, communication, vocational services and social casework.

Independent Living Training

You’ll develop skills and strategies to help you manage your home more safely and efficiently. From cooking and cleaning to budgeting, shopping and paying the bills, you’ll learn how to live as independently as possible.

Topics include:

  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Financial management and banking
  • Child rearing and eldercare responsibilities
  • Health needs management

Communication Training

Sharpening your communication skills can increase your access to information, remove obstacles in the workplace and facilitate meaningful connections with others.

During your training, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Develop communication strategies to more effectively interact with others.
  • Explore adaptive technology including e-readers, recorders, text-to-speech software and braille displays.

Orientation and Mobility Training

Learn best practices for safer, more independent travel.

You can learn to:

  • Navigate indoor and outdoor environments.
  • Plan and execute travel routes.
  • Utilize para- or public transportation.
  • Use travel aids, including street crossing cards/signs
  • Maximize any residual vision you may have.

Vocational Training

Two women at work in a supermarket. The one on the right is showing the other how to use a pastry bag.Whether you’re looking for your first job, seeking ways to overcome challenges in your current position or planning to reenter the workforce, the CSP is at your service . Our staff will assess your skills and preferences, working with you to set career goals and develop the skills you need to achieve them.

Our staff will work closely with you to identify equipment and accommodations that might be helpful on the job, including computer software and organizational strategies. Your job coach will provide you with on-site support to help ensure your success.

CSP alumni are working in diverse fields ranging from food services to accounting to the legal profession.

Work one-on-one with a job coach to:

  • Devise an action plan tailored to your individual circumstances.
  • Develop job search and interviewing skills.
  • Explore adaptive equipment.
  • Polish your existing vocational skills and acquire new ones.

We also offer a formal class in work readiness, which focuses on topics related to entering the workforce such as developing career goals, job search strategies, interviewing, ADA law and workplace culture. The class allows job seekers with vision and hearing loss to learn from and network with each other.

And our Supported Employment Program provides ongoing services to deaf-blind individuals who also have additional intellectual and/or mental health challenges and need long-term support to maintain employment.

Social Casework Services

Your HKNC social worker can:

  • Provide benefits coordination and counsel
  • Connect you with local medical and mental health services, housing support and community resources
  • Share information on how to navigate governmental agencies

Advocacy and Education

The CSP can support your advocacy efforts and collaborate with schools and senior centers in the New York metropolitan area to enhance accessibility and offer training for staff members in these settings. We also provide educational resources for family and friends of individuals who are deaf-blind.


The CSP provides direct services to eligible New Yorkers. You must live in one of the five boroughs of New York City, one of the two counties of Long Island or in lower Westchester to be considered for the program. For more information, contact Debbie Fiderer, supervisor of the Community Services Program, at

Success Story

Girl standing on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City

Emilie's Story: Getting to the Met

A sudden loss of vision threatened to derail Emilie’s art career. Thanks to HKNC’s Community Services Program, she’s working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Go to Emilie's Story Go to All HKNC Success Stories

California Community Services Program

To learn about the California Community Services program, follow the link below. 

California Community Services Program