Calls for inclusion and accessibility for SC’s blind community

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 11:36 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina says opportunities have grown for blind and visually impaired people over the years, but there are more barriers to be broken.

David Houck is the executive director of the Federation Center of the Blind, which serves as the headquarters of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. The organization offers a wide variety of programs and services designed to “encourage independence and productivity, and to promote respectful attitudes about blind people and blindness.”

He says there are national statistics that show high unemployment rates for blind or visually impaired people. One of the ways to increase opportunities would be for government agencies and businesses to open more jobs to the blind community.

“We would definitely like to see, especially in the governor’s office, in more agencies across the state to hire more blind people,” Houck said. “The harder we work at this we can get more blind people employed, and you wouldn’t have an unemployment rate at 70%.”

The organization also wants blind business owners, entrepreneurs or those who may want to start a business, to have the same opportunities and access to grants and incentives that minority and women-owned businesses receive.

During the pandemic, the organization has also been working nationally to get more accessibility for things like websites and medical devices that are user-friendly to blind people and the visually impaired.

Houck says having the resources there could make all the difference.

“We want to connect blind people who have basic skill issues they have to deal with, with the programs and services that satisfy those needs. [We want more] people who know that we are out there, and we do have the resources to help them.”

For more information on resources:

Federation Center of the Blind of South Carolina

South Carolina Commission for the Blind

Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired SC

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