HENRIETTA, N.Y. -- A first of its kind apartment community in the state is now open in Henrietta. It's designed to better accommodate income-eligible tenants who are deaf, hard-of hearing and use American Sign Language.
Dawn Tomasino couldn't wait to move into her new place at Rochester View Apartments.
"Oh, I love my apartment, my parents helped me with putting things up and what I wanted on the walls and they helped with the design. I think it is beautiful and I love it here!" said Tomasino.
She's not only making herself at home here, she's making new friends.
"I am deaf. They have deaf individuals living here, so it is really nice for me to be able chat with other deaf residents and so I am not so lonely and I making new friends at RVA," said Tomasino.
That's exactly the focus of this first deaf-friendly apartment community in New York state. The Greater Rochester Area has one of the largest and youngest deaf populations in the country. Renting spaces with deaf friendly adaptive equipment for everyday living isn't easy.
"There is a lot of struggle with that so a lot of deaf people really gave up, they didn't have any more patience so here is you come to RVA we are able to provide all those ammentities for you they are right there for people in the deaf community," said Denise Fry, RVA community manager.
The 61-unit apartment community includes one and two bedroom apartments for income eligible residents. Each one is equipped with specific gear to help deaf and hearing imparied tenants. There's vibrating alarmed beds in case of a fire, hard-wired strobe lights for CO2 and fire alarms and open floor plans with handrails and signage in Braille.
The community manager and some other staff members use American Sign Language. Rentals are also available for hearing residents. Dawn says her parents are retired so she's proud she can live on her own.
Rochester View Apartments is not only a roof over her head, but just the kind of self esteem boost and sense of community she needs.