EL PASO, Texas - A new community in Northwest El Paso is sprouting up to cater to the deaf and hard of hearing community.
Daily tasks that are easy for hearing people, like ordering a cup of coffee, are much more time-consuming for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. The concept of the community is to gather, and provide people, who can all communicate via the same language: American Sign Language.
"It's hard for deaf people to get opportunities for advancement," said Brian Smithson, who works for Deafville and is deaf. "We have a lot of difficulties in communication. We often have to write notes to communicate with people."
Sales just started and more than 30 lots have been sold. Phil Cabbage, Deafville Regional Director, said the different types of affordable housing will include built-in technology designed for deaf people.
"If the phone rings, or somebody rings the door bell...the alert won't be a lamp on the table, it will be a light in every room that can blink two or three different colors," said Cabbage.
Condos sell for around $800 a month, including taxes and insurance. Townhomes are around $1,200, and single-family homes range from $175,00 to $300,000.
Deafville will be a part of The Village of Rio Valley. Plans include a thriving Main Street filled with businesses staffed with people who can communicate orally or with ASL.
"In a few hours we can train any business to train two or three people on their staff that can communicate with the deaf," said Cabbage. "Sign language is not hard, and it doesn't have to be a thousand-word vocabulary, it can be very short, very simple, and you can teach it to any business quickly."
University of Texas at El Paso Speech and Language Pathology Associate Professor Vannesa Mueller said the concept of deaf people living together in a community in wonderful.
"Deaf people can, you know, drive and have jobs and be very successful and there's really no limitations, other than that the hearing world isn't very accommodating to them," said Mueller.
If you're interested in Deafville click here to learn more.