Wisconsin DHS AWARDS $244,000 to Vision Forward

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has awarded Vision Forward a two-year grant almost $245,000 to increase public awareness statewide and access to information and services about blindness and visual impairment.  The grant will also support engagement and connections for individuals of all ages living with visual loss and their families.  As declared by the CDC, vision loss is a public health problem and one of the top 10 causes of disability in the United States.  This funding is part of a total of $17.3 million awarded to 69 organizations statewide. These grants are intended to improve Medicaid home and community-based services that help older adults or those who have disabilities.

This generous funding will allow Vision Forward to educate the community, including home and community based service providers, about vision issues and the services available to those living with vision loss.  Outreach efforts to low-income, underserved urban and rural communities where information about vision loss and access to services has been historically limited will be a priority.  In addition, there will be focus on reaching out to senior communities, since many older adults suffer from age-related low vision disorders such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.  Partnerships with community organizations will be strengthened through education about how to best support people who are blind or visually impaired and how to connect them with services.

The CDC reports that more than 100,000 Wisconsin residents report blindness of severe difficulty seeing even with glasses.  It is estimated that about 60,000 of these individuals reside in the Greater Milwaukee area.  “What is most important to this grant is that more than 95% of people with vision impairment in the U.S. do not receive rehabilitation services, according to Vision Serve Alliance, and this grant supports our work to change that statistic,” states Terri Davis, Vision Forward CEO.

Grant funding is made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). To learn more about the statewide grant opportunity and all funded projects, visit the DHS website.  For community engagement opportunities regarding this grant, please contact Jacci Borchardt, Vision Forward Director of Operations, 414-615-0121 or jborchardt@vision-forward.org.  Learn more about Vision Forward’s mission by visiting www.vision-forward.org.


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