Deaf Reach,Inc is a non-profit agency committed to maximizing the self-sufficiency of deaf and hard of hearing people who need special services. While the agency welcomes all Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, our programs focus on the specific needs of those who are experiencing behavioral health concerns, are developmentally disabled or socially and economically disadvantaged. Services have always included housing, information and referral to community services, counseling, housing placement assistance, life skills training and socialization activities.

Our History

Deaf-REACH is a non-profit agency committed to maximize the self-sufficiency of deaf and hard of hearing people who need special services.

Although incorporated in 1972, the idea for Deaf Reach, Inc actually sprang from an ecumenical retreat in 1967 when a speaker failed to appear. This one event, improbable as it may seem, began a chain reaction that culminated in the establishment of the National Health Care Foundation for the Deaf, now known as Deaf Reach, Inc. At the retreat, the substitution for the absent speaker’s presentation was a round-table discussion of how deaf churches could maximize the effectiveness of their community outreach. When someone mentioned that the approximately 30 patients who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., a long term inpatient facility for those with severe behavioral health concerns were isolated from one another because they were housed randomly throughout the complex, a monthly social activity was proposed.

Fortunately, the Director of St. Elizabeths Hospital supported this idea, and eventually recognized the benefits of permanently moving all patients who were Deaf or Hard of Hearing into one building, thus creating the Hospital’s Mental Health Program for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. The success of this program was obvious and the need for a group home outside of the hospital’s campus where patients who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and are prepared to live in the community could live together while adjusting to their new life outside of the Hospital. Otis House, Deaf Reach, Inc’s first group home- also the first such home in the nation for individuals who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing with behavioral health concerns- was thereby opened to support the transition to life in the community.

Since then, Deaf Reach, Inc. has grown steadily and always maintained its base of operations in the heart of Northeast Washington’s Brookland community – a historic neighborhood that warmly welcomed us so many years ago. Deaf Reach Inc., continues to call Brookland its home with its offices, group homes, and programs within walking distance of one another.

Our Mission

Deaf-REACH seeks to maximize the quality of life of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals and families through a wide spectrum of services.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which Deaf and Hard of Hearing people are equal participants in society.


Director's Letter

Greetings from the new Executive Director!

In May 2017, I joined this wonderful community as the new Executive Director.

I have been so pleased to get to know the staff, members, volunteers, board members and other supporters of Deaf-REACH over the past few weeks.

Deaf-REACH is a special organization; one that is rich in culture and community created by individuals and family members who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.  Deaf-REACH is unique in that we provide a range of comprehensive services to individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing; but more than anything it is a place that is welcoming and receptive to anyone who walks through the front door.  I am so proud to have been given the opportunity to work here and am looking forward to enhancing the programs we offer and explore opportunities to expand.

Originally from Rochester, NY, I have lived and worked in the District of Columbia since 1985.  I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work and have been working in behavioral health services, homeless outreach, housing and a variety of evidence-based practices for the last 25 years.  In addition to that experience, I have been a part of the Brookland community for the past 12 years, also home to Deaf-REACH.  The staff and I are looking forward to raising our visibility and awareness in this neighborhood and the broader D.C. Community.

I encourage anyone interested in getting to know us, to come by and consider making a contribution of your time, professional connections, creativity or resources to advance Deaf-REACH to new heights.

-Michele May
Executive Director

Board of Directors

Join Our Board of Directors!

Deaf- REACH is always looking to expand our Board of Directors. As defined by our bylaws, the Board is made up of a majority of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing.

We also strive for diversity in terms of deafness, racial, ethnic, class, and expertise members bring to the Board and Deaf-REACH, including fundraising, marketing, public relations, computer, web, and Internet technology. Deaf- REACH welcomes interested people to consider Board membership and to apply. As we seek to increase visibility in Metro Washington professional area, we are especially interested in individuals with strong business connections to help reach out to Washington, D.C. corporate/private sector. Women and members of communities of color (whether Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing) are also encouraged to apply. Deaf-REACH is governed by a Board of Directors that is reflective of the community we serve.

Board members serve a 2-year term, attend quarterly Board meetings (held evenings at Deaf-REACH main office, participate in a variety of Board committees (which have their own meeting schedules), and are strongly encouraged to participate in special agency events, such as the 5K Run and Walk, Silent Auction and other agency fundraising events. All meetings are ASL/English-interpreted. Board meetings can be always fun!

Interested in joining? If you would like to apply to become a member of Deaf-REACH’s Board of Directors or would like to get more information, please contact Michele May.