About Blindline

Blindline® is an information and referral service for people who are blind or visually impaired, their family members, friends, and professional service providers.

Our ever-growing database has hundreds of records of specialized resources located throughout the New York State area and the database contains a comprehensive list of blindness-related agencies, as well as many commercial businesses that provide accessible services and/or products to people with vision loss. As a "work in progress," we encourage users to let us know about businesses, products, or services that should be included in the database, or to comment on any of the products and services we currently catalogue.

Blindline® consists of both the website and a telephone hotline staffed by trained individuals who are themselves visually impaired. If you are unable to find what you are looking for on the website, please phone us toll-free, Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, at (888) 625-1616. Our trained Information Specialists will conduct additional research on any blindness-related topic, and return the results to you in the format of your choice (braille, large-print, via e-mail or phone).

About Our Information Specialists

Before being assigned to call-taking activities, our information specialists undergo extensive training that is based upon curricula developed by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS), the national leadership organization for professional I&R service providers. Blindline® trainees study advanced Internet research techniques, word-processing, data management, and communications skills. Since most of our trainees are ultimately interested in finding paid employment, the training program emphasizes the practical skills and experience relevant to careers in:

  • Information and Referral Services
  • Human Resource Management
  • IT Support Desk
  • Marketing/Outreach
  • Social Services

The Program Administrator and virtually all of our Information Specialists are visually impaired, so universal accessibility is a critical component of the computer equipment and telephones installed at the call center. Blindline® is a stellar example for other call centers, demonstrating that universal access is readily attainable for employees with vision loss. Our staff regularly participates in educational and outreach activities to stay at the forefront of developing trends in information and referral services.

VISIONS Partners and Corporate Funders

Blindline® (website, call center and vocational training program) is an ongoing project of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

VISIONS proudly acknowledges our funders, partners, and supporters:

  • The primary original source of financial support for Blindline® was the Lavelle Fund for the Blind.
  • The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has been invaluable to the project, by sharing information from its Directory of Services, and by providing technical expertise in creating both the website and database. AFB remains a critical partner in the project by continuing to host, manage, and maintain the website. Local chapters of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the American Council of the Blind (ACB) have strongly supported the project from the start.
  • In 2005, American Express provided a grant for the cost of seven toll-free phone lines and marketing efforts.
  • A grant from the United Way of New York in 2010 enabled VISIONS to upgrade the telephone system, which, at that point, was quite outmoded.
  • The New York State Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH) remains a strong partner. CBVH regularly includes information about Blindline® in its orientation package for all new consumers. The Blindline® vocational skills training classes are funded through a CBVH contract. Recently, CBVH purchased brand new computers, printers, scanners, and a host of portable devices for both the training classroom and call center at Blindline®.
  • In June of 2011, the New York Community Trust provided VISIONS with a generous grant to support expansion of the Blindline® database, website, call center, and vocational training program.

Blindline® Headquarters

The call center is located at VISIONS main administrative office at 500 Greenwich Street in SoHo. Employers, potential trainees, educators, and/or technical consultants are welcome to tour the center during normal business hours. Please phone or e-mail us to arrange a visit, to learn more about our training program, or to volunteer:
Michael J. Cush
Director of Workforce Development/Adults
212.625.1616
mcush@visionsvcb.org

The Blindline® project is just one of many ways in which VISIONS manifests its mission to promote the independence of people of all ages who are blind and visually impaired. VISIONS programs include rehabilitation services, job-training and employment services, prevocational and work experience training for youth, residential programs at VISIONS Center on Blindness in Rockland County, NY, and a community center for blind youth, adults, and seniors at Selis Manor on West 23rd Street in Manhattan.