On April 28, 1998 the Mayor and City Council approved creation of a special task force, based on the vision of several members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, that Riverside could become a “Model Community” for the deaf.

Following a year of study by representatives of public and private sector employers, nonprofit organizations and schools, the task force presented its report to City Council on March 9, 1999. Among the recommendations in the report’s strategic plan was the creation of a permanent “Model Deaf Community” Committee to promote unity between Riverside’s deaf and hearing communities.

Riverside has a comparatively large population of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, partly due to the California School for the Deaf, one of only two such specialty schools in the state. National studies indicate that approximately 10% of the total population is deaf. In Riverside, that number is estimated to be 17%.

The Committee is made up of up to 22 interested individuals appointed by the Mayor, from throughout the community. While affiliated with many agencies around Riverside, committee members are representative of the community, not their agencies.

The Model Deaf Community Committee meets monthly at City Hall, 11 months of the year, to discuss issues of interest to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community and to propose or host activities that raise awareness of the deaf and promote programs that encourage inclusion and interaction in the life of the City.