Years ago I received rehabilitation service from the Iris Network, a state wide agency serving blind and visually impaired consumers over 14 years of age. The staff was exceptional and the new skills I learned life-changing. I know where to go when I need questions answered.

The Iris Network is appealing the recent decision by Maine’s Department of Labor Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired to award a five-year contract for community-based blindness rehabilitation services for people over the age of 14 to Catholic Charities Maine.

I do not understand how an agency such as CCM can be awarded this contract, when they have no accredited staff to do this work.

The Iris Network has nationally certified vision rehabilitation therapists to teach transition-age youths, working-age adults and senior citizens how to be independent.

Many newly blind are over the age of 70. These skills can assist them to stay in their own homes, thriving in place.

My hope is that this conditional contract award to CCM be reversed, as it is essential to avoid serious harm to the public interest in high-quality and cost-effective community-based blindness rehabilitation services.

Please evaluate this appeal in the appropriate manner.

Nancy Matulis