Gary Arnold is a coalition member of our Going Home Campaign. Great letter Gary!It was in Saturday’s Chicago Tribune.
This is in response to “Havens for disabled adults; Parents dissatisfied with other options band together to meet special needs” (Page 1, Jan. 23), by Tribune reporter Bonnie Miller Rubin.
Congratulations to the Schurs and other families in Illinois for their efforts to create housing and service opportunities for people with disabilities. Their story, while triumphant, underscores the barriers that people with disabilities face in Illinois. Without affordable, accessible housing options and community-based supports, thousands of people, who could thrive in the community, are forced to live in institutions.
Recognizing the positive impact of community living, Gov. Pat Quinn has stepped up for people with disabilities by transferring long-term-care resources from institutional settings to the community. This shift encompasses the closure of large, outdated state-run facilities that segregate people with disabilities.
One Downstate institution has closed, and the Murray Developmental Center is slated to close later this year. This shift in philosophy will give thousands of people with physical, developmental and psychiatric disabilities the opportunity to maximize their potential by providing them with the freedom to live among family and friends, and (as the article notes) offer a higher quality of life.
The transition will create challenges. But in the name of equality, independence and self-determination, thousands of people with disabilities across Illinois are ready for the challenge. Just as the families in this article found a way to make it happen, I am confident that we can all pull together to make community living a reality for the thousands of people in institutions.
— Gary Arnold, Access Living Chicago
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423