This is an area of the state where we do not get a lot of support for the Governor’s
Rebalancing Initiative but the Belleville Democrat New got this one right for sure!
Hats off to the BDN!..
Belleville Democrat News Opinion
Don’t block group home
August 5, 2014
Some residents in the Green Mount Manor subdivision said they oppose a group
home for the mentally disabled in their neighborhood because they are worried
about their children. But the real danger to their children is the intolerance and
ignorance being displayed.
The group home operator isn’t trying to bring sex offenders or ax murderers or
gang members into the neighborhood. The group home would be for four disabled
adults who just need some support to live independently.
Resident Laudon King said he thinks there are better locations for a group home
in Belleville than a single-family residential area. But the whole point of a group
home is to allow disabled people to live in a regular home. Ironically, the only
reason the group home needs a zoning variance is because this subdivision is
in a commercially zoned area. If it had single-family residential zoning as most
subdivisions do, no special permits would be needed.
The Belleville City Council wisely tabled this issue on Monday because of the high
emotions of the people in attendance, but the council ultimately needs to approve
this variance. Federal law doesn’t allow discrimination against minorities or the
disabled; a homeowner association’s rules don’t trump the law.
Belleville doesn’t want to be like Hecker, which had to pay $50,000 earlier this
year to settle a discrimination suit after it tried to block a group home, or
Caseyville Township,which had to pay a $60,000 settlement in a discrimination
Belleville leaders urged the homeowners and the group home operator to meet
before the next council meeting. We hope that will result in a less emotional,
more constructive dialogue.
Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2014/08/05/3336419/dont-block-group-
Arc Letter to the Editor
The Arc of Illinois strongly supports the Belleville News Democrat’s editorial “Don’t
Block Group Home”. The BND is right on target that group homes are integrated
into the community so the individuals are close to family and friends. Community
living is a civil right for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities
and to attempt to block this group home is a violation of federal and state law. Well
said BND. Let’s hope the Belleville City Council observes your advice or the courts
will have their say.
The Arc of Illinois represents individuals with intellectual and developmental
disabilities and their families.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423