The promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Olmstead decision and now the new rules on Home & Community Based Services from the Centers on Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are asserting the right to person centered services that are fully integrated into the community at large.
Increasingly we are watching class action lawsuits around the country that are moving states into a more comprehensive disability system that at its very core promotes integration and employment. As we have seen over the years, states have been challenged by the courts and CMS to reduce their reliance on institutional services. In the present day, we are now seeing increased legal challenges to the current Home & Community Based Services (HCBS) because of the reliance upon primarily a community system that promotes segregation in its day services, employment and now housing.
Earlier this month we shared with you the filing of Gordon v The Minnesota Department of Human Services, an agency of the State of Minnesota in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. This is a lawsuit about the “promise” of more integrated housing in the HCBS system. Over this past year I have been providing opportunities to learn about new options for housing in Illinois and the impact of the new Home & Community Based Rules. Let us begin to add new options such as supportive living and other affordable housing options before the courts take action.
Below is a copy of the recent lawsuit.
This is a case about individual choice. Specifically, choosing where to live – a choice most of us take for granted. But Plaintiffs, who are individuals with disabilities, have been denied this most basic choice. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (“DHS”) has promised for many years to “help people move to more integrated settings, homes that they choose,” (DHS Advertisement, ACCESS PRESS, September, 2015) but it has failed to give Plaintiffs and hundreds of similarly situated individuals the opportunity to meet that goal. Defendants established and maintain a discriminatory residential service system that funnels individuals with disabilities into segregated housing while restricting their ability to move to more integrated settings of their own choice.
Plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit are individuals with disabilities who want to be integrated into their communities, like people without disabilities, but have been denied the opportunity due to the actions and inactions of Defendants. The Class consists of individuals who are receiving a Medicaid Home and Community Based Disability Waiver (“Disability Waiver”) and are living in a Community Residential Setting (“CRS”) facility, but want to live elsewhere and be integrated into their community. Instead, Defendants have needlessly segregated the Individual Plaintiffs and Class Members (collectively referred to as the “Plaintiffs”) away from their family, friends, and the communities in which they wish to live.
The Arc of Illinois
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Frankfort, IL 60423