This letter is from the Southtown Star in Tinley Park.
Forum: Disabled persons deserve better
May 30, 2012 10:18PM Supporters of institutional living are using scare tactics in a desperate attempt to sway public opinion against Gov. Quinn’s plan to close state institutions. They are talking about people losing their jobs, residents being turned away with nowhere to go and families being separated. Don’t be fooled.
My interest is for the residents of these institutions. The Arc of Illinois is standing by these families to make sure they have a meaningful and successful transition into community living. No one will be “evicted.”
We have been working with the Illinois Department of Human Services on a comprehensive transition plan that will ensure a person-centered approach. Each disabled person will receive an evaluation and be moved into a community setting that is personalized to empower them to live an independent, safe and happy life — whether it’s living alone or with a small group, 24-hour care or a more independent lifestyle.
The days of segregating people with disabilities are long gone and to suggest that they should remain institutionalized and not be given the opportunity to thrive in a community setting is insulting. We work with countless families, some of whose loved ones have been labeled with severe disabilities and who have moved from an institution to a community home and flourished. People with disabilities want and deserve the same opportunities we all do. It’s time to stop selling them short and disregarding their potential. It’s time to get real about the amazing opportunities and dreams that are attainable by living in a community.