Disabled and living in nursing home sue for alternative housing

Three disabled men who live in a nursing home have filed a class action suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act and claim that the state of Maine has filed violated their rights by not providing an alternative housing situation. The suit now has as many as 40 plaintiffs who face similar living conditions around the state. All three of the original plaintiffs are young men with disabilities who are living in nursing homes. The young men say that their living circumstances are depressing and want to live around others who are like them.

One of the disabled young men is a 27-year-old guy that wants independence just like any other in his 20’s except his road to independence is different than most 20 year olds. The 27-year-old has cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a brain disorder that affects an individual’s motor and speech skills but not the individual’s cognitive ability. The twenty-something is taking college classes but needs care and supervision every day.

The young man has lived in a nursing home where his mother works for the past nine years, but the 27-year-old and others want to be self-sufficient in an environment that is designed for adults with disabilities. The young man and others similarly situated currently live in nursing homes because of the lack of facilities in the state that accommodate young adults with disabilities. Fortunately, the 27-year-old and his partners may be able to move into housing designed for them before the lawsuit concludes.

Three different organization have come together to create a seven-unit apartment complex. The state’s Housing Authority has provided almost $1 million through supportive housing grants to acquire a building and refurbish it for the young adults needs. One of the organizations that provides cognitive and developmental disability services has agreed to provide services at the new apartment complex.

Source: Bangor Daily News, “Adults with disabilities seeking independence may get a home,” Eric Russell, 2/4/11

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