The transition of disabled people from institutional living into their own homes is being eased by $12 million in federal funds. The money, granted to the Illinois Housing Development Authority, will help those with physical or developmental disabilities get out of state institutions or nursing homes and live on their own.
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While this particular grant is new, the state has been working at this for several years, says Maurice Drew, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Since 2009, the state of Illinois has created over 1,600 new units of supportive housing, providing more options than ever to people with disabilities,” he said.
Advocates say this is a better situation for them – they get to live their own lives in their own homes like anybody else – but it also is cheaper for the taxpayers. Drew says institutional settings cost four times as much as subsidized supportive housing.
The United States Supreme Court held in the case Olmstead v. L.C. in 1999 that those with mental disabilities have a right to live in non-institutional settings, if they can and if that’s what they want. Drew said Illinois is working hard to comply.
This grant will make available 825 apartments across the state for those with special needs and very low incomes. Illinois was one of 13 states to receive a grant.