In a victory for adults with mental health disabilities, hundreds of such people will be relocated from nursing homes in New York state to supported housing in the community.
The case began in 2006 when a two residents in a NY nursing home – Joseph S. and Stephen W. – sued, claiming the state was violating the ADA and the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision by restricting their ability to move out of the institutions.
It’s a pretty simple, yet profound, request. One of the best representations of that desire is displayed in this short documentary, Coco’s Story. The video was produced by a New York based group, with the tongue-in-cheek name: Coalition of the Institutionalized, Aged and Disabled. I usually don’t recommend videos online, but this is worth the nine minutes it takes to watch.
Plaintiffs were represented by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, the protection and advocacy organization for New York City. NYLPI’s Disability Law Center serves the same role in NYC as Disability Rights North Carolina does in NC.
As reported in the NY Times:
…the settlement sets a three-year deadline for the state to move everyone who qualifies out of nursing homes and into the community. To that end, the state has promised to develop 200 new units of supported housing: units, typically apartments, where residents live alone or in small groups and receive regular visits from social workers.
This is pretty much what advocates for people with disabilities in North Carolina have been asking the state to do for people in adult care homes. A federal judge ruled in 2009 that NY state needed to do the same thing for adult care home residents there.
The US Department of Justice will probably be seeking something similar in North Carolina.