Legislative Effort to Create Community Housing Opportunities for the Developmentally Disabled Receives Senate Committee Approval
Thursday, February 7, 2013 • 9:21pm
Senator Robert Gordon (D., Bergen/Passaic) has sponsored a bill that will enhance opportunities for people with disabilities to secure housing in New Jersey. S-254 seeks to address the needs of disabled people whose families have difficulty caring for them at home. In many cases the parents are too old or inform to provide the quality of care that the disabled individual requires. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of possible residential
placements for these people with special needs. Often, the disabled individual is placed pn a waiting list, where he or she may remain for many years and, in some cases, for decades. It has been estimated that more than 5,000 such individuals have been on a waiting list for more than 10 years.
The bill seeks to ease the rules and lessen the obstacles that may make it difficult for community placement of adults with developmental disabilities. The Assembly version of the bill, A-2893, is sponsored by Valerie Vanieri Huttle (D.-Bergen and Passaic), Pamela Lampitt (D.- Burlington/Camden), Thomas Giblin (D.-Essex/Passaic) ,and John McKeon (D.-Essex/Morris). According to the language of the bill:
“There are nearly 5,000 persons with developmental disabilities on the priority waiting list for residential placements, and that number is growing ...There are an additional 2,500 persons with developmental disabilities who are institutionalized in State-operated developmental centers, many of whom are candidates for placement into community residential programs funded by the Department of Human Services... From time
to time, shortages also exist in the availability of non-residential services provided to persons with developmental disabilities, and existing methodologies of serving persons with developmental disabilities are unable to produce sufficient services to keep pace with demand.”
The bill will seek strong public and private partnerships to create funding that will make community placements possible. Those individuals who have remained on waiting lists for many years will finally have an opportunity to live along their non-disabled peers in community settings, with a degree of independence.
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