Honoring the next 25 years of community living under the ADA

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SPECIAL TO THE EAST COUNTY CALIFORNIAN

SPECIAL TO THE EAST COUNTY CALIFORNIAN

On July 26 we honored the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Everyone knows someone who has benefitted from the ADA. It has benefited millions of Americans by protecting their right to fully participate in their communities.

As Americans, we tend to take for granted the right to choose where we want to live, determine what we consider a home, determine who our friends will be, and to be active and participatory members of community. This has not been the same for persons with intellectual / developmental disabilities (I/DD). Fifty years ago, services and supports could not be accessed easily in communities and institutionalization was the most likely option for many.

Today, individuals with I/DD have a wide range of options for community living and working, but four years from now this may not be true. Recent changes in federal and California regulations may have the unintended consequences of restricting access to support services in an individual’s preferred home, workplace and community.

Home of Guiding Hands, a community based nonprofit supporting over 1,000 children, adolescents and adults with disabilities (www.guidinghands.org) and Noah Homes, a community campus setting, on 11 acres in San Diego County, provides homes for 70 adults with disabilities and giving more than 300 family members the assurance that their loved one has a home through end of life care (www.noahhomes.org), are working on solutions in California as members of the Coalition for Community Choice (www.coalitionforcommunitychoice.org), a national collaboration of organizations and businesses who want to continue to increase options and decrease barriers to housing and employment choices.

We call upon all stakeholders in California to continue to put the rights of individuals with Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities first in the next 25 years of the ADA.

Mark R. Klaus is the President & CEO of Home of Guiding Hands (www.guidinghands.org).

Molly Nocon is the CEO of Noah Home (www.noahhomes.org).

For more information, contact Mark at markk@guidinghands.org or by phone at (619) 938-2850 OR Molly at m.nocon@noahhomes.org or by phone at (619) 660-6200.

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