Rights/LTSS: Disability Integration Act Reintroduced

On January 15, Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reintroduced the Disability Integration Act (H.R.555/S.117). The Disability Integration Act requires states to offer community-based options. Additionally, it requires states to address the need for affordable housing. ADAPT and other advocates held a briefing on the day of introduction.

HUD Receives 42 Applications for New Integrated Housing for People with Disabilities

In May, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the availability of $85 million to state housing agencies to provide affordable, inclusive, supportive housing for extremely low-income people with disabilities. This historic announcement marked the first time that Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program funding is being offered to state housing agencies that meet new eligibility criteria, including having a partnership with a state health and human services and Medicaid agency to provide essential supports and services. HUD estimates that this funding will provide 2,800 new supportive housing units for people with disabilities set within larger housing developments in the community. The application deadline closed August 7, with HUD receiving 42 applications from 34 states and the District of Columbia. For more information on the Section 811 program visit the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) Resource Center on Supportive Housing at http://811resourcecenter.tacinc.org.

Federal Agencies Sign Agreement to Promote Employment First

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) have announced a new memorandum of agreement (MOA). Under the MOA, the agencies will collaborate to expand and promote integrated employment as the first employment option for individuals with significant disabilities, including intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Senate to Hold Hearing on Olmstead

On Thursday, June 21 the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing on “Olmstead Enforcement Update: Using the ADA to Promote Community Integration.” The hearing will start at 10:00 AM EDT. Visit the Committee’s web site to review the hearing notice, download statements, and view live video the day of the hearing.

Court Issues Ruling in Oregon Employment Case

Last week, the U.S. District Court in Oregon issued a ruling in Lane v. Kitzhaber (3:12-cv-00138-ST). The case alleges that Oregon is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide employment services to individuals with disabilities in the most integrated settings appropriate. The Court granted a motion to dismiss the complaint, but without prejudice and with leave to amend, while directing the Plaintiffs how to correct the wording of the complaint. Additionally, the Court determined that the plaintiffs have valid cognizable claims under Title II of the ADA and that the ADA’s integration mandate applies to the provision of employment-related services. As of Capitol Insider publication time, the Court’s Opinion and Order is not yet widely available. However, Disability Rights Oregon, representing the plaintiffs, has provided a summary (the state of Oregon has not released a summary of its own, as of publication time).

Illinois Settlement in Community Integration Case

The state of Illinois reached a settlement agreement in a community integration lawsuit filed in 2005 by four individuals who lived in intermediate care facilities for people with developmental disabilities (ICF/DD) but wanted to live in more integrated settings. Under the agreement, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities that choose to move from ICFs/DD will be able to move into community homes. An additional 3,000 people living at home without services will be provided with community-based services.  Two years ago, hundreds of people opposed an earlier version of the settlement agreement fearing that their family members would be forced to move. Under the settlement agreement, those who choose to live in an ICF/DD may do so. To read more about the settlement, go to the Equip for Equality website summary.