Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Opinion: N.J. Struggles with Housing Issue

TRENTON, N.J. -- The plight of New Jerseyans with developmental disabilities has received considerable media attention in recent weeks. Perhaps the most immediate burning issue regarding this population is the housing problem.
In many cases, the parents of adults with developmental disabilities are elderly and unable to continue to care for their offspring with special needs. Most tragically, the parents often die before alternative living arrangements can be made. In fact, the current State Administration inherited a waiting list for housing for adults with disabilities. Such adults can expect to wait seven or more years before such housing become available.
The State, in attempting to deal with the situation, has set a policy in which the home of the parents of the disabled person will be made more accessible, in lieu of an outside housing placement. The obvious problem is that the parents continue to become older, more frail, and inevitable pass away with the vulnerable, disabled person without housing. As this occurs, the waiting list continues to become longer and longer, as additional applications for housing are made.

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