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Statement on the One Year Anniversary of Obama Year Of Community Living Initiative

  • Published: 2010-06-23 : HHS press releases.
  • Synopsis: System to link persons with disabilities to affordable housing in their home communities.

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Today's announcement will also aide the implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which was handed down 11 years ago today.

In honor of today's one year anniversary of the Obama Administration's "Year of Community Living," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced new funds for states to build innovative systems to link persons with disabilities to affordable housing in their home communities.

This new $3.2 million, three-year contract is designed to create unprecedented collaboration between human services agencies and housing authorities at all levels of government to help persons living in institutions find homes and live more independently. The effort, the Housing Capacity Building Initiative for Community Living, will be led by New Additions Consulting Inc.

Today's announcement will also aide the implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C., which was handed down 11 years ago today. In that decision, the court ruled that, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, unnecessarily institutionalizing a person with a disability who, with proper support, can live in the community is discrimination. In its ruling, the Court said that institutionalization severely limits the person's ability to interact with family and friends, to work and to make a life for him or herself.

"The Department is continuing to build on the important efforts launched by the President's Year of Community Living initiative," said Secretary Sebelius. "Our efforts are being strengthened with the support and efforts of our colleagues in the Department of Housing and Urban Development and at the Department of Justice."

Secretary Sebelius is promoting partnerships within HHS and with other departments, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development to create a productive collaboration in ensuring that people with disabilities, seniors and individuals with chronic conditions have new opportunities to live as valued members of their communities.

Also today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is issuing a letter to state Medicaid directors describing the extension of the Money Follows the Person Demonstration as a result of the Affordable Care Act. This program has been a very successful partnership with states and has resulted in many individuals moving from institutional to community-based settings.

"The implementation of the Affordable Care Act helps advance the civil rights of individuals with disabilities and community living arrangements, building on the important cornerstone in the Olmstead decision," said Henry Claypool, director of the Office on Disability. "Today's announcement is yet another step in HHS' 11-year effort to achieve that goal."

To read more on HHS accomplishments during the Year of Community Living, please visit www.hhs.gov/od/topics/community/keyadvances.html. More information about the Money Follows the Person program can be found at www.cms.hhs.gov/CommunityServices/20_MFP.asp

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