Thursday, February 18, 2010
Come on HUD, Free People from Nursing Homes
Information Bulletin # 301 (2/2010)
Ah, the hopes raised by a new HUD administration. Early last year, Congress provided funds for 4,000 Mainstream Vouchers for Non-Elderly People with Disabilities. New Secretary of HUD, Shaun. L. Donovan, met with ADAPT and agreed with ADAPT that 1,000 of these vouchers should be used to help disabled people move out of nursing homes.
On June 22, 2009, HUD issued a "Proposed Notice" in the Federal Register. Comments were due by July 14, 2009. A number of you responded with comments.
Before any of these 4,000 vouchers can be used, HUD must publish in the Federal Register a Notice of Financial Availability (NOFA) so that Public Housing Authorities and others can submit competitive bids for these vouchers. Yes, another Federal Register publication. After that occurs, HUD must review the bids and then allocate the vouchers.
How many people will die before one voucher is used? How many people with disabilities will develop bed sores in nursing facilities? Urinary tract and other infections in these institutions? How many people in what President Obama called "the year of community living" exist in nursing homes waiting for these vouchers?
Hmm. Why has it taken more than SEVEN months and still NO NOFA? Doesn't HUD understand that there are people unnecessarily institutionalized solely because they cannot afford to rent an apartment without the rental assistance of a voucher? Doesn't HUD and the White House realize there are actual cost savings from using the vouchers and having people live in the community? Doesn't anyone in the White House or HUD have a relative in a nursing facility who wants to get out? Don't they understand how dangerous nursing facilities are?
Here is one excuse we've heard - approval of the NOFA is "in process at OMB." Well, tell Secretary Donovan to at least pretend that these vouchers and ending discrimination against people with disabilities is a HUD priority. Tell him to get his butt down to OMB and tell them he's not leaving until these vouchers get out of OMB! If he needs company at OMB, let us know!
Send HUD an email - Shaun.L.Donovan@hud.gov to "Free Our People."
Steve Gold, The Disability Odyssey continues
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