DAA News Network

USA: Budget cuts could dump disabled people in homeless shelters

Posted 02/11-10 at 15.15

A family in Battle Ground, Indiana, have been told that because the state won't pay for their disabled son to live independently, they should consider leaving him at a shelter for homeless people.

The state bureau responsible denied this is their policy. However, there are 20,000 people on waiting lists for such assistance and there have been many similar reports of officials making the same suggestion about how to deal with disabled relatives from elsewhere in Indiana.

This seems to be the direct result of budget cuts that have sharply reduced support for independent living. In addition, disabled foster children are being moved to lower cost programs that don't provide the services they need and grocery benefits have been cut for hundreds of adults with learning difficulties.


Editorial comment: Stories like this are becoming all too common in the USA and as states struggle with their budgets, disabled people are going to suffer more and more. For example, in California, among the massive cuts made to support for disabled people, Governor Schwarzenegger has terminated a programme that is helping 20,000 students with mental health problems to stay in school.

In response, a class action lawsuit has been filed by Disability Rights California (DRC) and two other groups against the state. Candis Bowles of DRC said, "Parents are scared about what will happen next. We've had calls about kids who no longer get services designed to keep them in the community. There are children ready to leave institutions but can't because the support services are gone."


As is happening in the UK, much of the progress we have made in long, hard-fought battles for equality and independent living is being eroded. It is a cruel irony that just as we have finally managed to get a UN Convention to protect our human rights, many of those rights are being swept aside in the name of ‘economic necessity'.

Speaking of the need to make sacrifices to reduce the country's budget deficit (the economic necessity), the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, says, ‘we are all in this together.' Such an Alice-in-Wonderland statement would be comical if the inequality of pain wasn't so clear - the lives of people who are old or poor or disabled is becoming more desperate, just as earnings and bonuses for those in the financial sector, largely responsible for the economic crisis, have recovered strongly. So much for mutual sacrifice, so much togetherness!







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