In the final installment of their series on Disability in Chicago, the Neighborhood Writing Alliance highlights Tuesday’s settlement of the final lawsuit charging state policies violate the rights of people to choose to live outside institutions and nursing homes with the story of one man who made the transition.
With the help of Access Living’s deinstitutionalization program, Nathaniel Allen recently found a two-bedroom apartment in Englewood and moved out of a nursing home. He’s a retired security guard who has osteoarthritis.
Through Access Living, Allen got a housing voucher to help cover rent, and the group also provided furniture, household items, and other help. Now he’s taking classes at Kennedy-King College.
Access Living was one of several groups that sued Illinois on behalf of three groups of people living in institutions, charging that state policies did not offer the choice of living in a community setting as required by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1999 Olmstead decision.
Last week NWA reported on the issue of domestic violence and people with disabilities. That community is “an invisible group in terms of domestic violence,” said Linda Miller, director of the domestic violence program at the Schwab Rehabilition Center.
Miller, who’s lived with polio for 55 years and is herself a survivor of domestic violence, says people with disabilities are often more vulnerable; abusers can take advantage of physical weaknesses or withhold access to wheelchairs or medications, and victims can be afraid to speak up if they are dependent on their abusers.
Schwab’s domestic violence program is the only such program in the Chicago area, Miller said.
NWA recently published the latest edition of the Journal of Ordinary Thought, entitled “I Am Here.” Take a minute and check out “Momma: In Her Purest Form” by Kee Humphrey. It’s good.
And in honor of the Year of the Protestor (as declared by Time Magazine), the group has reposted three poems from “Testify: JOT Writers on Creative Resistance,” which was published this summer.