New Partnerships and Novel Plans: Housing Solutions for People with Disabilities


Chicago, IL – September 10, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — More than 200 stakeholders—including federal, state and county officials; local mayors and other municipal leaders; housing developers; disability advocates; service providers; and people with disabilities—will convene Monday, September 9, 2013, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to discuss strategies to provide more opportunities for people with disabilities to successfully integrate into communities across the Chicago metropolitan region and the state. The brainchild of The Chicago Community Trust, the “New Partnerships and Novel Plans: Housing Solutions for People with Disabilities” event is co-hosted by the Trust’s Persons with Disabilities Fund, the Coleman Foundation, the Pierce Family Foundation and the Supportive Housing Providers Association.

The event takes place with the State of Illinois’ Long Term Care Reform and Rebalancing Initiative (Rebalancing Initiative) as a back drop. Having previously isolated thousands of people with disabilities over the course of decades in institutional settings, the State now seeks to re-integrate this population back into the mainstream physical, economic and cultural community. The State’s Rebalancing Initiative has the potential to touch the lives of 40,000 people with disabilities across Illinois during a 6 to 8 year timeframe.

The Rebalancing Initiative grows out of the convergence of financial challenges; the Williams, Ligas, and Colbert Consent Decrees over the past three years; and advocates’ calls for the State to facilitate improved quality of life for people with disabilities. In 2011 the Governor announced his decision to close a number of state-run institutions (State Operated Developmental Centers) in a climate of severe budgetary strain. Meanwhile, three lawsuits brought against the State of Illinois to promote
deinstitutionalization of people with disabilities were working their way through the legal system:

Williams v. Quinn (2005), Ligas V. Maram (2005) and Colbert v. Quinn (2008). These were based on Olmstead v. L.C. (1999), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities is discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The decision also held that people with disabilities have the right to receive services in the least restrictive living environment.

“The ‘New Partnerships and Novel Plans’ event is a follow-up to the Trust’s previous call to action to ensure community living options and an effort to keep the State focused on these goals,” said Juanita Irizarry, Trust Senior Program Officer in Human Services and Community Development. “It also represents a corralling of additional support to ensure progress and momentum to help propel the State’s Rebalancing Initiative forward.”

In 2010, the Persons with Disabilities Fund of The Chicago Community Trust released a white paper, “A Quest for Equality: Breaking the Barriers for People with Disabilities, A Call to Action for Illinois Leaders.” The paper indicated that Illinois has long been among those states doing the worst job of providing opportunities for people with disabilities to live in integrated settings. It set out the following goals for the State to improve its position:

? By 2015, Illinois will meet or exceed the national average for supporting people in community settings by shifting long-term care spending to community supports from institutional care.

? By 2015, Illinois will have developed a housing infrastructure to support the transition of people moving out of institutions and nursing homes, as well as to help with the prevention of people being unnecessarily institutionalized.

As it seeks to rise to the occasion, the State is faced with enormous funding and logistics challenges. The relatively short time horizon for compliance with the Consent Decrees and the complex service needs of the individuals with disabilities to help them successfully live in community-based settings makes this task monumental.

“We hope that this gathering will engender a better understanding among a variety of stakeholders of this social model of integrated housing—one that provides independence and dignity for people with disabilities,” said John H. Catlin, member of The Chicago Community Trust’s Executive Committee and co-chair of its Persons with Disabilities Fund. “The good news is that it appears that the federal and state government’s understanding of this issue is growing as they have made important commitments to reintegrating people with disabilities into community-based settings. We’re going to hold them to it, and help them.”

As such, The Chicago Community Trust and its partners seek to support the State’s efforts by engaging a broad array of stakeholders who have the potential to influence the outcome of this effort. The event’s goals are to: raise awareness amongst the individuals and entities that drive housing production; create and/or reinvigorate enthusiasm, focus and energy around connecting the housing and disability communities; strengthen shared goals across the housing and disability communities; increase common understanding, language and interest in working together; convert the energy and awareness developed during this event into inspiration and action by attendees to commit to and work on housing solutions for people with disabilities. Participants will engage in presentations and dialogue around the need for and strategies to foster more housing with supportive services across all areas of the disability community.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator Antonio Riley and Illinois Housing Development Authority Mary Kenney will deliver lunchtime keynote addresses. Panelists will include people with disabilities whose quality of life has been improved by re-integrating into community-based settings, including one of the lawsuit plaintiffs, Stanley Ligas. Other presenters will include but are not limited to Richard Monocchio, executive director of the Housing Authority of Cook County, former Oak Park village president David Pope, and former Mount Prospect mayor Irvana K. Willis.

The event will highlight multiple local models of housing serving the spectrum of disability communities to explore and draw attention to existing, replicable strategies, offer a mix of speakers from public, private and nonprofit institutions to engage the broader audience in attendance, using non-technical “housing 101” language to build a strong knowledge base amongst attendees, provide overviews of key policy, legal and/or regulatory issues affecting the specific intersection of housing for individuals with disabilities, and build a common knowledge of the current environment, including Illinois Consent Decrees, the Rebalancing Initiative, plans to end homelessness, the Olmstead Act and more.

For 98 years, The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago.

In 2012, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $150 million to nonprofit organizations:

developing new audiences to sustain Chicago’s vibrant arts organizations, protecting the human success safety net for those hardest hit by the recession, stemming the devastating effects of foreclosures on our communities, elevating teaching to meet world class standards; and improving conditions for healthy and active lifestyles. To learn more, please visit the Trust online at

For more information about this event, contact Lore Baker at or see and click on “creating new partnerships and novel plans”.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
230 S. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL
8:30am – 5pm; reception to follow

Media Contact: Eva Penar,
312.616.8000 x 161

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