Teen Has Sights Set On Having His Own Place
October 26, 2004
WALES, MAINE--Billy Neal is not much different from other 17-year-olds in his small town of Wales.
He attends Oak Hill High School with his friends. He sings bass in the school chorus. Last week he auditioned for the role of Theodore Roosevelt in the school musical "Annie."
But when school is over, Billy returns to a nursing home, where the residents are older than his grandparents and his roommate is 65 years old.
"They try to make it the best they can for me," he told the Kennebec Journal. "But it doesn't have a lot of activities.
"It isn't the right place for me," he said of the nursing home. "There's no one my age."
According to Monday's Journal, Billy has cerebral palsy, scoliosis and mental retardation. He uses a motorized wheelchair to get around.
His family has been working to get Billy out of the nursing home and into his own three-bedroom place for him to share with one other roommate his age. It's a move that would make sense in a lot of ways, even financially, because it would cost a lot less.
Billy is ready. His home is ready. The agency that would provide his personal care services is ready.
The problem is, the state says it no longer has money in the MaineCare Home and Community-based Waiver Program for Billy to move.
Billy and his family have not given up hope. And this weekend residents in his parents home town of Litchfield are hosting a fund-raiser to help cover the legal bills the family has accumulated during their battle to get Billy out of the nursing home and into his own place.
"Teen needs help from his friends" (Kennebec Journal)
"State withdraws plan to limit personal care for disabled" (Kennebec Journal)