Challenging the Broader Community to Do Its Job
There are at least two dimensions to the challenge to the broader community in supporting people with developmental disabilities to lead meaningful lives in the community. One is to encourage and insist that citizens and community organizations do the right thing – afford people with disabilities the access and supports to which they are entitled. This means moving to a recognition that the Parks and Recreation Department and its services are not just for those citizens who do not need support, or that seniors' centers are not only for seniors who also happen not to live with a disability.
One of the things that we are working desperately on is to get people who own apartment complexes to be compliant with the Fair Housing Act as far as disability standards. In a lot of ways we are going backwards as far as accessibility goes. We are having to file a lot of complaints against major complexes because there are stairs into it and people are not able to get into them if they have mobility impairments. One of the things that I have been happy to see the Department of Justice coming out strongly enforcing a couple of cases across the country, in putting really big fines in place, forcing people to retrofit.
Bob Liston, Missoula, Montana
We must force all of the legitimate, generic public entities to do their piece. Parks and Rec, community support services, the seniors' centers that are part of many communities have got to open their doors to all people.