Len Levine (Part 1)

Served as Commissioner of the Department of Human Services and worked on the transition to State-Operated Community Services

(Run time 1:41)

We had to get the transition so that people did not wind up out on the street and the transition had to be smoothly done. And it needed to be balanced, for however you looked at it. If it was some people said that well we needed to keep the jobs.

I looked at it a little differently. I looked at it that the workers who were in the state institutions Were sensitized to working with people with developmental disabilities and they were skilled in working in this area. And they weren't going to jump they were life time, you know lifers, many of them, they had worked in this area. So they weren't going to work at the local McDonalds to make 25 cents an hour more.

I mean it is a very demanding and challenging area. And so we worked to get the funding to get everything in place. We needed the funding to do it. We needed the workers to come into the communities and some people were afraid, "We don't want those people in our community."

I mean I used to hear that when I was on the City Council and in fact, I live in an area now which is less than a half a block away from a home with developmentally disabled. And what I said some years ago, this is what's happened today. That home fits in just like all the other homes in the neighborhood. There are people living in that home just like every other home. And that is it. That is the bottom line. People are a part of the community and people come in different shapes, and sizes, and colors and ideas.