The 1999 Olmstead decision clarified the court’s intent to afford persons with disabilities the opportunity to live independently in and as part of the larger community, which in turn means access to opportunities available to all persons.
To quote from the ruling, the goal is to seek “the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities” or “a setting that enables individuals with disabilities to interact with non-disabled persons to the fullest extent possible.”
Housing is key to community integration, as where we live determines our access to a host of essential community services. HUD’s message on this is also clear:”Individuals with disabilities, like individuals without disabilities, should have choice and self determination in housing and in the health care and related support services they receive. For this reason, HUD is committed to offering individuals with disabilities housing options that enable them to make meaningful choices about housing, health care, and long-term services and supports so they can participate fully in community life.”
There are many efforts underway in Idaho to achieve the aims of Olmstead, and will take communication and coordination among all partners to create a diverse mix of housing choices throughout the state’s many regions. Housing alone doesn’t make a community accessible, but it’s a really good place to start.
Read more here: Olmstead and housing