Governor Quinn gave the State of the State Address on Wednesday. As usual, we had our ear out for the forthcoming Budget Address and good old budget season: what will happen with our funding next fiscal year? If there’s a minimum wage increase would we get funding to cover the increased costs? How are we going to deal with healthcare reform? However, all those concerns went away with a moment of bliss. Governor Quinn, thank you for your beautiful words and commitment to better lives for people with developmental disabilities:
“EMBRACING ALL PEOPLE
Four years ago, Illinois lagged behind the nation in providing community care to people withdevelopmental disabilities and mental health challenges. We were institutionalizing more people than any other state, even though community care has been proven to provide a better quality of life. So we are changing that. We’re committed to making sure all our citizens – regardless of the challenges they face – have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
That’s why we closed outdated institutions – and we invested in community care. We invested in people. People like Eddy Fleming are now thriving with a better, more independent life. After 12 years of living at a state institution, Eddy recently moved to a community home. He chooses what he wants to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He goes shopping, he walks around his neighborhood, and he practices guitar on his porch. Eddy makes his own choices and chases his own dreams. That’s our Illinois.
And I am pleased to announce today that, because of our commitment, Illinois will soon receive significant new resources to provide supportive housing for people with disabilities. These resources will provide not only a roof over their heads…but also the skills training, counseling, and services they need to become productive members of their communities.
And we’re not done yet. We want Illinois to be the nation’s leading employer of people with disabilities. With your partnership, we can double the rate of employment for people with disabilities by 2015.”