Proposed Special Needs Communities Stir Debate
A debate is brewing in Florida between families who want to establish retirement-style communities for adults with developmental disabilities and those who believe that inclusive, community living is more appropriate.
Groups across the state want to develop new neighborhoods specifically for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Much like the retirement communities that dot the sunshine state’s landscape, the proposed developments would offer a mix of apartments, single-family homes and group homes in addition to amenities like community dining rooms.
Trouble is that a Florida law bars group homes from being within 1,000 feet of each other, largely preventing the retirement-style communities from moving forward. Now, a bill under consideration in the state legislature would allow local governments to make exceptions to the rule.
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Families advocating for the law change argue that people with developmental disabilities would be more comfortable among those who can relate in specialized, gated developments. And, they say, these communities would provide safe environments for individuals who, for example, forget to look before crossing the street.
But critics of the plans say they would amount to institutions and that people with developmental disabilities need to live in the greater community so that they can learn appropriate behavior, reports the Miami Herald. To read more click here.