WXXI AM News

Lawsuit filed against NYS to expand housing opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities

Nov 22, 2016

A law firm that has filed a class action suit seeking expansion of residential opportunities for people with developmental disabilities is expecting to get a legal response soon from the state.

The law firm of Kenney, Shelton, Liptak, Nowak LLP filed the suit earlier this year against Governor Cuomo  and the head of the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Special Counsel Bruce Goldstein says the waiting list for adults who need these kinds of residential opportunities is growing, with about 2,000 families in Western New York on a waiting list right now.

“Every year more and more adults with developmental disabilities are aging out of the public school system and therefore becoming adults who are in need of residential opportunities and what the state is doing is kicking the can down the road.”

Goldstein says they don't want to see those situations have to be handled on an emergency basis.

“We’re trying to recognize that there is a significant problem for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families and meeting the needs of these people to be able to live in the community and to make that transition in a caring and dignified way.”

A spokesperson for the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities issued this response to WXXI News:

The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities takes the needs of those in our system who require residential services and are living with aging caregivers very seriously‎. We have taken a number of steps to address this issue, including immediate steps to expand residential, day and respite options for those living at home. In addition, OPWDD is currently in the process of developing a multi-year housing plan in concert with stakeholders to create new residential opportunities to meet the needs of those living at home with aging caregivers. We can't comment on the pending litigation."

Goldstein is providing a presentation on the lawsuit Tuesday night at 6:30 pm at the Al Sigl Campus in Rochester on behalf of Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York.