Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor to Secretary Donovan (her arm raised) discusses HUD's role in implementing Olmstead, while Sara Pratt, Deputy Assistant Secretary for FH&EO, (dressed in blue), listens.
In the inaugural meeting between Headquarters and a regional office to discuss the impact of the Olmstead Act, the New York Regional Office recently hosted a working session to discuss HUD's role in enforcing this landmark decision, which in 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that the unjustified segregation of individuals with disabilities is a form of discrimination prohibited by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ruling prompted public entities across the country to assist individuals who have been institutionalized or housed in other segregated settings to move to integrated, community-based settings.
Joining the working session from HUD Headquarters were Jennifer Ho, Senior Advisor to Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Sara Pratt, Deputy Assistant Secretary in FH&EO. A conference call was also set up to allow other Headquarters and New York Field Office staff to participate in the discussion. The Olmstead ruling is an important vehicle for HUD because the Department is committed to offering individuals with disabilities housing options that enable them to make meaningful choices about housing, health care, and support services they receive. The working session focused on a number of topics, including the states' role in providing community-based services to individuals with disabilities, HUD's role in assisting recipients of federal financial assistance from the Department to better understand their responsibilities under Olmstead, and the availability of HUD resources to assist housing providers promote integrated housing opportunities for individual with disabilities.