Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 9am
A House for Me
Dennis Dean is a Nurse Anesthetist who, in addition to other facilities, has worked at the Pineland Dental Clinic and the Preble Street Dental Clinic, both of which served our population of citizens with Intellectual Disabilities. In the 1990s he lectured as an adjunct at the University of New England Nurse Anesthesia Program including about the care of persons with Intellectual Disabilities. He served on the Consumer Advisory Board, representing the interests of disabled citizens when the State of Maine settled the Community Consent Decree. He has been involved in the Special Olympics movement since the 1980s, serving as Director of York County Special Olympics since 1991. He is a veteran of twenty years of military service in the Air Force. He resides in Kittery.
A House for ME proposes a new way to provide housing and support services to people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The people we will work with have the ability to pay some rent but it needs to be affordable. Low rents are nearly impossible to find in Southern York County. We need to buy or construct a building to keep the rents down. We are applying for grant money from Maine Based Foundations to underwrite the cost of the land and building.
In Maine, historically, as with many government programs, home based support services for persons with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have been provided on an “all or none basis”. In other words, when a person qualified for services based on their disability and funds were available, 100 percent of their support services were paid through Medicaid (Mainecare) Section 21.
As the population of citizens needing these services has increased, a waiting list has developed. That list has grown from approximately 775 persons in 2013 to over 1500 at this writing. The State Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Governor, and the Legislature have worked together to care for the most needy by funding all on the list who had been classified as the highest priority. In spite of this, the total list has grown, and 173 of these people who are waiting are right here in York County. We also know through DHHS records that just in “our little corner of the World” — Kittery, Eliot and York, there are 27 people waiting on this endless list. If we add in the Berwicks, it approaches 40.
In the short term, we aim to provide safe, supported housing in the local community for these citizens. We plan to begin with one building, either through purchase or construction, to house three or four people. As said above, we know there are at least 27 in our area who are waiting for this help. The second step will be to grow the project in York County, as we know that there are nearly 200 waiting. And, in the long term, we want to consult with others across the State of Maine to show them how they can use this exciting model of supports to not only enhance the lives of the residents, but also make their community more accepting and inclusive.