This blind spot is those who are mentally handicap. Together these people make up about 13% of America, but they are not as taken care of as they should be. There is government funding set in place for those with this disability but it only covers about 30,000 people leaving about 20,000 on the wait list for Medicaid.
According to Kosik, The parents of those with personal disabilities are worried about what will happen with their children after they [the parents] are gone. With this in mind, Kosik has created a place called “Noah’s Arc” where those with disabilities could live and be independent people.
Getting this kind of housing has proved to be more difficult than one would assume. There are laws in place to try to help those who can’t normally help themselves, but are they working?
“There was a law in place saying that only a couple of people with disabilities can live within 2 property lines. This is mostly put in place for the other people living in the neighborhood. It has the ‘not in my backyard’ feel. Everyone thinks that this is a good idea, but not a lot of people would want it in their own neighborhood,” says Kosik.
The Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 was set in place by Senator Altman was recently appealed so that Noah’s Nest could be possible. The court document says “Planned Residential Community is a community with residential homes located within a planned residential community may be contiguous to one another; providing an effective date.”
Through a grievous amount of time spent at our Tallahassee, Kosik and a few others who felt the sting of what this law really meant decided to change the law to match what would help the majority of those who were falling through the cracks.
“We’ve gotten an Administrative Rule removed from the Florida Medicaid Handbook that put limitations, or quotas on how many people with DD could live in a given area. A rule that someone thought would be a good idea but did not have statutory authority. It took us nine months to get the rule removed,” says Kosik.
Since that time, Noah’s Arc has been able to purchases enough land in downtown Lakeland for 3 houses, with 11 different people having the ability to live there independently.
The abridged act did say that “individuals who have developmental disabilities should be able to select a home with the same freedom of choice as other United States citizens”
Because of people like Kosik, those with DD are able to live with the freedom of being with others just like them in their own community. The best part is that they have the ability to pay for it, even with the meager income that they receive.