STRATFORD, Conn. -- Budget cuts have forced the closure of a residential home for the developmentally disabled in Stratford, causing about 30 people to find new homes, according to News 12.
The Ella T. Grasso Regional Center, serving clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is closing its doors this week, News 12 reported.
"I have been contacted by family members of residents and staff to keep the center open and as you know with other members of the delegation, met with family and staff to discuss some of our options," state Rep. Laura Hoydick (R-120) told The Daily Voice. "I can't tell you how frustrating this situation is for all of us and the overwhelming sadness I feel for the family members who are having their loved ones placed in a facility which has, for some, significant transportation barriers."
The center, which once was home to as many as 70 people, had recently slashed its population to about 30, according to News 12. Those people remaining at the site are likely to find homes at one of the three remaining state-run facilities in Norwalk, Newington or Torrington, News 12 said.
The state announced the closure back in March due to budget shortfalls for the 2016-17 fiscal year. At the time, 88 percent of Daily Voice readers said the center should remain open, with 10 percent saying the state could not afford it.
Hoydick, Ben McGorty (R-122) and Joe Gresko (D-121) along with Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-21) voiced their collective opposition to the closure.
They petitioned the DDS commissioner and Gov Dannel Malloy on the matter to no success. They also noted that the facility was recently renovated and a handicapped pool on site was used by residents from across town who needed a ramp to enter a pool.
“The announcement ... comes as a disappointing shock,” Hoydick said at the time. “I am personally aware of the tremendous efforts being made by those at EGRC to achieve needed cost reductions. This campus is well-maintained, and the clients and staff are happy. Cutting the services to this population, who are among the most vulnerable in the state, is an unacceptable failure of priorities. There is a waiting list of over 2,000 people for these services, and we should not be reducing our capacity to serve them."
“Closing this center and relocating the clients and staff to far-flung corners of the state at other facilities is a disservice to clients counting on this state-administered care, and those who dutifully provide it," McGorty said.
Kelly also said the state should not "be making cuts which put disabled individuals at risk. This transition needs to revolve around the needs, interests, and rights of the affected individuals, caregivers, and their families."
Hoydick said the Ella Grasso Center is one of the only state-run DDS facility that has a pool, and that she had worked for months with agency officials to ensure its proper repair and return to service after it had been closed for nearly a year.