YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The Youngstown Development Center is getting more support in an effort to keep its doors open.
On Tuesday, the Youngstown State University College Democrats sent a letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich urging him to reconsider the closing of the Youngstown Development Center. State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown, also signed the letter.
The YDC, which houses more than 80 developmentally disabled residents and serves 14 counties, was announced to be closing July of 2017.
“There are more than 40,000 developmentally disabled people on waiting lists for services, including a place to live. It’s a travesty that even areas such as this are falling victim to privatization attempts. It’s our hope that Governor Kasich will explore other options to stop the YDC’s residents from relocating and save more than 220 Valley jobs,” said Christopher Anderson, Communications Director of the Youngstown State University College Democrats.
The letter urges Kasich to put himself in the shoes of the residents and their families and to explore other options, rather than the facility’s closure and offers the assistance of the YSU College Democrats.
“I stand with the YSU College Democrats in support of the residents and employees of the YDC,” Lepore-Hagan said. “We need to protect the most vulnerable members of our community.”
The text of the letter is below:
Thank you for taking the time to read our letter, it is our hope that it finds you well. The reason that we write to you is to request your intervention in saving the Youngstown Development Center.
If the closure of the Youngstown Development Center becomes final not only will over 270 people be put out of work, but it will also force 86 mentally challenged individuals to look for a new home. For most of these residents, development centers are their last resort because there is nowhere else for them to go.
In case you weren’t aware, the YDC provides vital services to residents of 14 counties in our state. Our organization is concerned about the logic behind closing a facility that provides essential services such as the YDC when we have approximately 40,000 disabled individuals on waiting lists for services? Shouldn’t we be making access to these services more accessible rather than working to eliminate them in total?
It is our hope that you will consider other options, rather than closing this facility. We understand that the residents have the ability to move to other facilities but please put yourself in their shoes. Given the advanced age of some of the residents would you want to be uprooted and moved from somewhere that has been your home for many years? How would you feel when any friends and family you have visit less frequently, if at all because of the increased distance of their travel?
These are individuals who are disabled and unable to care for themselves. In the words of Chen Guangcheng: How a society treats its disabled is the true measure of a civilization.
If our organization can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.