Thousands With Disabilities On Waiting List For Help

(Memphis) The Tennessee department that helps people with mental developmental disabilities is speaking out about trying to recover from massive budget cuts.

There are currently 7,100 people on the waiting list to get help from the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

The department took a $37 million budget cut back a few years ago when the recession was at its worse.

One of the ways they offset those budget cuts was to close the Arlington Developmental Center to patients back in 2010.

The center was facing a lawsuit at the time, and it was just settled last month.

Now it is an administrate office building for the state.

Patients are scattered at different facilities around the city.

To get services and care from the state department a Tennessean has to have an IQ of 70 or less.

News Channel 3 spoke with department representatives in Nashville who say they are trying to fight out of the whole created by budget cuts years ago.

“Our budget has grown and we are recovering from that. Of course we are supportive of the governor’s budget and our priority is to provide the best services we can in the most cost-effective manner we can to the most people we can,” said Cara Kumari.

As they recover families on that waiting list in Memphis face daily challenges, especially when people need constant care eating, bathing and using the restroom.

As the state’s budget process begins the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, along with other departments, are preparing a budget with a five percent cut in funding just in case.

Tori Ella Jackson works with non-profits who help the homeless and disabled, and fears even more people will be forced out in arctic temperatures like Memphis is seeing now.

“We do have a really big need, and there is a mass amount of people who can be served and that money would really do a lot of good in our community,” said Jackson.

Governor Bill Haslam usually signs the final budget at the end of the legislative session in the spring.

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