The New York Association on Independent Living recognizes the 21st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision with the following statement:

Today is the 21st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead v. L.C. decision. The Olmstead decision affirmed the rights of people with disabilities to live and receive services in the most integrated setting. This landmark decision helped pave the way for systemic changes that lead to many more opportunities for people with disabilities to live in their own homes.

Nursing and group homes have always been dangerous places for people to live. We have seen over the past few months that these institutions have been particularly deadly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemic related government immunity from prosecution has furthered the lack of accountability that already existed in these institutions. Special interests continue to work against the interests of independence and choice that we fight for every day.

We believe that nobody, regardless of their health or disability status, should be forced into an institution. The Olmstead decision has provided the legal framework for advocates to push for expanded services in the community.

Many advancements have been made over the past 21 years. More work is still left to do in realizing a society that fully embraces independent living philosophy. Too many people are still ending up in nursing and group homes. Far too many people are unable to get out of these institutions once admitted. NYAIL is committed to systemic change that expands opportunities for people with disabilities to live in their own homes, not institutions.