Laura Ellman is committed to improving resources for people with disabilities to help them live independently and in community.

About one in five adults in Illinois live with a disability, but we are 47th in the country for people with disabilities.

Illinois relies heavily on institutional care. Most states have been closing institutions in favor of investing in the community based system that allows support in neighborhoods where people live and thrive. We are way behind and we must act to provide the care and resources people need.

“I’ve talked to people with disabilities in our community, and most people want to live in community and have as much autonomy as possible. It’s also fiscally irresponsible, as supporting a person living in community costs less than a quarter of institutionalized care.”

As it stands, hundreds of people are lingering on the waiting lists while Illinois faces shortages and backlogs. It’s also next to impossible to navigate the system of care, and we need to get rid of those hurdles and barriers so people with disabilities can thrive. We must increase the transparency and standards of the implementation of these services so people can get the care they need, when they need it, without jumping through endless hoops.

Our current lawmakers won’t help solve this problem. In 2016, Connelly voted against a living wage for workers who care for people with developmental disabilities, continuing the shortage of care. We need to make some big changes.

To fix this, we must pay personal care workers a respectful salary commensurate with the work they provide and make sure these positions are fully staffed. We must also fund services for people with disabilities and transition care from facilities to homes. And we need to increase funding to reduce waiting lists and backlogs and increase the ease of accessing and navigating services.”