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DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED ARE ACTIVE IN COMMUNITY

A recent News article, "County seeking state funding for new group homes," referred to a new initiative proposed by Gov. Pataki -- New York Creating Alternatives in Residential Environments and Services (NY CARES) -- to address the housing needs of individuals with developmental disabilities.

While the article adequately described the critical need for residential services for those with DD, it implied that those in need were individuals with challenging behaviors. Such behavior is characteristic of a small percentage of those seeking and currently in residential placement, but it is not representative of the majority.

The majority desiring out-of-home residential placement already live in our community. Many have jobs in local supermarkets, nursing homes, restaurants and other business establishments. They utilize our mass-transit system, attend our churches, support our sports events and are entertained in our local theaters. They volunteer in countless ways. A few even serve as members of boards of directors where their unique insights have proven to be invaluable.

It is often said that Buffalo is the "City of Good Neighbors." Let us prove that this adage is true and that New York really cares for its citizens with developmental disabilities.

Joyce Drzewiecki Amherst

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