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Letter: State shouldn’t turn its back on people with special needs

State shouldn’t turn its back on people with special needs

Today I received notification that Heritage Centers, an agency serving people with intellectual and developmental needs, will soon sell several of its buildings. As someone who served on its board in the 1970s and helped raise funds to build those buildings, the news hit me hard. I knew it was coming, but now it seems these sales put the icing on the cake of the demise of the agency and of a system that worked for over 50 years. Many of the individuals Heritage Centers served are now working in the community and are at risk of making it on their own, including my son Bob. That is scary.

Bob is 51 years of age and represents a success story of New York State’s former system that served people with special needs. I feel especially concerned for families who are currently struggling at home now with no relief in sight. I only wish every person in need of special services today could have the advantage of the once well-oiled and efficient state system that unfortunately is crumbling.

In the name of those people with special needs whom we love and care for, we must keep fighting for a system that benefits them. Concerns from a caring parent, coping with an uncaring New York State system.

Joan D. Harms


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