Disabled demand services from DHS/DRS

Chicago—On March 17 Chicago ADAPT, along with Community Alliance and Northside Action For Justice, held an action at the offices of the Department of Human Services, which also houses the office of the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) that runs the program that pays personal assistants to take care of the disabled. We were there because of the conflicting and confusing information we were getting from the state heads of human services versus the various DRS offices throughout Illinois.

Our demands included: an end to the sometimes year-long wait some people have been experiencing for services; again allowing the distribution of time sheets; allowing personal assistants to use cell phones to call in hours; and an end to not being able to talk to a caseworker when you call or visit the offices.

About 15 of us took part in the action. After taking over the 4th floor lobby of the DHS/DRS offices and chanting “Our homes, not nursing homes!” we spent four hours off and on the phone to Dave Hanson’s office in Springfield. Hanson is the director of DHS. We won the right to a meeting with him and others, including the supervisors of all the DRS offices in Illinois, which is what we were after. That first meeting took place on April 1 and almost all of our demands were met.

—Disability rights activist

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