GARY | Thursday was moving day for 92 disabled residents from 21 Northwest Indiana Arc group homes.
Some were relocated to Fort Wayne and others were placed back home with their families.
Donna Elbrecht, CEO of Easter Seals Arc of Northeast Indiana, said the move went smoothly. She said 50 residents were brought in three professionally driven tour buses to the Fort Wayne facility her organization oversees.
“They were excited to come in and see their new rooms,” Elbrecht said. “Some of the families came. That was really nice.”
Elbrecht said there was much excitement as the residents saw their new rooms, their friends and found out they have been kept with their former roommates.
Sally Morris, Indiana Arc assistant director of public relations, described the moves as “transitional.”
Morris said residents and their families still have options in choosing their permanent providers.
“All the individuals have choices, but for those families whose loved ones were moved to Fort Wayne and they want them to be close to home, it is important for them definitely to know they have choices to select a new provider in the Northwest Indianan area,” Morris said. “Families can either choose to stay with the provider that they have been assigned to or they can choose to select a new provider.”
Morris said the Indiana Bureau of Disability Services is the state agency that will be working with families to help them through the process. She said the Arc of Indiana will act as an advocacy organization working with the families and residents affected, giving them information about their rights and options.
Arc of Indiana can be reached at (800) 382-9100. Morris said families should have been given contacts at the Indiana Bureau of Disability Services. Those who have not received the information can call (877) 218-3053.
TradeWinds CEO Jon Gold, whose agency provides residential group homes, independent living and day services programs in Lake County, offered to help the state aid the displaced group residents a month ago.
“When I first heard what was going on I said we could help out in emergency situations,” Gold said. “I didn’t hear back. We have the capability with the assistance of the state to service the people and keep them in Lake County and keep them close to their families, which seems to me to make a lot of sense.”
Gold said he is extending an offer to the state again.
“They have to work with us to be able to do that,” Gold said.
Families can contact TradeWinds Director of Programs Lisa Previs at (219) 949-4000, ext. 240, for assistance.
Morris said 130 support staff members have lost their jobs as a result of the Northwest Indiana ARC group homes closing.