Advocates Fear Budget Cuts Will Negatively Affect Disabled Residents

Anthony Lorick, of Ansonia, loves his Hodge Avenue home and the life he lives in it. He watches documentaries in the living room and makes his favorite “creations” in the kitchen, simple things he appreciates even more knowing how close he came to losing everything.

In 2010, Lorick was driving, high on drugs, when he rolled his car and we ejected. In an instant he was paralyzed from the waist down.

“It took about six months to get used to the idea that I couldn’t walk anymore,” Lorick said.

In the years since, the father of six has worked hard to clean up his life and through Independent Living Centers (ILC) and their programs, he has reclaimed it. ILCs helped Lorick move from a nursing home, where he was constantly unhappy, to an Ansonia apartment that fits all his needs.

“They widened the doors and they gave me a walk in bathroom,” Lorick said.

They also helped build a ramp for his wheelchair and most importantly give him back his sense of freedom.

Now Lorick’s house and the ILCs are at risk because of proposed state budget cuts. On Thursday, Lorick and others spoke out against them.

“These are people with disabilities people in wheelchairs that are losing their housing. They have to go to someone, someone who will listen and that's us,” Sue Salters, and ILC employee, said.

The state Office of Policy Management released a statement about the proposed cuts.

“We have a solemn obligation to present a balanced budget proposal to the General Assembly and to close a projected $1.7 billion deficit, there were difficult program reductions. In this slow growth economic environment, we are aligning state government spending to revenues just like the households and businesses of Connecticut, and those expenditure cuts- $850 million last year and a proposed $1.36 billion this year- are going to impact the services the state can and will provide.”

“We are a small organization but what I think they [the state] are missing is that personal piece,” said Salters.

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