Colorado MI Olmstead Lawsuit
Organized by: Orchid Mental Health Legal Advocacy of CO, Inc.
We have literally thousands of unconscionable situations involving people with mental illness due to lack of housing and services in the State of Colorado, and for that matter nationally.
The system has been grossly neglected for 50 years and it shows. Many of the people with the State who are overseeing these systems weren't even born when the decay began.
In the middle of all of this, the US Supreme Court in 1999 decided the Olmstead case, holding that unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities amounts to discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
For people with mental illness struggling to stay out of institutions (whether the mental institute, the nursing home, prisons, jails, or at great risk of institutionalization due to homelessness), two key services are scattered site housing and assertive community treatment (not everyone needs ACT).
There is no question that the State is doing a lot, goodness knows they are busy. And in fairness, amid all that busyness, they are doing some good things.
Unfortunately, the State has NOT yet managed to comply with Olmstead and DOJ mandates as we understand them.
AND this goes to our fundamental complaint about the State's priorities. Busyness, and even doing good works, is NOT an excuse to FAIL to COMPLY with basic CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS, especially when thousands of Colorado citizens with mental illness are in prison, jails, homeless, nursing homes, etc. due to lack of housing and intensive services that the State is legally required to provide.
We don't know if the State is going to use this "busyness" excuse for failing to comply with the law on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) or a Federal Judge, AND we would be very interested in the reaction they get. On substance, as always the proof is in the pudding or in this case the prison cell, or jail cell, or homeless shelter. If Colorado wants to moot us out/work with us, there is nothing we would like better.
Scattered site housing, ACT -- there's also supported employment, peer services, etc. AND what you need to realize from the get go as the ACLU lawyer who read our Complaint said: "You're Really Goin' For It www.orchidadvocacy.org