Mentally ill advocates rally for group home money

Associated Press Modified: November 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm •  Published: November 14, 2012
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If government doesn't act, the group home residents could end up on the streets or in hospitals, she said. "It costs far more not to solve this problem," she said. "So let's spend the money, and let's solve the problem."

Rep. Nelson Dollar, a budget writer, said legislators weren't aware when they earmarked money for adult-care homes that group homes would face the same problem. He suggested that Gov. Beverly Perdue find the money in another part of the budget or that residents appeal the denial of benefits through the Office of Administrative Hearings.

The money for personal care services would keep flowing through the appeals process, giving lawmakers time to act, he said.

"We have an immediate issue with the group homes that we need to make sure their funding stays there on a temporary basis," said Dollar, co-chair of a legislative panel on adult-care homes. "Mainly we're worried about January and into February until we can act either to include them in on the $39 million or provide other funding."

Perdue is working to correct the situation, a spokeswoman said.

"The governor is concerned about the potential impact to services for North Carolinians residing in group homes, some our state's most vulnerable citizens," spokeswoman Chris Mackey said in an email. "She continues to review her options and will consult with legislative leaders to remedy the situation."

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Martha Waggoner can be reached at http://twitter.com/mjwaggonernc