CHICAGO (CN) – Illinois will help thousands of people move out of large mental institutions as part of a class action settlement. The state has 5 years to help people move into apartments or small homes in a process overseen by a court-appointed monitor.
A judge must approve the agreement, and specifics of the plan remain to be decided, The Associated Press reported.
The settlement resolves claims by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups that said Illinois violated the civil rights of 4,500 mentally ill people by forcing them into institutions where they are forced to live with dozens, sometimes hundreds of others with mental illness.
The 2005 complaint states that often the victims’ only other choice is to be homeless. The plaintiff groups claim that Illinois’ practice of supporting the institutions and underfunding alternatives such as supportive housing violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.