As a part of the New
Freedom Initiative, President George W. Bush issued Executive
Order 13217, "Community-Based Alternatives for Individuals with
Disabilities," on June 18, 2001. The Order calls upon the federal
government to assist states and localities to swiftly implement
the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C.
(which holds that unjustified isolation or segregation of qualified
individuals through institutionalization is a form of disability-based
discrimination prohibited by Title II of the ADA).
Executive Order 13217 directed six federal agencies, the Departments
of Justice, Health
and Human Services, Education,
and Housing and Urban Development and the Social
Security Administration to "evaluate the policies, programs,
statutes and regulations of their respective agencies to determine
whether any should be revised or modified to improve the availability
of community-based services for qualified individuals with disabilities"
and to report back to the President with their findings. Though
not named in the Executive Order, the Departments
of Transportation and Veterans
Affairs, the Small
Business Administration, and the Office
of Personnel Management also have joined in the implementation
effort. Together, these agencies have formed the Interagency Council
on Community Living under the leadership of the Secretary of HHS.
Because any plans to improve community integration of people with
disabilities should include the ideas and advice of the people who
are most affected, the President ensured that public input would
be a central component of the federal review mandated by the Order.
To encourage the broad participation of people with disabilities,
family caregivers, providers and advocates in the public input,
the Interagency Council on Community Living sponsored a national
listening session in Washington, D.C., a national teleconference,
and published a Federal Register notice soliciting written public
comments. This public input process was concluded in September,
HHS presented President Bush with Delivering on the Promise: Preliminary
Report of Federal Agencies' Actions to Eliminate Barriers and Promote
Community Integration on December 21, 2001. On March 25, 2002, HHS
presented President Bush with HUD's final report, along with the
other individual agencies' reports that were completed under the
final report represents the initial steps that are necessary for
enhanced community integration. But these are just the first steps.
HUD looks forward to continued collaboration with federal, state,
and local governments, together with people with disabilities, and
other stakeholders, to develop additional recommendations to fulfill
its charge and the promise of full community integration for all
Americans with disabilities.