the problem

Imagine being 20 years old, spinal cord injured (SCI) due to a catastrophic accident and finding yourself surrounded by death every single day.... That is the tragic fate of thousands of young people across America.

Very often after a person becomes spinal cord injured and is discharged from a hospital or rehabilitation facility, the family may be unable to care for him or her because of inaccessibility issues in the home. In addition—and sadly—the person with the spinal cord injury becomes a financial and emotional burden to the family.

Because of such circumstances, every day a young American with a spinal cord injury is placed in a senior nursing facility because there are no other options! Across the nation there are more than 44,000 young people with disabilities who are forced to live in institutions. If this continues, the Spinal Cord Injury Association estimates that by 2015 the number of young people in senior nursing facilities will have risen to almost 50,000!

At present, affordable and accessible supportive housing designed for young people living with disabilities simply does not exist. The combination of all these factors often leaves this segment of our society with no other option than to live out their youth in the confines of institutions alongside the aged who are in the final stages of life.

Beyond the human tragedy of this situation is the fact that it costs the U.S. government up to $15,000 per month per individual to keep young folks in an institution for the elderly.

Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division Centers for Disease Control and Prevention United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services