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Change Coming In Housing Choices For Mentally Ill

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New Plan Will Give 4,300 Patients Chance To Live In Smaller Homes

CHICAGO (CBS) - An Indiana University administrator has been recommended to oversee a sweeping transition in housing choices for mentally ill people in Illinois.

Both sides in a class action lawsuit recommended Dennis Jones in a motion filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. A judge will hear the motion Oct. 28.

Jones is a court-appointed monitor in a similar case in Washington, D.C. He was an expert witness in the Illinois case.

A plan that received court approval last month will give approximately 4,300 mentally ill people living in large institutions the chance to move into smaller homes.

The plan settles claims that Illinois violates the civil rights of the mentally ill by segregating them in nursing homes.

Over the past several years, nursing homes have become dumping grounds for young and middle-aged people with mental illness, which also in some cases has proved a prescription for violence. Younger, stronger residents with schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder are living beside frail senior citizens, and sometimes taking their rage out on them.

Jones would monitor the five-year transition if he’s appointed.

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