‘Cuts will force thousands of handicapped out of group homes’

Thousands of people with a mental handicap will be left to fend for themselves under government plans to increase care in the community, according to an analysis of the proposals by researchers at Erasmus University.

The analysis shows some 30,000 people will have to leave the homes where they currently live, even though many of them are not capable of living alone, professor Heleen Evenhuis is quoted by RTL news as saying.

Some 65,000 people with a mental handicap currently live in group or sheltered accommodation, the AD says.

Local councils

The coalition agreement states that the care of a large group of people with a mental handicap should be transferred from the ANWB long-term care system into the hands of local authorities, as part of cuts in national government spending.

This means they will be responsible for finding somewhere to live by themselves or with the help of their families and buy in the care they need from their local council.

The government plans to divide people with a mental handicap into eight categories. The most severe cases will be classed in 5-8, while those deemed capable of living alone will be classed 4-1.

But many people in the fourth category have Down syndrome and are not able to carry out simple tasks such as shopping for themselves or doing their washing, Evenhuis said.

Belangenorganisatie Platform Vereniging Gehandicaptenzorg, a group representing the interests of people with a mental handicap, told the AD: ‘A large number of the people this will affect cannot live without permanent supervision… it is as if you are leaving a child of four alone.’

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