Protestors Oppose Closing Habilitation Center

1 decade 7 months 1 week ago February 21, 2006 Feb 21, 2006 Tuesday, February 21 2006 Tuesday, February 21, 2006 5:26:01 PM CST in News

The legislature has decided to keep the center open for now, but demonstrators hope to raise public awareness and force lawmakers to keep it open.

Tim Brophy's brother has lived in Bellefontaine for 39 years.

"We are here to fight for our loved ones," Brophy said.

Jody Hogan's daughter had to move from a similar center when Illinois closed it a few years ago.

"When the first move started, there were 10 that were moved," Hogan said, "and in three days, six of them died."

Blunt's spokesperson, Jessica Robinson, said the center is a greater safety risk than the proposed shutdown.

"This is a center that has a long history of abuse and neglect," she said.

Brophy disagreed with the government's plan.

"When you find abuse, as Gov. Blunt seems to think runs rampant in Bellefontaine, you eliminate it," Brophy complained. "You don't close the whole facility."

Brophy said he's not physically able to care for his brother, and he can't find another facility that offers round-the-clock care.

Lawmakers will hold a hearing Wednesday morning to discuss closing Bellefontaine.

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