State lags in moving disabled out of closing institution

Greene Valley Developmental Center, the last state-run institution for adults with disabilities, is scheduled to close in just four months, but 58 residents still call the facility home and state Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, says it may have to stay open until next summer.

Further from WJHL TV:

“My concern continues to be that we are not going to have all these community homes built and functional by the end of this calendar year which is what DIDD has promised,” Hawk said.

On Friday, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) celebrated the first resident to move out of Greene Valley and in to a new care facility in Roane County. But this facility is the only one complete, with 15 left to go across the state.

Some of the homes planned for Greene County are in Greeneville and Tusculum. For the two homes that are located in the county, “On the one house they broke ground but have not proceeded on it and the other house, at this point in time, they have not broken ground,” Greene County Mayor David Crum said. Crum said it’s taken six months from ground breaking to completion for the other care facilities previously built in the county.

“All the permits, all the inspections that have to occur on these facilities before anyone can reside in them, I have to question the date that they set,” Hawk said.

But DIDD maintains it is optimistic Greene Valley will be closed and all of the care facilities will be ready before 2017.

“All of the homes that are under construction have estimated completion dates by the end of the year. So we are optimistic that we will still meet that December 31, 2016 date in the exit plan that we’ve actually asked for funding to continue operations at Greene Valley until that date,” DIDD spokesperson Cara Kumari said.

DIDD originally set a closure date of June, 2016. The state granted DIDD a six month extension to December. Now it has one more six month extension to use if it doesn’t make that deadline.

So far 10 residents have transitioned out of Greene Valley since the beginning of the year, going from 68 to 58.

Another note about Greene Valley, according to Kumari it still employs 452 people.