State budget cuts have forced the closure of the Clover Bottom Developmental Center in Nashville and the loss of 600 jobs. The more than 100 mentally disabled residents that live there must now find new places to live.
Officials say families knew Clover Bottom would be closing and have had months to prepare. About 30 will be housed in eight newer, smaller homes that will be built in Davidson County.
Clover Bottom will remain in operation until December. Missy Marshall is with the Division of Intellectual Disabilities Services.
“Obviously with Clover Bottom we only had 108 individuals who lived out there, and the operating cost of that facility was $52 million a year. When you average that out, $52 million to care for 108 individuals was well over $450,000 per person per year.”
Residents at the new homes will receive many of the same services and support they got at Clover Bottom, but will be living in newer, less isolated buildings. Donna DeStefano with the Tennessee Disability Coalition says that the move will provide more of the community-based care they need.
“They’re gonna be more embedded first of all into smaller communities, with the opportunities to really get out into the community as a whole, and so I would expect that their lives actually improve.”
Still, DeStefano says the new homes are more like “mini-institutions”. She says there are other types of homes that would give residents more freedom.
As for Clover Bottom’s employees, nearly 600 will lose their jobs, but 128 will remain employed at the new homes in Davidson County.