The Consortium applauds Governor Wolf’s January 11 announcement about closing Hamburg State Center in Berks County and a section of Norristown State Hospital in Montgomery County.
Pennsylvania has made steady progress in closing institutions, including Western Center in Canonsburg, Dixmont in Kilbuck, Woodville in Collier, and Mayview in South Fayette. However, in addition to Hamburg State Center, four institutions for people with intellectual disabilities remain open: Polk, Ebensburg, White Haven, and Selinsgrove. According to Pennsylvania’s Office of Developmental Programs, 885 people reside in these centers at an annual cost per person between $347,631 and $484,831.
We urge Governor Wolf to close all institutions and end this dark chapter in history. We also caution Pennsylvanians that a seemingly benign national trend of creating new housing communities solely for people with disabilities threatens to turn back the clock on progress toward an inclusive society.