TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Governor Gregg Abbott signed a new law that makes it easier for people with intellectual disabilities to receive help.
Texas State Representative Matt Schaefer authored the bill after meeting with staff at a live-in facility in Tyler.
“Now I have so many friends, I don’t know what to do with them,” Breckenridge resident Cyndy says. Cyndy is a Breckenridge village resident, she takes bible classes, makes candles, and volunteers at the local food bank.
“We have a really giving community and what’s really cool is to see our residents give back to them,” Breckenridge Village Executive Director Steven Campbell says. Community support has been a driving force for Breckenridge Village, but complications in state law limited the number of people who could get help.
“Facilities like Breckenridge Village that serve adults with intellectual disabilities were fighting red tape in Austin that prevented them from serving people who were on a waitlist even though we had budgeted the tax dollars to pay for that,” Texas State Representative Matt Schaefer says.
Now funding that had been budgeted for facilities that are now closed, can go to places like Breckenridge so they can help people who have been waiting. “Breckenridge Village had recently built new facilities that were empty and one of the challenges was okay, the state needed to give them permission essentially to start serving these people, and that’s where the red tape came in,” Schaefer says.
State of the art facilities sit unoccupied, with 85 people still on a waiting list.
But on September 1st, the door will be opened for those who need it the most.
“There are going to be families who are now going to see their loved one who’s got these intellectual challenges go into one of the best facilities in the entire state,” Schaefer says.
The law is not expected to create any expenses for local governments.