Moving Forward on Disability Advocacy – Despite COVID-19

News Release
For Immediate Release: 3/9/2021

Jeff Powell, (402) 471-6223,


Honoring Developmental Disability Month through Progress #DDAwareness2021​

Lincoln – In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on one of the most important civil rights cases for people with disabilities in the nation's history. Known as the Olmstead Act, the court decided that people with disabilities have a right to receive state-funded support in the community rather than in institutions.  

This judgement is important because it affirmed the right of individuals with disabilities to live in their community.

In December of 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) submitted a three-year Olmstead Plan to the legislature. Within three months, the world was engulfed in an unprecedented worldwide pandemic. Despite these extreme challenges, the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), the lead agency within DHHS for the Olmstead Plan continued making progress to ensure that people with disabilities have opportunities to live, work, and enjoy life in their community.

Disability advocates, stakeholders, and state agencies continued meeting virtually throughout 2020 and into 2021 to ensure the Olmstead Plan is staying on course and on time.

“I am extremely proud of all the hard work that continued, despite the pandemic, to ensure Nebraska tackled issues facing those with disabilities. Without the commitment of our dedicated staff and disability advocates throughout the state, we would have fallen behind," said Tony Green, Director for the Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Some highlights of progress include:

  • Making over 200 offers for community-based services from the developmental disability statewide registry
  • Opening two additional Oxford Houses in western Nebraska for those with opioid use disorders
  • Increased access to housing vouchers for persons with mental illness/substance use disorders
  • Established a cross-divisional agency housing workgroup to improve low-income/accessible housing.

“I look forward to our continued successes in 2021 in supporting people with disabilities," said Green.

A copy of the Olmstead Plan is available here

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