The State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation is developing a three year plan to address the needs of disabled people in North Carolina.
Today, the department held a public hearing in Cumberland County to gain input from disabled citizens.
The hearing revealed that the major issues facing Southeast North Carolina are bus service, funding for tenant care and housing accessibility.
55-year-old Dolly Smith enjoys taking trips to the library and the store. However, in order to leave her house, Smith plans the trips well in advance and usually relies on a taxi service paid for through independent living.
The state program is geared to promote independence as much as a person's disability allows.
Independent Living Spokesperson Anita Williams said, "We can advocate as well as take in the concerns of the disabled population to the state legislators," or others that can fix this problem.
While Independent Living serves eight counties, Cumberland county contains the largest disabled population.
Dolly Smith said that despite her disability, she remains an independent person and does not want to live in a nursing home.
The city of Fayetteville does offer public transportation with extra buses to disabled citizens; however, there is a strict guideline for any person wanting to utilize this service.
In order for the van to go to an individual's house, the disabled people must live within three-quarters of a mile from a regular bus stop. The disabled people in Cumberland County want the state to change this rule. Along with transportation, the disabled citizens revealed several important issues for the state to work on.