From the CEO
Her smile was contagious. It held such joy when it was shared. Who knew that behind that smile was a life that included institutionalization and isolation?
Her early life, growing up in a public housing project, was marked with episodes of violence that resulted in a referral for evaluation. By the time she was in her mid-twenties, she would have spent over half of her life in facilities ensuring she was segregated because of her disability. Lois Curtis was moved between state institutions, hospitals and even a nursing home as her family (and the state) looked for where to place this young woman with an intellectual disability and mental illness.
In June 1999 she was the plaintiff in what would become known as Olmstead v. L.C., a monumental civil rights case that ultimately ruled that the “least restrictive alternative” was the housing right of persons with a disability. That ruling moved her, and many others, out of institutions and into their own homes.