Disabilities commission trying to find how many in county need services

August 27, 1996|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

Howard County's Commission on Disabilities is conducting research to determine how many physically challenged residents live here so that they can be better served.

"We're increasingly aware that there are people in this community with disabilities who need services," said Manus O'Donnell, director of department of citizen services. "Our goal is to get a better feel for the number of people who need those services. "

O'Donnell said the commission, an advisory group to the county government, mailed surveys to 54 agencies in July asking questions about their clients and the services each agency provides.

The commission began calling 1,000 residents yesterday to ask whether they have someone in their household who is disabled and a few other questions.

The last U.S. Census in 1990 found there were 37,000 residents in the county who had disabilities, O'Donnell said, out of a total of about 187,000 residents.

But the county itself doesn't have good data on the disabled who live here, he said. "This will be the first time that we have good stats," he said.

The surveys -- to be conducted by Baltimore research firm Kladky & Associates Inc. -- should take about two months, O'Donnell said. Once they're completed, he said, the commission intends to recommend ways the county can improve services.

Pub Date: 9/27/96

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