GLENWOOD, Iowa – The Glenwood Resource Center, a state home for Iowans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will permanently close in 2024.

Brady Werger found out about the closure while he was there at work. For the past decade, it’s been a huge part of his life.

“I’m heartbroken,” Werger said.

He lived there from 2011 to 2018 before moving into a 24-hour staffed group home in the community. He now works at Glenwood and knows how tough closing the doors will be for everyone involved.

“It’s a very stressful, sad, nerve-racking issue that came up,” Werger said. “And we really need to work together with the guardians and the clients and the families to help these individuals when they do move so that they can live a healthy and fair life, either in their new place or within the community.”

The closure follows a report from the U.S. Department of Justice accusing the Department of Human Services of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The state is supposed to integrate Iowans with disabilities into their communities. Instead, many are still stuck in institutions.

“After two years of COVID and after the DOJ findings and what their recommendations are, after continually trying to look for ways to make that work we can’t,” Gov. Reynolds said. “And honestly, their objective is to go to community-based living. That’s where they believe the residents should be. And so when you take all of that into account, we just didn’t have a choice.”

DHS says of the 152 residents at Glenwood, 60 will transition to Woodward Resource Center. The rest will go into the community like Werger did.

“It’s sad to see this happen, but I really do hope that this will give clients at the center more of a chance to get their foot in the community,” Werger said, “which has been the resource center’s goal and motto for a long time.”

According to DHS, no residents have transitioned yet but a bulk of them will begin in July. 

As for the more than 700 employees, the state will offer incentives for them to keep working during this time and then assistance to help them find a new job.