Disability rights activists gathered outside Gov. Rick Perry’s downtown campaign headquarters today to demand a meeting to discuss restructuring what they regard as a broken system of institutional care for disabled Texans. 

Joe Tate, policy specialist for Community NOW!, denounced what he called an “institutional bias” in the funding of state supported living centers, facilities that have a history of abusing and neglecting residents.

More money should be spent to create community-based living situations, or group homes, for the disabled, Tate said.  In a press release, the group said it wanted to meet with Perry and state staff to get “on the same page with the establishment for the next legislative session.” The Legislature reconvenes in January 2013.

Texas spends nearly $600 per client per day to care for residents in state institutions, the group said. Those dollars would be better spent at community homes, where they argue that residents would recieve better care.

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Instead of continuing his dwindling campaign, Tate said Perry “should come back to Texas to help ... free our people.” 

Perry's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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