Fraser man fights to keep his independence despite budget cuts

Budget cuts are putting a disabled Macomb County man in serious jeopardy of losing his home.

Chris Meadows is a homeowner in Fraser and is fiercely independent, however he does need the help from his home health care workers. Now, budget cuts could force him out of his home and into a nursing home.

"I have a great life," says Chris Meadows, who's losing his disability benefits. He has been in a wheelchair most of his life.

At 39 years old he is the oldest person in the Midwest with muscular dystrophy. Meadows is a college graduate and a former federal employee. He owns his own home and, with the help of home health care workers, he says he lives a pretty normal life, but that could soon change.

"Here I've lived on my own my whole life since I got out of school and to be told I have to give up my home and everything to be put in a nursing home was just, it's so difficult. I was so devastated."

His home health care is paid for by Macomb County Community Mental Health. It's a department that's been reeling from the state cutting and redistributing funds. The department is losing tens of millions of dollars and the cuts are impacting so many.

On Friday, Chris found out he's among those losing his benefits. Without home health care workers he will be placed in a nursing home.

"It just seems like they're kicking me to the curb. They have no understanding at all."

Meadows has had these benefits since 2001. His home health care workers, like Nina Pete, mean everything to him.

"I'm the one who showers him, gets him ready for the day, makes him breakfast; it's just unfair," says Nina Pete, Chris's home health care worker.

The thought of Meadows having to sell his home and get rid of his dog, Dell, then to lose his independence is too much for him to handle.

He plans to fight and has already filed an appeal.

"My whole life is in the hands of this hearing and this judge. Like I said, I can't move to a nursing home."

He says it's not just about him, but all the other people losing their benefits as well.

"I'm not just fighting for myself. I'm fighting for all the people who are like me, who are in this situation."