MHMR of Tarrant County

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For people with intellectual and development disabilities, Arlington Community Services (ACS) is a place where they can enrich their lives and reach their full potential. The facility, located near AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park, currently serves about 50 Arlington residents during the day. “It gives their caregivers and family members a chance to go out, have a job, go to work and feel relieved knowing their family members are in safe place,” said Nikki Hatley, executive director of Mental Health Mental Retardation (MHMR) of Tarrant County. “I think that’s critical.” In 2003, a lack of state funding forced the program to relocate from a large warehouse to a smaller space—a move that Hatley said greatly reduced the services ACS provided.

One of these services, the Capacity Building Project, enabled businesses in the area to contract ACS to offer work opportunities, from sorting hangers to shredding material to carrying out poly-shrink-wrap projects. The service ended because equipment had to be left behind, and there was no longer enough space for people to work, Hatley said. Funding from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation helped restore this program. On any given day, over half of the clients at ACS work in the on-site workshop, earning competitive wages and carrying home paychecks. “Bottom line, it saves the community money,” Hatley said. “Bottom line for me, it gives people a higher quality of life.”

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