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To bring attention to critical issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families, and providers and staff dedicated to serving them, NYSARC Chapters statewide are conducting awareness events. These events include town hall meetings, family/legislative breakfasts, news conferences, media roundtables, and visits with their Legislators.
The events are part of "It Matters to Me," a statewide grassroots advocacy campaign organized by NYSARC, Inc., designed to share the personal, compelling stories and circumstances of concerned families and providers on the issues that matter most to them.
"IT MATTERS TO ME" KEY ISSUES:
Residential housing and other opportunities for people with I/DD living at home with aging caregivers: Thousands of families statewide live in constant fear as to who will take care of their sons and daughters when they are unable to do so.
Employment: NYSARC is advocating for the conversion of workshops into integrated businesses so that people with developmental disabilities have the choice to earn a paycheck and work alongside their friends and colleagues, consistent with the individual’s wishes and the Olmstead Supreme Court decision.
Wages: Direct Support Professionals (DSP) are the foundation of New York’s system of supports for people with I/DD. With newly adopted minimum wage increases for fast food workers, NYSARC contends consideration should also be made for DSPs, including the immediate and significant adjustment in approved rates, fees, and state contracts, to ensure the ongoing financial viability of I/DD providers.
Preschools: Preschools that serve children with I/DD are paid significantly less than it costs to operate these programs. NYSARC Chapters can no longer offer programs that operate at a deficit and thus jeopardize the entire agency.
Please send letters to Gov. Andrew Cuomo sharing the key issues in the “It Matters To Me” campaign and how they personally impact YOU. Ask the Governor to include funding for residential services, wage increases for direct support professionals, and preschool funding in the state budget. Explain how each of these issues and employment choice are important to you and your community and why the time to act is now.
Letters should be mailed to:
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
In addition, make sure to write your local Legislators and send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
sharing the key issues in the “It Matters To Me” campaign.
To check out the many videos of those affected by these issues, please click on the link below.
PROPOSED CHAPTER BY LAWS 2016
The #bFair2DirectCare Coalition, including NYSARC, is conducting a series of inspiring events as part of a year-long workforce funding campaign.
The workforce shortage facing NYSARC Chapters is getting worse and in many communities is now in crisis proportions. According to a 2016 Vacancy and Turnover Survey by the coalition, competition from other employers has increased to the point where coalition agencies responding to the survey now have an average 10 percent vacancy rate and more than a 20 percent turnover rate for Direct Support Professionals.
The "300 Days to Better Pay" campaign is a statewide series of events to constantly repeat for legislators and the Governor that direct care not-for-profit agency workers need a fair rate of pay which is commensurate with their vital support responsibilities. The campaign's goal is to have the Governor and the Legislature approve appropriate budget funding for these dedicated professionals when the 2017-18 state budget is finalized April 1, 2017. And our strategy is simple: We will keep coming back until we prevail.
This past summer, the campaign held a kickoff event at the State Capitol in Albany on June 8 with several key legislators speaking in support of the campaign, In addition, former NYS Assemblymember and developmental disabilities advocate Harvey Weisenberg (pictured, at right) spoke passionionately on the vital role of DSPs and his personal view of how “government has a responsibility to take care of our people and our families.”
Roland La Scala, a DSP with Warren, Washington & Albany Counties Chapter of NYSARC addressed how he loves his job despite the challenging work environment. Kirk Lewis, Executive Director of Schenectady ARC, spoke on behalf of Chapter executives statewide when he shared the crisis his agency faces daily in filling dozens of job vacancies. Finally, people supported by Capital Region NYSARC Chapters shared how they appreciate all that DSPs like Roland do for them.
Throughout the summer, #bFair2DirectCare conducted similar news conferences at the following locations statewide to raise awareness about the campaign.
• June 22 - Upstate Cerebral Palsy, Preschool Gym, 1601 Armory Drive, Utica, NY
• June 24 - Nassau County Supreme Court Building, 100 Supreme Court Drive, Mineola, NY
• July 15 - City Hall, 250 Broadway, New York City
• Aug. 24 - Proctor's Theater, 432 State St., Schenectady, NY