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MEDIA ADVISORY: #bFair2DirectCare Coalition, Legislators to Attend COPA Lobby Day

M E D I A   A D V I S O R Y

#bFair2DirectCare Coalition, Legislators to Attend COPA Lobby Day

Urge Governor & Legislature to Speed up Living Wage Funding for Workers Who Support New Yorkers with Developmental Disabilities

As crisis worsens, families, advocates and those with developmental disabilities seek what amounts to a rounding error in the NYS budget

WHO:

Entering the home stretch for the state budget, non-profits that support persons with developmental disabilities hold advocacy day to urge Governor Cuomo and Legislators to “spin up” living wage funding for direct support professionals in the upcoming state budget. The request amounts to $18.25 million, or 0.01 percent, of the total $168 billion state budget, ie, less than a rounding error.

Speakers will include parents, DSPs and others directly affected by the staffing crisis in these non profits, as well as members of the state Legislature. The Lobby Day is organized by the Coalition of Provider Agencies (COPA), which represents more than 250 non-profit organizations that support people with developmental disabilities across the state

Legislators invited to attend include:

Senate: Robert Ortt (R/C/I); Carl Marcellino (R/C/I); James Tedisco (R/C/I); David Carlucci (D/WF); John Brooks (D);

Assembly: Aileen Gunther (D/WF/I); Richard Gottfried (D/WF); Angelo Santabarbara (D); Catherine Nolan (D/WF); Matthew Titone (D/WF/I); Marcos Crespo (D); Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D); Erik Dilan (D);

WHAT:

The event will urge Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to accelerate the process and ensure that direct support professionals receive the living wage they are entitled to – and that was agreed to in the State Budget passed last  April – by 2020.

The request amounts to an additional $18.25 million in the 2018-19 budget, or roughly 0.01% of the total state spending plan.

WHEN/WHERE:

Wednesday, February 28, from 9:00 to 10:00 am, The Terrace of the Legislative Office Building (LOB), Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY

The event will be live streamed on Facebook live — www.facebook.com/BFair2DirectCare

WHY:

Because of new wage mandates and higher wages offered by other businesses as well as New York state agencies, non-profits in New York State – who receive almost all their funding from government and provide services on behalf of the state government – struggle to recruit and retain direct support professionals (DSPs). Government funding levels have been too low to bring these workers anywhere near a living wage, calculated as roughly $17.72 downstate and $15.54 elsewhere.

New data for 2017 show:

  • 14.4 percent – or one in seven – of all direct support staff jobs were vacant, an increase of 30 percent since 2016 and up 80 percent since 2014, when the vacancy rate was 8 percent;
  • The staff turnover rate is 26.7 percent annually, an increase of eight percent since 2016 and up 42 percent since 2014, when the turnover rate was 19 percent;
  • One in ten direct support professionals leave the job after less than six months;
  • More than 10 million overtime hours were logged, an increase of eight percent since 2016 and up from 5.6 million hours, in 2014, an increase of 79 percent.

Statewide, 73 percent of DSPs are women, 44 percent are black and nine percent are Latino.

While #Bfair2DirectCare is grateful the Governor has funded the commitment made last year to include living wage funding for DSPs in his 2018-19 budget proposal, the unfortunate reality is that the living wage must be reached more quickly than 2022 in order to avert the crisis this campaign seeks to avoid.

DSPs and the New Yorkers they serve cannot wait six years, as was originally planned.  #bFair2DirectCare seeks acceleration of the remaining funding so we can achieve a living wage by 2020 Importantly, we are seeking no additional funding, just a spin-up of the funding already requested as part of the program rolled out earlier this year.

The request amounts to an additional $18.25 million in the 2018-19 budget, or roughly 0.01% of the total state spending plan.

For more background, videos and news stories, go to www.bfair2directcare.com.

 # # #

 #bFair2DirectCare members include

Alliance of Long Island Agencies (ALIA)
Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State (CP of NYS)
The Developmental Disability Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY)
Direct Support Professional Alliance of New York State (DSPANYS)
The InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies (IAC)
The New York Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation 
(formerly two separate entities – the NYS Association of Community & Residential Agencies
and the New York State Rehabilitation Association)
The Arc of New York (formerly NYSARC)
Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS)
Statewide Advocacy Network of New York State (SWAN)

Facebook:      www.facebook.com/BFair2DirectCare

Twitter:          @Fair2DirectCare

Hashtag:        #bFair2DirectCare

Web site:        www.bFair2DirectCare.com

COPA consists of the Alliance of Long Island Agencies, Inc. (ALIA), Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State (CP of NYS), the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY), the InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies (IAC), and the New York Association of Emerging Multicultural Providers (NYAEMP). For more information visit http://www.copanys.org.