COVID-19: Leo’s Letter: Advocacy For Today And Tomorrow

On yesterday’s episode of The Today Show, America got another opportunity to learn about what our constituents – youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities – are facing during the COVID-19 crisis.

Craig Melvin of The Today Show interviewed two families and Tibi Guzman, CEO of the Westchester Arc, and visited a group home. Craig got the story idea from a colleague at MSNBC, who was forced to take a leave of absence because he couldn’t care for his adult daughter with Down syndrome while continuing his remote work schedule.

On air, Craig noted the “Heroes Act” passed by the House of Representatives, which includes significant funding for services. It has not been acted on by the U.S. Senate. The issues faced in New York and other states are the same ones we face here.

CEO Guzman was asked about funding for staff and personal protective equipment (PPE). She noted funding for staff is essential as many worked days and evenings. As for PPE, she said she had enough for a couple of weeks, but it continues to be a tough commodity to obtain.

As July 1 approaches, agencies worry about adequate day or residential funding, while families with loved ones at home worry about additional support and obtaining PPE. We will need to raise our voices together to obtain funding and the needed supports.

You can see the entire story on The Today Show here.

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