Leo’s Letter: Community Living for Everyone

Imagine if you had an intellectual disability, autism, or other developmental disability and had to rely on family and friends for any support you may need. That was the reality in 1960. Today, eight (8) decades later, there are public benefits which allow many with disabilities to have a full life in the community.

This week, The Arc and partners are working to communicate how essential these benefits or services are, and by the end of today, we will have met with our entire Congressional delegation. During these sessions, we’ve shared goals that will advance community living among other issues:

  1. Congress should make home and community-based services (HCBS) mandatory within the Medicaid program. Today, it’s still easier to get institutional care than assistance in your own home or other community setting.
  2. Congress should increase financial investments to address our workforce and access to services.

Every year, more about 1,300 students graduate, needing some level of adults supports. We need to have an infrastructure that allows our Commonwealth to address emerging needs while maintaining its commitment to those already being served.

But that won’t be possible without increasing rates for services so our field can compete in the marketplace for workers. Our entry level salaries are less than drivers and clerks, yet the responsibilities are significantly more.

Advocacy will continue beyond this week to make sure HCBS does become a mandatory program and funding is increased to help states meet their workforce obligations. Please join us – so our workforce will be valued and our constituents will get the support they deserve.

To learn more about federal legislative priorities of The Arc, please go here.

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