For adults with disabilities, services sometimes are the only thing separating them from homelessness. For others, the lack of services may mean an increase in behaviors or other symptoms such as depression. And for family members, it may mean staying at home or being the driver throughout the week to make sure a son or daughter or sibling can get to where they need to go.
At the local level, constituents and their families are unaware that there is a commitment to provide the services or supports needed for work and other activities. For example (not their real names),
- Sixty-year old Janet drives her daughter to jobs and other community activities throughout the week, otherwise Anna’s funding wouldn’t stretch far enough
- Bill tried a day program for one week, but it wasn’t the right fit; he needed more flexible job training but he was told no funds were available
- Jack wants a job (high school graduate, newly eligible) but he was told no funding available; his only option was a Medicaid non-employment service
The reductions in employment and residential or community living supports have a more severe impact than anyone expected as agencies look to reduce contracts that were based on the original budget plans of the two branches. The budget originally anticipated assisting 1,000 graduates from 2017 needing full funding in 2018 and adults with higher needs such as Jack or Janet.
At The Arc, we advocate for opportunities for our constituents, but when the assistance isn’t available, the impact is personal. You as a constituent need to advocate “on the ground” so decision-makers will appreciate the personal impact. They need to hear your stories.
We know that Governor Baker, Speaker DeLeo, President Rosenberg, and legislators are supportive of Turning 22 and other services for persons with I/DD including those with autism. As we shared recently, funding was reduced due to the state’s revenue shortfall of $600 million. With your stories, we can share the impact and make sure they know that the shortfall in assistance needs to be overcome.
Leo V. Sarkissian