ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–New York Disability Advocates are calling on lawmakers to increase the cost-of-living adjustment for non-profit organizations that help people with intellectual and learning disabilities. Members of New York Disability Advocates gathered in the war room of the New York State Capitol on Monday.
“The people that we are advocating for are people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” explained Mike Alvaro, NYDA President. “They depend on staff to do everything from eating, bathing, getting up in the morning, and getting out of bed, getting to work. They aren’t able to do it on their own.”
Advocates chanted 8.5– the percentage they’d like to see the cost-of-living adjustment be raised to for non-profit service providers.
Currently, the proposed budget includes a 2.5% adjustment, something advocates say needs to be higher in order to retain and recruit more people. But that’s not the only thing they are calling for.
“And a $4,000 increase per direct support worker,” said Alvaro. He wants to see these workers get the same amount of money as those who work for state organizations.
“We need a lot of volunteering and staff to work in our houses. I know it’s short nowadays, but we just need a lot of help,” said Georgiana Andrews, who attended the rally.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarba is among the lawmakers who support an increase of funding in the state budget.
“I come at this from two directions. I’m a state legislator, but I’m also the father of a son with autism,” said Santabarbara. “I have experienced the turnover.”
The New York State budget is due April 1.