ARC Calls On Cuomo To Increase Funding In Budget
TWIN TIERS (WENY)-- Dozens of employees, parents, and members of the local ARC organizations rallied in the Arnot Mall today. They're calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to increase funding for Direct Support Professionals in this year's budget. Direct Support Professionals work directly with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. The ARCs of Chemung, Steuben, and Schuyler Counties are fighting for more funding to increase their wages.
"So please, please let us have our direct support professionals here to help my other friends, the people with disabilities," said a rally attendee today.
The ARCs of Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben Counties rallied today to fight for more funding in Governor Cuomo's 2017-2018 budget. The New York ARC program supports 60 thousand people, and employs 30 thousand more. The organizations are asking for 45 million dollars to be given in order to increase the direct support professionals salary, which many say is well deserved.
"They help in every aspect of a persons life, and so the skill level is very high, the pay unfortunately is very low in our opinion, it should be increased," says Mike Doherty, Executive Director for Arc of Chemung.
Also in attendance today was Senator Tom O'Mara, and Assemblymen Chris Friend and Phil Palmesano. Assemblyman Palmesano has special ties to direct support professionals, as he used to be one. He says paying these employees should be a top priority.
"If we as a state can't look at our developmental disabled community, and make sure that their quality of life and quality of care isn't addressed first, then what are we doing? What's the character of our state, what's the character of our community? So this should be a priority," explains Assemblyman Palmesano.
Beverly Schwartz has a son named Glen who is in the ARC program. Schwartz looked all over the country but settled in New York because she felt it was the best fit for her son. She is calling on the Governor to increase funding to keep the caring staff working at the ARC organizations.
"The reason that they leave is for higher wage, we need to keep them because they're wonderful, they hate leaving, but they need the money for their families," Schwartz says.
Everyone in attendance signed letters to the Governor, and plan on calling the Governor's office to voice their opinion. If you would like to participate, you can find the Governor's office contact information by clicking on this link: http://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form.