A large portion of disability care providers in New York have been forced to close or reduce programs due to a lack of staff. That's according to New York Disability Advocates. They held a rally on Tuesday in Binghamton with legislators, providers and parents to stress the urgency of New York's workforce crisis.
Workers say the shortage of funding has forced agencies to layoff direct service professionals and offer lower pay, sometimes at a minimum wage level.
Lawmakers are now calling on Congress to secure more funding for direct service workers. This would allow providers to offer a more competitive wage for professionals serving communities that require more personal care.
"My staff is a good staff at my Broad Street house," said James Russell, who receives assistance in a home run by ACHIEVE. "Sometimes they want to take them away and it hurts my feelings."
"It takes a very special kind of person to serve the complex needs of our community’s most vulnerable and you are the backbone of an entire segment of our community," said New York State Senator Fred Akshar. "You’re also the very heart of this community and communities across this great state."
Direct service professionals work with people who need care 24-hours a day and often provide various health care services.