BUFFALO, N.Y. — Elected officials joined together with the Developmental Disability Alliance of Western New York (DDAWNY) on Thursday to call on Gov. Kathy Hochul to raise the wage for direct support professionals, or DSPs.

DSPs work directly with someone with a disability to make sure they have access to basic needs from getting out of bed, to personal care, to getting to work.

Advocates called for a 3.2% cost-of-living adjustment and $4,000 wage raise. Currently, the job pays around $16.02/hr. in Western New York.

Agencies like DDAWNY and People Inc. said there are thousands of jobs unfilled and that two group homes in Western New York have closed due to the current wage.

“We’re asking for funding to keep them coming to work as it has been indicated, and as many of our staff are here to say, they’re working two and three jobs,” said Sandie Brown Maynard, assistant vice president of clinical services at People Inc. “This is not enough. Support them however you can. They support human life.”