For nearly eight years, non-profit agencies which serve New Yorkers with developmental disabilities went without a funding increase, leaving Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) at astonishingly low wages despite their critical work. To address this issue, #bFair2DirectCare formed and waged a statewide educational campaign to win funding for a living wage, phased in over six years.
Last year, #bFair2DirectCare asked the New York State Governor, Senate, and Assembly to include $45 million in the 2017-18 NYS Budget to go towards the wages of DSPs. After a year of diligent advocacy and education, Governor Cuomo raised his right hand for hundreds gathered at the NYS Capitol as he stated, “this hand will not sign a budget unless there is $55M in it!”
The final 2017-18 NYS budget included a $55 million appropriation to take effect December 31, 2017 (so the current state fiscal year) and another one of $55 million to take effect in April 1, 2018. This amounts to a two-year commitment to help bring DSPs towards a living wage.
That was the start. The Governor and the Legislature need to continue to support DSPs. The $55 million commitment scheduled to kick in on April 1, 2018 must be included in the new state budget that’s going to be decided on March 31, 2019. Then Albany needs to keep moving forward with the funds needed to keep the commitment, so DSPs can receive a living wage.
One way to help get the work out is to contact your local Senators and members of the Assembly. For contact information for local representatives, click here.