• Fri. Aug 5th, 2022

Direct support staff crisis | WIVT

ALBANY, NY – Disability advocates say there is a serious shortage of direct support staff.

And, they say it impacts service and level of care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has more on what they’re urging government leaders to do.

According to New York Disability Advocates, Direct Support Staff, or DSPs, provide care to approximately 140,000 New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

But, the industry is experiencing a labor shortage.

((Gerald Dohrenwend, CEO of Wraparound Services of Hudson Valley))
Our goal today is to raise awareness of the need for our heroes in the direct support workforce to be able to earn a living wage with annual cost of living adjustments commensurate with inflation.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle today joined a virtual rally calling for immediate action.

Republican Senator Mike Martucci and Democratic Senator John Mannion have called on the state to allocate $ 550 million in the state budget to address the problem.

((Mike Martucci, NYS Senator))
I know this is not a partisan issue. This is not a Democratic or Republican question. It is a human problem, and it is about knowing what is done well.

Democratic Senator James Skoufis notes that the current job market is an “employee market” and not an “employer market” and that COVID has caused some to reconsider their profession.
In some cases, DSPs can earn the minimum wage.

((James Skoufis, NYS Senator))
It is painful emotionally, physically, mentally, and it is high time that the compensation reflected how difficult this job is for DSPs.

A Senate hearing on the DSP workforce issue was held last month.

Tomorrow the Assembly will hold a hearing to examine employment opportunities for people with disabilities.