Dream of lifting up New Yorkers must include people with disabilities

Statement from Mike Alvaro, President and CEO of CP State, and President of the New York Disability Advocates, on Governor Hochul 2023 State of the State Address

In her State of the State address today, Governor Hochul promised to lift up all New Yorkers and to give them the best possible life. With those words in mind, we are deeply concerned to see that the disability community and the workforce that provide vital support and services to them were left out of the State of the State entirely, as we are still contending with a dire workforce crisis.

While we are thankful for the investments the Governor made last year to help counter the decades-long workforce crisis that the Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) community has faced, direct-support positions still remain at a nearly 20% vacancy statewide. This vacancy rate has increased 56% since pre-pandemic levels and high staff turnover rates are costing provider agencies over $100M annually.

Stabilizing New York’s care services sector requires continued investment and support from the Governor and State Legislature.

The New York Disability Advocates (NYDA) has outlined two solutions for the SFY 2024 budget to counter this crisis:

  • Establishing a Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE) to increase hourly pay.
  • Including an 8.5% Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment to offset rising inflation costs so agencies can operate at a sustainable rate.

To uphold Governor Hochul’s commitment to all New Yorkers today, the New York Disability Advocates strongly urge the Governor to include the COLA and DSWE proposals in her 2024 Executive Budget. With the investments to the I/DD community proposed by the Governor last year, we remain hopeful in her support. However, to truly end the era of ignoring the needs of our most vulnerable populations, we must work together to repair New York’s care services infrastructure, so that over 130,000 New Yorkers with I/DD can live their best lives.