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

And, they say that’s having an impact on service and level of care for those 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 DSP’s provide care to about 140,000 New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

But, the industry is experiencing a workforce shortage.

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

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

Republican Senator Mike Martucci and Democrat Senator John Mannion have called for the state to allocate $550 million in the state budget to address the issue.

((Mike Martucci, NYS Senator))
I know that this is not a partisan issue. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is a human issue, and this is about what’s doing right.

Democrat Senator James Skoufis notes that the current job market is an “employees’ market” not an “employers’ market” and that COVID has cause some to reconsider their line of work.
In some cases, DSPs can make as low as the minimum wage.

((James Skoufis, NYS Senator))
It is emotionally tolling, it is physically tolling, it is mentally tolling, and it’s about darn time that the compensation reflected just how difficult this work is for DSPs.

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

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