Over 100 people gathered in Binghamton today calling on Governor Cuomo to fulfill a promise.
Employees, family members, legislators and service providers called on Cuomo to honor his pledge of years 3 and 4 of livable wage funding for Direct Service Providers or DSPs as part of the Be Fair to Direct Care movement, #bFair2DirectCare.
DSPs help support people with disabilites such as autism, down syndrome and cerebral palsy.
ACHIEVE CEO Amy Howard says due to the low wages, her organization is losing DSPs at an alarming rate to other jobs that require less hours and pay more.
She says these are positions that can’t be easily replaced.
Amy Howard CEO of ACHIEVE says “They do everything from medication management to satisfying the health care needs of individuals. They provide behavioral and emotional supports if those are needed. Direct support professionals essentially are an extension of the family for the individuals that we support.”
Howard says they are on the verge of a staffing crisis for DSPs.
In 2018 non-profits that employ the DSPs had a vacancy rate of 14.3% and a turnover rate of 26.4% for direct support staff.
In 2017 Cuomo and the legislature included 2 years of a 6 year plan to provide funding for a living wage for direct care workers.
Funding has not been committed for the rest of the plan.
When fully implemented, the living wage of a DSP would be $15.50 an hour Upstate and $17.80 cents per hour in New York City.