Rally Calls On State To Boost Funding For People With Developmental Disabilities
Hundreds of advocates demonstrated downtown on Friday calling on the state to increase funding for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The rally called on California state lawmakers to provide an 8% budget increase to fund and restore programs. Anthony DeSalis, president and CEO of The Arc of San Diego which supports over 2,000 people, said that services for those with disabilities are underfunded and many employees working with people who have disabilities are being paid minimum wage.
“People can find a job out in the fast food industry, Costco or Walmart that are all paying higher than us and it’s much less demanding work,” DeSalis said. “We’re asking people to work with people with disabilities to help them in their jobs, to help them in their homes, to help them in day services to develop more independence.”
If more funding is not secured, service providers warn that programs could be slashed.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years,” said Mark Klaus, president and CEO of Home of Guiding Hands. “We are in crisis if we don’t see these rate increases I know my organization will be cutting programs and will be cutting services.”
Service providers say the majority of their funding comes from the state and some from the federal government. The 8% increase is estimated to cost an additional $290 million. They say the additional funds would be used to protect existing programs and pay staff liveable wages.