A proposed $240 million, 6% across-the-board cut to nonprofit service providers was topic one for the more than 400 people attending the 2013 Queens Council on Developmental Disabilities legislative breakfast at historic Flushing Town Hall on March 1, 2013.
Assembly members Edward Braunstein, Ron Kim, David Weprin and State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Commissioner Courtney Burke of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities' (OPWDD), as well as Donna Limiti, Elizabeth Cambra and Jeff Levy also from OPWDD, were on hand for the breakfast.
Parents, consumers and direct care staff gathered to voice their concerns over the proposed cut in funding from the New York State Budget hitting only voluntary, non-profit agencies that provide services and support to people with disabilities through OPWDD.
People were outraged about the $240 million OPWDD voluntary provider cut and expressed frustrating and anger at yet another assault on some of New York State’s most vulnerable citizens. Parents expressed their worries about what services will be available when their kids’ age out of programs as many are slated to do so in June. Direct care staff expressed worry not only whether they will have jobs, but whether the successes of the people they support would continue if there is less staff. The cuts will mean a loss of services, hardship to families, health and safety risks, and critical staff shortages, they said.
The fired up meeting concluded with a challenge to all present to talk to their colleagues, family, friends, and their legislators and to join in local demonstrations and those being planned for Albany, between now and March 11.
“People must make their concerns known to their state legislators,” said Ray DeNatale Executive Director of Independence Residences, Inc.
A bountiful continental breakfast was prepared by IRI's Independence Cafe. Consumer helpers assisted in the preparation of the food, set up and management of the event.