November 5, 2021
Governor Hochul Announces Nominations for OPWDD, HHS and More
Governor Hochul announced the nomination of Kerri Neifeld as the new commissioner of OPWDD and the appointment of Jihoon Kim as Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services. These positions are critical to our field. We consider Governor Hochul’s selections to be very encouraging choices. Both Ms. Neifeld and Mr. Kim are extremely knowledgeable, and have served as advocates for our field during their careers. We have worked with them extensively, and have appreciated their candor, transparency and responsiveness. We are confident they will provide compassionate and thoughtful leadership moving forward. You can read the full press release, including their bios, here.

Along with the announcements of Neifeld and Kim, Nivardo Lopez was appointed Deputy Secretary for Transportation and Kate C. Harris was appointed Deputy Secretary for Financial Services and Technology.

This week Governor Hochul also announced the nomination of Robert J. Rodriguez as New York's 68th Secretary of State and Rossana Rosado as Commissioner of New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). In addition, Governor Hochul recommended the Commissioners of the New York State Bridge Authority appoint Minosca Alcantara as Executive Director.
The Arc New York Response to DOB “Call” Letter
The New York State Division of Budget (DOB) sent a letter to all state agencies on October 21 with guidelines for FY23 requests that called for flat funding in the coming year. The Arc New York offered comments and recommendations in response. Despite the request that OPWDD’s proposal “be consistent with funding levels in the FY 2022 Budget,” it is The Arc New York’s position that this level of funding will be insufficient to maintain the current system of supports and services from voluntary providers.

The Arc New York is calling on OPWDD to include the statutorily-required COLA, which is projected to be 5.4% ($484M). This number is not arbitrary and represents inflationary costs experienced by all providers.

Additionally, The Arc New York is requesting continued investment in DSP salaries. It is critical for New York state to maintain and expand the 20% wage enhancements from the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). We are recommending a commitment to continued funding of the 20% wage enhancement. This investment would prevent a fiscal cliff after the eFMAP has ended and bring staff salaries closer to a competitive market rate after years with few increases.
Response to OPWDD Regulations on Residential Placement
The Arc New York submitted a letter with recommendations in response to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) request for comments on a draft regulation for certified residential opportunities (CRO). The regulation aims to codify the current placement process. The Arc New York offered a number of significant revisions to improve the efficiency and appropriateness of the process and ensure person-centered residential placement. You can read the full recommendations here.
New York City Workforce Rally
AHRC NYC, New York Disability Advocates (NYDA), NYC Fair, and other stakeholders will host a live rally at City Hall Park in New York City on Tuesday, November 9 at 10:45 AM to bring attention to New York’s Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce emergency. The rally will feature elected officials, families, self-advocates, and DSPs, who will share their stories and their support. Join us in person if you're in the Metro area, or watch live on NYDA's Facebook page!
Register for The Arc NY Advocacy and Policy Webinar
The Arc New York will be conducting a webinar to present our 2022 advocacy plan and vision on Thursday, November 18, from 3-4 PM. In this session, we will give a brief retrospective on our advocacy over the past four months, lay out the strategy and timeline for engaging legislators moving forward, introduce our FY 22-23 budget agenda priorities, provide tactics and lessons for successful meetings, and communicate our vision for engaging and mobilizing our members and allies. This coming year and beyond, we have an historic opportunity to influence the transformation of I/DD supports and services, and we must be at the forefront.

The session is open to all advocates, board members, staff, and allies. Register here

RISE UP Campaign
Several weeks ago, advocates from across New York launched the RISE UP campaign, which encourages people to tell their personal stories, particularly about supports provided by Direct Support Professionals (DSP) and the impact of the workforce crisis. The goal is to make clear to Governor Hochul that we are at a crossroads after a years-long lack of investment, and need New York state to finally invest in our supports and services.

Your stories drive change. So, please follow the link here, enter your information, and personalize the letter text with YOUR story and details before you send the email. A great place to start writing your story is before or right after the first paragraph of the letter.

This campaign continues to gain steam and will culminate in a meeting with Governor Hochul. We want to get at least 10,000 advocates to join! As we all RISE UP, we are sending a message to the governor to do the same. Please share this opportunity with friends, family, self-advocates, DSPs, and anyone who is willing to RISE UP with us!
This and all advocacy updates are archived on The Arc New York website for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
Contact: Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs 
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