August 13, 2021
White House Hosts Roundtable with AHRC NYC and The Arc NY
On Wednesday, the White House hosted a digital roundtable with The Arc New York, AHRC New York City, The Arc US, and Caring Across Generations to discuss the impact of the Better Care Better Jobs Act (BCBJA). US Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su kicked off the event and reiterated President Biden’s commitment to, ”high-quality care for Americans with disabilities…linked to adequate resources for caregivers and service providers.” 

A panel of self-advocates, parents, and Direct Support Professionals (DSP) from Staten Island shared their personal experiences, the importance of home and community-based services (HCBS), and stressed the need for the $400 billion BCBJA in the next round of infrastructure funding. Hearing these stories connected President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan with the people who will be positively impacted by this historic investment in HCBS and the care economy.

The event has received news coverage and was viewed by people across the country. The full event can be viewed here.

Arc NY CEO Erik Geizer sends Open Letter to NYS Congressional Delegation
As part of our ongoing advocacy campaign championing the Better Care Better Jobs act and historic investments in HCBS, Erik Geizer, CEO of The Arc NY sent an open letter to the NYS congressional delegation highlighting the critical need to support the direct care workforce. 

In the letter, he asked Congress to “… fully endorse the inclusion of the Better Care Better Jobs Act (BCBJA) and ensure that the proposed $400 billion investment in home and community-based services (HCBS) remains intact. The BCBJA will help pave the way for much needed resources for the direct care workforce and beyond.” 

US Senate Takes First Step towards Care Infrastructure Investments
This week, the US Senate released the budget reconciliation resolution the first step towards a larger infrastructure package. The $3.5 trillion package will hopefully include both the $400 billion for Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS), as well as other priorities benefitting the I/DD community. 

The budget resolution is only the framework for what will ultimately be the budget reconciliation bill. We are encouraged that the top-line figures for Medicaid are high, but it is still unclear how much will be applied to HCBS supports and services. More specifics will emerge in September, following the August recess.
August Recess Advocacy Toolkit and Campaign
The Arc of the United States released its August Congressional Recess digital toolkit. This resource includes links to key webpages, action alerts, graphics, sample social media posts, letters to the editor, and tips on how to engage Congress during the recess. The focus of this advocacy is for a $400 billion investment in Medicaid home and community-based services through the Better Care Better Jobs Act, as well as plans to better support the direct care workforce, improve paid leave programs for workers with disabilities and caregivers, and increase asset limits for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

These materials compliment The Arc NY toolkit and workforce advocacy campaign, focusing on the Better Care Better Jobs Act. The Arc US also updated its “Covid-19 Recovery” web page with factsheets and a high-level overview of key issues. 

In addition, The Arc US has created a BCBJA impact sheet specific to New York - it provides a great overview of the problems we face and offers tangible solutions to relay to elected officials. The impact sheet will be added to The Arc NY toolkit on the website. 

If you have not done so already, reach out to your legislators and be an advocate for these important causes. Once you have participated, please share on your personal and professional social media pages. The more people participate, the more momentum we have!

Kathy Hochul Gives First Address to New Yorkers as Future Governor
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul held a press conference at the State Capitol in Albany. The press conference was the first public address Lieutenant Governor Hochul has made since Governor Cuomo’s resignation announcement. During the conference, Lieutenant Governor Hochul gave brief remarks and answered questions from reporters.
Video of the full press conference can be viewed here.

Deadline Approaching for Grant Opportunity: 2022 MLK Day of Service
The Arc US is partnering with AmeriCorps to offer $5,000 to $20,000 grants to chapters of The Arc to develop service projects that include people with and without disabilities. Volunteer activities should help provide food to those suffering from food insecurity within the local community. The deadline for submission is August 27. Learn more here

How Can The Arc US Help You Find Programs to Do at Home?
The Arc US is in the middle of launching an exciting new resource -- a free Virtual Program Library that will serve as a hub for on-demand activities that can be done from home. People with I/DD and their families will be able to find and share activities to do themselves. There will also be resources that service providers can use to facilitate or deliver live remote programming.

The Arc US and The Arc New York want the Virtual Program Library to be the best it can be, and we need your help to make it a robust and valuable resource for people with I/DD who must or prefer to access programs from home. So, what resources would you recommend? Please complete this survey to give us your thoughts!
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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