September 16, 2022
One-Click Campaign Created for Essential Health Care Workers
On August 5, we noted that the Health Care Workforce Bonus excluded many of our frontline workers. Enacted in the Fiscal Year 2023 New York State Budget, the program includes $1.3 billion for recruitment and retention bonuses for health care and mental hygiene workers. Bonuses are awarded to eligible workers who make less than $125,000 annually and remain in their positions for at least six months. The maximum bonus for each employee is $3,000.

Essential frontline staff were left out of this important program purely because they work for voluntary providers of supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). However, without the vital work performed by these positions, group homes, day habilitation programs and clinics could not operate and provide the fundamental services that so many people rely upon. This is incredibly disappointing.

As a result, we are launching a campaign for these essential workers geared specifically for them and in their voices. You can click this link to participate if you fall outside of those included in the HWB. Your message will go directly to Governor Hochul, legislators, and the NYS Department of Health.

The Arc New York CEO Erik Geizer Gives Perspective on 5.07 Plan
As noted in our previous update, this week The Arc New York CEO, Erik Geizer, provided testimony to the NYS Standing Committee on Disabilities on the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Five Year Strategic Plan, also known as the 5.07 plan.

You can view the hearing here, and the agenda.

Geizer noted issues with accessibility to healthcare for people with I/DD and the workforce crisis that threatens to upend supports and services throughout New York state.

In a subsequent Times Union article, Geizer said that there is a “35 percent annual staff turnover rate, and that is being compounded by the roughly 20 percent vacancy rate for Direct Support Professionals."

Spectrum News and Crain’s Health also noted issues discussed throughout the hearing.
Upcoming Willowbrook Legacy Project Events
The Historical Society of the New York Courts will present a panel discussion September 22, in collaboration with the Willowbrook Legacy Project at the College of Staten Island/CUNY, titled "WILLOWBROOK STATE SCHOOL: How a Lawsuit Closed the Gates to a Notorious Institution and Opened the Doors of Opportunity for Thousands."

A distinguished panel of attorneys who have been involved with this case will discuss the filing of the complaint, the entry of a Consent Judgment, the continuing nature of the litigation and the importance and relevance of Willowbrook today. 
The presentation will take place Thursday, September 22 from 6 – 8 PM, and will be a hybrid event with options for in-person or virtual attendance. You can register here

Visit the Willowbrook Youtube page to see additional presentations in this series.
Want to do More?
Visit The Arc New York Advocacy Center for more ways to take action, including campaigns to support federal funding, employment opportunities, and our dedicated workforce. You can also find tools and resources to help you be a stronger advocate for New Yorkers with disabilities.

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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