February 25, 2022
The Arc New York Advocacy Center and Website Updates
The importance of our advocacy cannot be overstated. Our efforts have yielded progress for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities over the past seven decades. To ensure that progress continues, we strive to continually improve the access, availability, and value of the tools and resources necessary to support our advocates. The Arc New York often deploys multiple online advocacy campaigns, but up until now they have not been centralized.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of The Arc New York Advocacy Center, where you will find all of our one-click campaigns and corresponding toolkits! With this enhanced feature, you can now find the most up-to-date opportunities to participate in our advocacy efforts in one place. We have also updated our advocacy landing page to provide a clearer and more concise view of our featured campaigns and resource documents. We encourage you to explore these new resources and advocate today!

Ongoing Budget Advocacy
In last week's advocacy update we shared that our advocacy to reduce the top-tier threshold for Direct Support Professional (DSP) bonuses from 40+ hours to 35 hours was successful. This change can be found in the governor’s 30-day amendments and updated financial plan. While this is a great victory, there is still more to be done. Here are our adapted budget requests for legislators:
  • Accept the 5.4% COLA for OPWDD voluntary providers
  • Accept frontline healthcare worker bonus program and modify the bottom-tier requirements to include part-time employees who work at least 15 hours per week on average. 
  • Make DSP bonuses permanent in future budgets to aid with recruitment and retention.
  • Accept the 11% COLA for special education provider tuition rates
  • Include a personal income tax credit of up to $5,000 for DSPs

We must advocate with legislators to ensure this needed funding is included in the final budget.

Your voice is vitally important in this call. To support your advocacy efforts, we created an easy one-click email campaign. This tool will help you connect directly with your legislators to call for investment in supports and services for New Yorker's with I/DD. The complete Budget Advocacy Toolkit is also available in the Advocacy Center. This toolkit provides helpful resources for meetings with your legislators, including shareable information sheets and talking points.

We urge you to take a moment to send a letter, and share the link on social media and with your networks. The more people who participate, the more legislators are aware of our priorities. As of today, 600 advocates have made their voice heard with their letter, but we need the rest of our 100,000 members to do the same right now. As always, our voices are stronger together!

This is a critically important time to talk to your elected officials, as budget negotiations are ongoing. Find your representative here, and be sure to report the outcome of your meeting by completing our outreach survey.

Registration Open for 2022 Disability Policy Seminar
Registration for the 2022 Disability Policy Seminar is now open. This year's seminar will be will be a hybrid event from March 28-30. You will have the opportunity to join advocates in person in Washington, DC or virtually!

The Disability Policy Seminar offers the opportunity for passionate advocates, self-advocates, experts, and professionals in the field to come together and learn about key issues that affect them most. After attending, you will have the tools to bring strong advocacy to virtual meetings and other follow-up actions as we work to raise awareness among members of Congress about issues important to the disability community.

Register by March 13 to take advantage of early bird rates!

If you plan on attending, please inform Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs at The Arc New York so he can assist with any delegation plans and congressional meetings. aydinianp@thearcny.org

2022 NADSP Advocacy Symposium – Amplifying DSP Voices
The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) is holding its first-ever national advocacy event March 9-10, 2022, to bring the direct support professional (DSP) perspective to the forefront of Congress and the Administration.

Challenges from the pandemic and recent legislation have provided new insights and opportunities for DSPs. NADSP recognizes the critical importance of lifting the voices of DSPs to federal policy-makers, to ensure public policy is informed by the people who are on the front lines of supporting people with disabilities to live, work and thrive in the community.

NADSP will provide DSPs, family advocates, and self-advocates from across the country with comprehensive advocacy virtual training, culminating with virtual meetings with Congressional leaders and staff on March 10, to educate and advocate on NADSP’s public policy priorities for 2022. The goal of the symposium is to bolster the ranks and knowledge of DSP advocates, so recruitment and registration should focused on DSPs. To help highlight the important work of DSPs, we also encourage outreach to family advocates and self-advocates. Visit the event page for registration and more information.
Senate Hearing on Employment for People With Disabilities
On Tuesday, February 8, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing on “Lessons Learned from COVID-19: Highlighting Innovations, Maximizing Inclusive Practices, and Overcoming Barriers to Employment for People With Disabilities.” The hearing examined existing and new barriers to the employment for people with disabilities. It was noted that people with disabilities are over-represented in essential jobs and therefore face an increased risk of COVID-19. Discussion was also held about the increase in people identifying as having a disability due to long COVID. A recording of the hearing can be found here and our campaign to support employment for people with I/DD can be found in The Arc New York Advocacy Center.

Extended Deadline: Arc US Summer Conference Session Proposals
The Arc US Summer Leadership Institute brings together chapter leaders and other professionals from across the country to identify and develop programs to address the challenges faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and the staff and organizations that support them.

Is your Chapter is doing something innovative and effective that is helping improve disability rights, services, support systems, or nonprofit efficiency? If so, The Arc of the United States invites you to submit a session for consideration at this year's Summer Leadership Institute.
Here are just a few of the areas they are looking to explore:
  • Community integration
  • Education, employment, housing, future planning, and other areas across the lifespan
  • Self-determination and empowerment of self-advocates
  • Access to justice
  • Access, equity, and inclusion
  • Advocacy
  • Addressing the direct support professional crisis
  • And more!

The deadline is March 11. Learn more and submit your proposal here.
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 
This email was sent to:
  • The Arc New York Members & Advocates
  • Board of Governors 
  • Chapter Presidents
  • Chapter Board Members
  • Executive Directors 
  • Chief Operating Officers
  • Chief Financial Officers  
  • HR Directors 
  • PR Directors 
  • Quality & Compliance Staff 
  • Residential Directors
  • Guardianship Coordinators
  • Joint Committee on Quality & Compliance
  • Trust Services and State Office Staff