March 25, 2022
Capitol Rally Brings Legislators and Advocates Together
Advocates from across the state including members of New York Disability Advocates (NYDA), The Arc New York, Direct Support Professionals, self-advocates, family members, legislators and state officials rallied outside the Capitol on Wednesday to call for the inclusion of an 11% Cost-of-Living increase (COLA) in the 2022 state budget.

Attendees thanked Governor Hochul for her leadership on investments in the I/DD community and the care services workforce, and called for the an investment in supports and services for New Yorkers with I/DD.
The 11% COLA proposed in the Assembly Health and Mental Hygiene Bill is the most effective and straightforward way to allocate the significant investments included both the Executive and one-house budgets. The rally's message was clear: Funding is desperately needed for I/DD providers to sustain our system of supports and services and offer competitive wages to recruit and retain the skilled direct support staff that deliver those essential services to more than 130,000 New Yorkers with I/DD. After years without investment, the time for 11% is now.
To get a sense of the energy and excitement of more than 100 advocates, you can view the full video of the rally here and view a gallery of rally photos on The Arc New York Facebook page.

Homestretch for Budget Advocacy – Time to Call!
Negotiations for this year’s budget are in full swing, as the NYS budget nears the March 31 deadline. We are focused on forwarding the adoption of the 11% COLA found in the Assembly one-house budget bill. This investment would make meaningful progress toward stabilizing our workforce and sustaining essential supports and services.

The most important action we can take in the next week is to call your legislator and tell them what we want in the Enacted Budget. More information about The Arc New York's Budget Priorities can be found here. If you have a close relationship with your legislators, please use this opportunity to engage them one-on-one to build even more momentum. You can find your legislator’s contact information here and additional resources for your conversation can be found in our Budget Advocacy Toolkit

Our updated one-click campaign will send our budget requests for the 11% COLA and a DSP income tax credit directly to your legislators. If you have yet to send your message, please do it now! Using this link will automatically send two different versions the letter, one to the Governor and the other to your Assembly and Senate representatives. Please share the campaign widely with your members, friends, other organizations, post on your social media accounts, and reiterate we need one last push to achieve this new advocacy goal. 
In addition to your own representatives, there are some key members to approach in the coming days. The Assembly and Senate convene a General Conference Committee, and sub-committees based on topic. Here is the full list of Assembly and Senate General Conference Committee Appointments. Thank you for your advocacy and taking action, our united voices are making a big impact!

The Arc New York Comments on HCBS to US Senate Committee
On Wednesday, the US Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on home and community-based services (HCBS) titled, “An Economy That Cares: The Importance of Home-Based Services.” The Arc New York submitted comments for the record on the importance of HCBS for people with I/DD in New York and across the nation. This marks a next step in our efforts to get the Better Care Better Jobs Act passed.

You can view the full witness list, testimonies, and the video recording here. The hearing begins at the 22 minute mark.

Sign the Petition to Support Services for People with Disabilities
Life in the community is vitally important for people with disabilities, and Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) help make that possible. A lack of funding for these services has created a care crisis that’s limiting the lives of millions of Americans by:
  • Preventing people with disabilities from getting the care they need in their homes,
  • Forcing family caregivers to choose between their jobs and their loved ones, and
  • Keeping direct care workers from earning a living wage.

Join The Arc of the United States and advocates across the country and send a message to Washington that we need significant investments for HCBS now!
Bill to Provide Training for Family Members of Children with Disabilities
Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY), Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Autism Family Caregivers Act of 2022 (H.R.6783). This bill would provide access to caregiver skills training for family members who care for children with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disabilities or delays. The Arc US is supportive of this bill, which would establish a five-year pilot program awarding grants to nonprofit organizations, community health centers, hospital systems, or a consortium, to provide evidence-based caregiver skills training to family caregivers of children with autism and other developmental disabilities or delays. You can read more 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 
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