November 4, 2022
OPWDD Releases Final 2023-27 Strategic Plan
This week Governor Kathy Hochul announced the release of the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) five-year strategic plan (5.07 Plan). The strategic plan aims to strengthen supports and services for New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). OPWDD has been developing the plan over the past 18 months. The final version, which can be viewed here, identifies three overarching agency goals with a range of objectives and initiatives to support the agency's mission.

The following strategic goals serve as the framework for the final plan:
  • Strengthening workforce technology and collaboration
  • Transforming the agency through innovation and change
  • Enhancing person-centered supports and services

The Arc New York submitted comments to OPWDD on the first draft of the strategic plan in June of 2021 and offered public testimony on the revised plan to the NYS Assembly Standing Committee on Disabilities this past September.
Register Now for Capitol Rally on November 16!
The Arc New York and our NYDA partners will be holding a rally at the NYS Capitol on Wednesday, November 16 at 11:30 AM in East Capitol Park (the large staircase outside of the capitol). Our budget advocacy for FY24 is well underway, and part of this effort includes leveraging the grassroots strength of The Arc New York. The goal is to get 400-500 people to the Capitol as a show of force and solidarity with our stakeholders from across the state.
We have created a save-the-date flyer with a link to register for the event. Please feel free to distribute this widely to your family, friends, and on social media. Information on logistics, messaging for signs, and parking will be released in a future update. Registration is very important, as we are gauging interest for coordinated group transportation.

We've launched a one-click campaign in advance of the rally to inform the governor and other representatives of our budget requests. We are excited to be launching this rally immediately following the election and hope you and many others register and attend. This will be the first of many advocacy opportunities to come!

If you have any questions, please email Philip Aydinian, The Arc New York Director of Governmental Affairs at
FY24 Budget Advocacy Resources
To help prepare our advocates for the capitol rally and meetings with their representatives, we created an information sheet, which details our budget requests for this year.

The Arc New York and our NYDA partners are calling for:
  1. Establishment of a Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE)
  2. Inclusion of the statutory 8.5% Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

Under the DSWE provider agencies will receive $4,000 per eligible employee to be used for the purpose of enhancing the hourly rate of pay for all staff that have direct care/support responsibilities for individuals with I/DD. This wage enhancement will enable provider agencies to raise wages by approximately $2.19 per hour.

The annual COLA is intended to increase budgets appropriately to adjust for inflation and rising costs. In the past decade, inflation rose 27%, yet providers of supports and services received only a 1.2% COLA. A 5.4% COLA was committed in the 2022-23 budget, but this promised increase does not compensate for a decade of underfunding. The proposed 8.5% COLA for
2023-24 is derived from NYS statute, which states the annual COLA will be calculated based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) from July of the previous year. Upholding the COLA will support the increased cost of delivering quality services and sustain supports for the future.
We also created a flyer you can print and hang in your offices and share with family and friends. The QR code will link to our current one-click advocacy campaigns, even if we need to pivot with our request. Additional resources and strategies will be forthcoming, including a push for introductory meetings in January with legislators, economic impact sheets for Chapters, and a broader calendar of events and advocacy opportunities.

Thanks to your ardent advocacy, we have achieved a great deal over the past two years, but we must continue the fight to ensure that the foundation of supports and services that enable people with I/DD to live a person-centered life is preserved and advanced.
DDPC Offers Growing Advocacy Small Grant Opportunity
The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) is seeking grant applications that support new and budding advocacy initiatives or strengthen the capacity of existing advocacy organizations in New York state. Award amounts range from $5,000 to $10,000.

Proposals should focus on one of the following focus areas:
  1. Self-Advocacy Organizations: Supporting the growth or building the capacity of advocacy organizations run and led by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.
  2. Family & Caregiver Advocacy Organizations: Supporting the growth or building the capacity of advocacy organizations run and led by families or caregivers of people with I/DD.
  3. Other Non-profit Organizations: Creating new advocacy opportunities for people with I/DD in organizations across NYS.

The grant application can be found here. Applications are due by November 30, 2022
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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