Members of the Aspire Living & Learning community joined The Alliance for Connecticut nonprofits at the capitol to urge legislators to fund an increase for developmental disability services.
Aspire Living & Learning community members gathered on the south lawn of the capitol in Hartford to make the case for increased funding as the legislature addressed the state’s budget for the next biennium. Lobby and Rally Day was organized by The Alliance, bringing together more than 1000 people from nonprofit organizations from across the state.
Lisa Mierek, Senior Director of Program Operations, explained why Aspire participated in the rally. “Whether it is our staff trying to maintain their households by holding down two and three jobs to stay afloat, or providers trying to balance the needs of the individuals, or the higher expenses and the rates that don't cover it--there needs to be change. Now there is an opportunity for Connecticut to do the right thing for the people we support.”
Aspire, like providers nationwide, is facing a workforce shortage. Direct support professionals (DSPs) employed by Aspire assist with everything from finding a job to learning communication skills to personal care. These services ensure that people with complex medical and behavioral needs can live and work in their communities alongside people without disabilities.
Inflation has worsened the workforce shortage and raised costs for all organizations. Many provider agencies are already closing programs, reducing the scope of services offered, and delaying new initiatives. At the same time, the state of Connecticut is in extraordinarily good fiscal health--the state’s tax system is generating a surplus of almost $3 billion.
“The incredible turnout today is a strong message to the legislature about the importance of our work on behalf of people with disabilities,” noted Aspire CEO, Lou Giramma.
Funding for disability services is at stake at the Federal level and across the states where Aspire operates. If you’d like to help, contact your elected representatives to share the impact of funding on you and your family.